While moving stuff around in my Star Wars room the other day I realized that I had several different forms of Star Wars audio. I have vinyl records, 8-tracks, cassette tapes and CDs. I finally combined all of them into one single area, a “Star Wars Audio” shelf.
I used to really enjoy those Star Wars audio books in which voice actors and a narrator relayed a story relating to the Star Wars universe. In Ewoks Join the Fight, which you can see above, you can relive that epic battle in which a bunch of small teddy bears helped the Rebel Alliance crush the Empire on Endor in 45 RPM.
And if you would rather dance, well, there’s always Meco.
This time of year makes me nostalgic for vinyl records. Back when I was a kid, my mom always had music playing in our living room during the holiday season — sometimes we listened to the radio, but more often than not she would pull out her favorite records and play them on the living room stereo while we were in the house. Sometimes it was Christmas music but sometimes it wasn’t. Whatever it was, it was always family friendly and my sister and I enjoyed it. I’ve always associated listening to records with happy times and being around family.
I spent some time the other evening organizing my record collection. It’s very small — somewhere around 60 records or so — but it’s pretty specific in nature. I enjoy records that remind me of my childhood, and most of the ones I own do that in one way or another. I can’t think of much that reminds me of my childhood more than the Muppets and Sesame Street, which is why I picked these up throughout the years. Some of them like the movie soundtracks have since been released on CD, but many of them have not nor is it likely they ever will be released digitally.
I have always enjoyed the act of putting a record on the turntable and listening to it. It feels so… intentional, I suppose, when compared to simply having music on in the background of your car or blaring from a television in the next room.
Between all the traveling I’ve been doing for work and the tropical storm coverage that’s been on the news, Halloween snuck up on me this year. To get me in the mood for tonight’s festivities, I pulled out a few of the Halloween records I purchased last year and played them on the turntable. First up is a Disneyland record: Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House.
This album is a great two-for-one, as not only do you get classic haunted house sounds, but you also get (as you can see on the front cover) “spooky party hints”! As far as haunted Halloween sounds go, this album is fairly run of the mill. With tracks like “The Unsafe Bridge,” “Cat Fight,” and “The Very Long Fuse,” listeners have a pretty good idea what they’re getting here.
The “Spooky Party Hints” are printed on the album’s paper sleeve. One side contains instructions for Spooky Party Games, including “Snow White’s Apple on a String,” “Fortune Teller,” and “Toss the Ball Game”. I’m not sure who really needs printed instructions for “Toss the Ball Game,” but they’re there. The flip side of the paper sleeve contains advice on lighting and decorations, along with the helpful hint of reminding party throwers to send out invitations. Perhaps that’s why people never used to come to my parties!
Next up is Famous Ghost Stories!
I think the word “famous” may be overstated, with stories like “The Haunted Gold Mine” and “The Ghost Ship” included here, although the record does include “The Headless Horseman” so at least one of the stories is famous. The back of the album cover contains drawings of a few horror characters done with an ink pen. The characters include an executioner, a guy that looks like William Shakespeare with his head cut off (he’s conveniently holding it), and a guy who looks suspiciously like Vincent Price.
Third on my playlist is the appropriately titled Halloween. In stereo!
It makes me smile to know that there was a time when this could pass for album artwork. I also like the fact that although the album was recorded in stereo, there’s a reminder on the front that the record “can be played on monaural players” as well. Whew!
So many of these “sound effect” records have been produced throughout the years that sometimes it’s hard to find something to say about each one. This one contains “Ghost Combo,” “Storm,” and “Ghost in Dungeon”. There’s also “Spooky Sounds” which contains of “Dogs Howl,” “Glass Breaking,” “Water Running,” and “Goblins Laugh”. Another track, “Halloween Night,” is made up of “Witches Brew,” and “Witches and Warlocks”. The most interesting track to me was “Ghost from Outer Space.” The last track on the record is “Ghost Parade March,” along with comes the note, “The Ghost Parade will provide the music for your school festival march.”
Wow, it worked! I’m more in the mood than I was before! Happy Halloween, Retrofans!