Wolfman Speaks - Oliver Reed

Retro Records: The Wolfman Speaks (1977)

Friends, I hope you are ready for a howling good time. Okay, I promise no more puns like that. For your retro listening pleasure today we have an 1977 LP entitled The Wolfman Speaks. Featuring none other than the esteemed Lon Chaney Jr. as narrator, for a nice selection of ghost stories.
Wolfman Speaks - Lon Chaney Jr

I will obviously point out the oddness of the original LP cover for The Wolfman Speaks. You notice it too, right? I was a little shocked to see not an image from 1941’s The Wolf Man but 1961’s The Curse of the Werewolf instead. I will of course admit that as cinematic lycanthropes go, Oliver Reed’s take as a wolfman is pretty amazing too.

[Via] YouTube Movies

In fact I am rather surprised that the 1961 film hasn’t been subject of a remake yet. On the other hand there are some who might claim that it has been. Or at the very least some plot points were perhaps a little similar?

[Via] Universal Pictures

The Wolfman Speaks besides being recorded in what was billed as “Non-Living Scary-O”, features the last recordings of Chaney. The actor had passed away back in 1973 with his final film role being Dracula vs. Frankenstein in 1971. So as to how this record came to be I’m not really sure. I believe that Chaney lost his ability to speak without a throat mic around 1970. I wonder if perhaps this audio was meant for another LP similar to likes that David McCallum or Roddy McDowall produced?

When it comes to Lon Chaney Jr, I will admit I have always felt a bit of sadness. As an actor I think he was always under the impression that he had to escape the shadow that was his Father’s legacy. Naturally I believe he did that in spades with some of his own films. However, much like Bela Lugosi he was typecast into certain roles and it appears that his means of escape came in a bottle. Personally it is hard to watch some of his later work, you can see how time had been unkind to him. At the very least he left a solid legacy of his own behind in his earlier films as well as radio!

Now then, grab your favorite beverage and snacks, sit back and enjoy The Wolfman Speaks!

Random Star Wars Music

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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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SihIjB9h5-k

And if you would rather dance, well, there’s always Meco.

Sesame Street and The Muppets on Vinyl

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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.

Movin’ right along, Fozzy.

New Wave Halloween

There are lots of Halloween albums for the masses. But if you’re one of those sensitive, proto-emo types. there is just one Halloween album for you: New Wave Halloween.

New Wave Halloween features the obligatory-but-still-awesome Halloween theme as well as a host of songs called “Halloween” by bands like Sonic Youth, Dead Kennedy, and Misfits.

It also has the Ramones “Pet Semetery”, a song I rocked heavily during my junior year of high school and that opens with these awesome, Halloween-ish lyrics:

“Under the arc of a weather stain boards,
Ancient goblins, and warlords,
Come out of the ground, not making a sound,
The smell of death is all around…”

Time is sadly running out, but if you can swing it today and still have that Flock of Seagulls hairstyle, you might give New Wave Halloween a try.