MORGAN’S MEDIA BLACKOUT #598.235!
Bud Abbott & Lou Costello
& Lénore Aubert – Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein
(Universal) :: Folks, they just don’t write ’em like this anymore:
LOU: I hurt my poor little head.
BUD: Get up and go to
work! That is, if your head doesn’t bother you too much.
LÉNORE: His head is all right.
BUD: Is it? But is your
head all right?
BUD: Frankly, I don’t get it.
LÉNORE: And frankly, you never will.
Robinson & Boris Karloff – Five Star Final (First National) :: In 1931, the same
year that Eddie G. made Little Caesar and Boris made Frankenstein, the two teamed up for this seldom-seen
newspaper melodrama that’s worth the price of admission alone just for the scene in which a cynically bemused Robinson
looks up at a ghastly grinning Karloff and says: “You’re the most blasphemous thing I’ve ever seen.
It’s a miracle you’re not struck dead.”
Arch Oboler – Drop Dead!
An Exercise In Horror! (Capitol) :: If Arch Oboler is remembered at all these days, it’s as the director of such
twonky forays into 3-D filmmaking as 1952’s Bwana Devil and 1966’s The Bubble. But long before
that, beginning for three years in 1936, Oboler was best known as the writer who shocked audiences from coast to coast with
the infamously eerie Lights Out radio program—and in 1962, Oboler recreated some of his most horrific radio
shows for this album which still horrifies today.
Where else can you hear the sickening sound of a man literally being turned
inside out while a hapless witness moans: “...inside out...a man being turned...inside out...” before
suffering the same fate himself. But of all the episodes that Oboler recreates, none are more legendary than the 1937 tale
of a lab-tampered chicken heart that grows exponentially until it finally consumes the entire world. It’s no laughing
matter...or is it?
Bill Cosby – “Chicken Heart” (Warner Bros.) :: You
bet it is—and on this twelve and a half minute track from his 1966 album Wonderfulness, Cos does a
literally hysterical take on hearing Oboler’s Lights Out episode as a child, complete with the original radio
show’s archetypical thumpthump sound effect of the tell tale heart. You’ll laugh so hard you’ll
Nine Inch Nails – Broken (authorized download) :: After originally
circulating for decades as a visually deficient nth generation VHS bootleg, Trent Reznor finally uploaded this affluently
filmed pre-Saw torture porn companion to NIN’s Broken EP for anyone to download and burn to disc.
The killing joke being that, due to the high quality of the new digital format being so perfectly pristine, it’s the
muddy old videotape version that’s now scarier by default because it literally looks as if it did come straight
from a psychopath’s abode.
Esa-Pekka Salonen – Bernard Herrmann: The Film Scores
(Sony Classical) :: Decades ago I had an obscure import copy on vinyl of Herrmann conducting his own score for Hitchcock’s
Psycho. I don’t have that album anymore, but this 1996 recording of Salonen conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic
is such an uncanny note for note recreation that anyone who has Herrmann’s soundtrack memorized won’t find a single
auditory flaw. Plus, Salonen also recreates the soundtracks for Hitch’s North By Northwest, Vertigo,
Marnie, Torn Curtain, and The Man Who Knew Too Much as well as Herrmann’s cruisin’
for a bruisin’ “Night-Piece For Orchestra” score for Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.
Alwyn – The Franz Waxman Score: The Bride Of Frankenstein (Silva Screen) :: And if you’re hooked
on hearing classic Universal Monster movie soundtracks, then look no further than this 1993 recording of the Westminster Philharmonic
Orchestra recreating Waxman’s classic score. You can argue until you turn blue about which of Whale’s two Frankenstein
films were the best, but if there’s a general consensus that it’s the second, then you can bet that Waxman’s
music had a lot to do with it—and if you don’t believe me, just read the liner notes to see what Whale himself
told Waxman’s son John in 1957.
William T. Stromberg – The Monster Music Of Hans J.
Salter & Frank Skinner (Marco Polo) :: Wherein arranger John Morgan digs deep into the Universal Studios Music Department
archives and comes up with the original sheet music for The Wolf Man, Son Of Frankenstein, and The Invisible
Man Returns, plus rare unused cues. The result, thanks to Stromberg conducting the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, is another
album of excellent audio recreations. So excellent, in fact, that the original “Universal Signature” logo themes
are faithfully reproduced for each film, varying in composition and length between fourteen and seventeen seconds. Now that’s
accuracy above and beyond the call of duty.
Basil Gogos – Famous Monster Movie Art Of Basil
Gogos (Vanguard Productions) :: Gogos was the greatest living monster movie painter and this colorful comprehensive
book shows you how he single-handedly redefined the entire genre, from FJA’s Famous Monsters to Rob Zombie’s
Hellbilly Deluxe. Add in dozens of rare pencil illustrations and vintage magazine pieces and you’ve got one
of the greatest graphic art volumes extant!
SCARY PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Boris Karloff – An Evening
With Boris Karloff And His Friends (Decca) :: Back in the day when there was no home video, the only way you could get
to watch an old Universal monster movie was on television during the late show, where it was listed as a “melodrama”
in TV Guide. Or, you could put on this 1967 Forrest J Ackerman-produced platter and let Uncle Boris walk you through
audio clips from Frankenstein, Bride Of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, and others.
But what makes this disc worth hearing
is Karloff’s good-natured animated delivery of Forrey’s script, as when he follows up Bramwell Fletcher’s
mad cackle in The Mummy that “He went for a little walk!” by sonorously intoning: “Yes, I went
for a little walk—and in that year and in years soon after in The Old Dark House, The Back Cat, and The
Raven, I went for other little walks that somehow always panicked people. And then, in 1935, I met...”
Well, go hear it for yourself—that
is, if you can dig up a copy...
Be spooking you!