JEFFREY MORGAN’S MEDIA BLACKOUT #859.598.235!
Bud Abbott & Lou Costello & Lénore Aubert
– Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (Universal) :: Folks, they just don’t write ’em like this
LOU: I hurt my poor
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.
Edward G. 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.
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
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.
Kenneth 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.
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...