I know many of you are way too young to remember the 1960′s daytime Gothic Soap Opera Dark Shadows, but my friend David from River Road in Millington, NJ and I used to watch the thing with his older brother Joe. There was this game by Mattel called Creepy Crawlers that was very famous in the mid 60′s that allowed you to make rubbery monsters from a mold. My guess is that the game would never get by the child safety inspectors today, but back then it was very popular. Between that and The Munsters & The Adams Family, which were both comedies, and shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents & The Twilight Zone there was a lot of interest in monsters, vampires and the unknown back then. It’s not so different today, these things are cyclical and I’m a Sookie Stackhouse watcher myself, but I’m all grown up now. I have yet to see a real life vampire so I’m betting such things do not exist, but back in the late 60′s Dark Shadows literally made the hair on the back of my nine year old neck stand straight up. I was banned from watching it by my mother because I would have nightmares. It sounds kind of laughable today, but I gotta tell ya Jonathan Frid and company scared the living bejesus out of me. Even at nine or ten years old I couldn’t get enough of Lara Parker, or Angelique as her character was named, back then. Lara was gorgeous and scary all at once. She went on to be a nice character actor appearing in hit TV shows such as The Incredible Hulk, Kojak, Hawaii Five-O, The Rockford Files and Baretta (you remember that sweetheart Robert Blake right?). Something about “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” if I remember correctly. Speaking of loser ex-stars, I saw about ten minutes of Naked Gun II the other night and there was O.J., in his glory days, saving the day. Brutal. I know the Naked Gun movies have a cult following, but I struggle with that kind of slapstick humor. I realize I’m probably in the minority.
Before I get to your Halloween treats I saw this picture on the Internet of a couple of books I bought at our school’s Book Mobile back in the day. Remember those babies? It couldn’t have been more than 1972, sixth grade for me, and the five year run (1966-1971) of Dark Shadows had just ended. I don’t know how many of these books Marilyn Ross wrote, but they were hot property amongst my peers at the time. Get a load of the price tags on these books; 50 cents! If we had five or six dollars back then we were rich by Book Mobile standards. Naturally the smart kids were buying Catcher in the Rye or House of The Seven Gables, but I was buying The Mod Squad or The Love Bug or some such garbage. Hey, not a word about Peggy Lipton! She was right up there with Marlo Thomas, Agent 99, Marilyn From The Munsters, Patty Duke and Marcia Brady…ha, kidding, but you see what we had for female hotties way back when? It was Mary Tyler Moore or bust I’m telling you. Now you know why I had a thing for Peggy Lipton. She was so cool and laid back. No Charlie’s Angel she.
I’m not a horror movie fan. I think Dark Shadows knocked me off the horror thing forever. I’ve never seen Nightmare On Elm Street, Scream or any of those movies. I think I got through The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Night of The Living Dead at least once, but we did have this TV show called Chiller Theatre on WPIX Channel 11 while I was growing up in NJ so I still had one foot in the supernatural in the 70′s. I think the show originated out of Pittsburgh, PA and it mostly dealt with science fiction, much like The Twilight Zone, but as long as nobody was creeping into a dark basement with no hope of not encountering trouble (hello Jodie Foster in Silence of The Lambs…just call for backup for chrissakes!) I was usually OK. Chiller Theatre was eventually on Saturday nights at 11:30 for the most part and it was so popular in Pittsburgh that it kept Saturday Night Live off their local channel for many years before finally giving way around 1978. The show ran, in form or another, from 1963 to 1983. A heckuva run for a TV show nobody remembers wouldn’t you say?
OK, I’m posting several Halloween favorites today. I have a folder on my hard drives with about 83 songs on it. I can remember being invited to a costume party about three years ago and not really wanting to go. I love Halloween except for the costumes and the candy and the obligatory parties. Call me the Grinch of Halloween I guess. I have no imagination when it comes to costumes and no girlfriend to dress me up. I always buy some stupid mask or some expensive costume and I dread the whole affair. So, around 7 PM I started sorting my database by key phrases like ghost, graveyard, devil, zombie, Dracula (I just saw this great documentary on Vlad The Impaler on The History Channel…I guess he’s the original Dracula…nasty person…but he had some wild castles and escape routes…that impaling thing though; geesh…looks downright painful), spirit, vampire, Halloween and whatever else I could think of and started making a folder. I eventually showed up around 11:30 PM without a costume, but carrying a flash memory drive. Three years later and nobody has even heard it and I’ve totally dropped the ball about adding to it. My Christmas file, by contrast, has nearly 900 songs in it and I could never listen to the whole thing even if I started on December 1st and listened ’til I dropped. Besides, there are only about 25 central Christmas Carols so I have forty versions of The First Noel and all the other suspects…not exactly enticing, but there are some awesome versions. I guess what I’m saying is if you think you have some great newish Halloween songs I should know about please drop me a comment and point me in the right direction.
I’m going to post some 20 old standbys and some of my personal favorites, but these are by no means my absolute favorites. I was just in the mood. Hope you all have a blast tonight.