This song is the theme to Disney’s Haunted Mansion. I’ve been to the Haunted Mansion perhaps a dozen times and I recognized a line from it (when the ghosts appear next to you in the ride), but I can’t say I ever paid attention or even thought about to this song before.
It was brought to my attention by John Congleton during his excellent interview with Bob and Robin on NPR. The whole interview was outstanding–I learned so much from him–but I wanted to focus on this song because he raves about it (and because it is Halloween). And because I absolutely wanted to type the name Thurl Ravenscroft.
He loves the vocals by Thurl (who was also the singer of The Grinch songs) and the bizarre chord progression: Am, B, Am, B♭, Am, F, Am, F7, Am, E7, Am. And about the song, he says:
When I was a kid, I was so attracted to this song, but I was scared of it. The record would sit with my other records and I would see it in there, and I would be like, ‘Do I have the bravery to listen to it right now?’ And sometimes I would, and I was mesmerized by it. But the then I grew up, and I went back and listened to it, and was like, ‘This is brilliant. This is really, really well done.’ I never in my entire life heard background vocals that sounded as tight as that. Never in my life. The harmonies are the tightest harmonies I have ever heard ever. And it’s like, this is for a silly kid’s record — but they were committed to making something special. Everything about that song is incredible to me.
So yes, it’s a goofy song, and if you don’t pay too much attention to it, it’s just a not very scary ghost song, but there’s a lot going on (hand it to Disney for being really into their production values). Like this note from Wikipedia: “the organist actually played the song backwards to achieve the discord that the composer intended.”
Not bad for a song you only hear if you go on a ride.
[READ: October 19, 2014] Poop Fountain!
I have enjoyed just about everything that Tom Angleberge has written (interestingly, he is famous for his origami Yoda series, which I actually like less than his other books). This book was actually his first book published. But he published it under the name Sam Riddleburger and it was called The Qwikpick Adventure Society. It has clearly been republished since he is now famous.
I brought the book home for Clark but he said he didn’t really like the way it was written (it is typed with handwritten comments). I actually found it very easy to read and thought it was a super fast read–two hours at most.
So the book starts with a note from Tom Angleberger in which he says that before he wrote books he was a reporter and one of the stories he wrote was about a sewage plant in Crickenburg, Virginia (which is not a real town). His original article was about how the local sewage plant was getting over-burdened by all the new residents and so it would need to be enlarged. He went to interview the manager and man did it stink.
He says that many years later a guy called him up to say that he had found a bunch of papers (including his article) in a Qwikpick gas station. And that’s how he came across this first person account of an adventure to the same sewage plant.
He then tells readers that this was in 2000, before kids had cell phones or the internet, when kids basically just did stuff outside. And that is how the Qwikpick Adventures Society’s trip to see the Fountain of Poop came about–thre bored kids looking for something to do. (more…)