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Archive for the ‘Disneyland’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: GRIEVOUS ANGELS-“Saturday Night in a Laundromat” (Moose: The Compilation, 1991).

Back in the 1990s, it was common to buy a compilation or soundtrack or even a band’s album based on one song.  Only to then find that you didn’t really like anything else on it.

Maybe that single sounded like nothing else on the album.  Maybe the movie was almost entirely one genre, but they had that one song that you liked over the credits.  Or maybe the compilation was for something you didn’t know, but a song you really wanted was on it, too.

With streaming music that need not happen anymore.  Except in this case.

I bought this compilation, used, recently exclusively for one song, Rheostatics’ “Woodstuck.”  It’s a goofy song and this is the only place you can get the studio version.  The actual compilation was not well documented, so I didn’t know what the other bands on it might sound like.  It turns out to be a compilation for Ontario based Moose Records which specialized in Rock, Folk, World & Country.  They put out another compilation in 1992 and that’s all I can find out about them.

Grevious Angles sound an awful lot like Cowboy Junkies–slow, downbeat folk/country that tells a story.  The story of being in a laundromat on a Saturday night is kind of interesting.

The band is still playing (after taking a brief hiatus in 2004 for singer songwriter Charlie Angus to enter politics for four years.

In this song, Michelle Rumball has a deep, sultry voice.  She left the band after this album, so I’m not sure what they sound like now.

[READ: July 1, 2019] “Super Dads”

The July/August issue of The Walrus is the Summer Reading issue.  This year’s issue had two short stories, a memoir, three poems and a fifteen year reflection about a novel as special features.

Another except from this novel was published in The 2019 Short Story Advent Calendar.

In this excerpt, three men, Frank, Nick and Prin are heading to Dizzy’s World, a theme park that has seen much, much better days.

Nick and Frank are from Terre Haute and used to go to Dizzy’s World all the time as kids.  They both have fond memories.  Prin is not from the area and has never heard of the place.

All three had been hired by an evangelical millionaire to help build a theme park inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.  Prin was a University professor. He understood footnotes and he knew that most people hated even the idea of them.  He was hired to talk footnotes to footnote haters. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: CHILLING THRILLING SOUNDS OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE (1964).

The cover during Phish’s 2014 concert was of this album.

Apparently many people grew up with this record.  I personally didn’t know it, but if you read the comments (don’t read the comments!) on any YouTube clip of the album you will see how popular it is.

Wikipedia describes it as  intended for “older children, teenagers, and adults” released by Disneyland Records (now known as Walt Disney Records). The album was mainly composed of sound effects that had been collected by the sound effects department of Walt Disney Studios. The album was released in several different forms. The album was first released in 1964 in a white sleeve, with a second release in 1973 with an orange sleeve. In both versions, the first side contained 10 stories narrated by Laura Olsher, complete with sound effects. The second side contained 10 sound effects meant for others to create their own stories.

Despite the title, most of the cuts had nothing to do with haunted houses or witches or ghostly spirits. Featured were such situations as an ocean liner hitting rocks, an idiotic lumberjack, a man crossing an unsafe bridge, someone lighting a stick of dynamite and a spaceship landing on Mars. Also, there are tracks with several examples of cats, dogs and birds (similar to “The Birds”) becoming enraged for some reason, as well as a skit about Chinese water torture. In addition, some of the screams were taken directly from the scene where Miss Havisham catches fire in the 1946 David Lean film Great Expectations.

The full track listing is

  • “The Haunted House” 3:00
  • “The Very Long Fuse” 1:28
  • “The Dogs” 1:13
  • “Timber” 1:45
  • “Your Pet Cat” 0:49
  • “Shipwreck” 1:39
  • “The Unsafe Bridge” 1:21
  • “Chinese Water Torture” 2:02
  • “The Birds” 0:46
  • “The Martian Monsters” 1:41
  • “Screams and Groans” 0:57
  • “Thunder, Lightning and Rain” 2:01
  • “Cat Fight” 0:37
  • “Dogs” 0:48
  • “A Collection Of Creaks” 1:54
  • “Fuses and Explosions” 1:11
  • “A Collection Of Crashes” 0:45
  • “Birds” 0:33
  • “Drips and Splashes” 1:18
  • “Things In Space” 0:53

Nothing is especially scary–although maybe for a kid, as many adults claim to have been really frightened by it.  Everything is quite over the top, especially the screams and cat howls and dog snarling.  Even the stories are a little silly, although having them in the second person is pretty genius.

But things like “one night as you lie in your lonely room in your stone hut on the moors…”  (What?).  And the Martian one.  Just keeping with continuity: if “you,” meaning me, went on the trip, then I couldn’t hear the crunching as it ate me.  Or the silly voice saying “I wonder what that was.”

And the less said about the horribly racist Chinese Water Torture the better.  I mean, the opening is bad enough: “The ancient Chinese were a very clever race” but the end of the song is really awful.  But if we can look past that, the rest of the record has fun with sound effects and is generally pretty enjoyable.

During the John Congleton interview, he also talks about this album and says (at 40:28) “the speakers are 180 degrees out of phase to make it sound extremely stereophonic.”  He says now as an engineer it is totally painful to listen to.  Bob says it sounds like it comes from the back of your head.

[READ: October 15, 2017] Half-Minute Horrors.

The premise of this book (edited by Susan Rich) is simple: how scared can you get in 30 seconds?  To me, the answer is actually not very.  I guess for me fear builds over time.  It’s hard to get genuinely frightened over something that just suddenly happens (unless it is just trying to frighten you quickly, of course).

Having said that, I enjoyed this book a lot (look at the list of authors!).  I liked the arbitrary goal of writing a scary story in a paragraph or two (or more).  And some of them were really quite creepy.

I was originally going to point out which ones I felt were the most creepy, but there are so many stories, I kind of lost track.  So instead, here’s a rundown and a brief summary. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: “Grim Grinning Ghosts (The Screaming Song) Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride (1963).

When producer/musicians John Congleton was a guest DJ on NPR, he played some expected and then some very unexpected songs. The most surprising (although it does make sense) was this song from the Disney Haunted Mansion.

Maybe this song is the reason why he likes the dark so much.

It’s a fun bouncy song, like most Disney stuff it’s hard to believe anyone was really afraid of it, and yet as a kid, that voice and those sounds could certainly be frightening.  The song has all kinds of sounds in it–keys, tubular bells, xylophone, hammered percussion marimba, and a lot of backing vocals.  And of course the amazing vocals (and laughs) Thurl Ravencroft and others.  There’s also great effects with analog tape.  He also points out that the chord progression is quite chromatic: A to B flat to B which is jagged and close together and not easy to listen to.

Congleton says (listen around 34:50):

The vocals are done by Thurl Ravenscroft, who was the voice of Tony the Tiger and the Grinch. I mean, This is Tom Waits before Tom Waits. 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.”

And yes, it is a silly song, but the recording is really impressive.

[READ: April 20, 2017] Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?

It has been almost two years since I read Book 3.  The fact that I’ve had book 4 all this time and simply not read it was not a good sign.  And, ultimately, I found this story ending to be strangely annoying, vaguely compelling and ultimately unsatisfying.

This book mostly follows young Snicket on his solo mission.  He awakes in the middle of the night to see his chaperone S. Theodora Markson sneak out of their room.  He follows her to a warehouse where she steals something and then to a train.  She boards but he is unable to.

The train used to make stops in town but it no longer does and Snicket jumps on board at the only place he can think of).  While he’s hanging on the outside of the train, Moxie drags him in through the window.  That’s about the first third of the book.  It was nice to have another character for him to talk to.

Then a murder happens (this is a pretty violent series for kids).  And the blame is laid at the wrong person’s feet. (more…)

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dumbSOUNDTRACK: WALT DISNEY-Chilling, Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House (1964).

hauntedJust in time for Halloween, I link to Disney’s 1964 LP Chilling, Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House.

I was unfamiliar with this record, but I gather a lot of people grew up being frightened by this.  The premise is simple–the narrator talks to you, yes you, as you are prepared to be scared by, well, everything you can imagine.  For 26 minutes, various sound effects are designed to scare you.

You go into a haunted house…and never come back.  Although despite the title, that’s all there is of a haunted house.  For there are more things to scare you….

There’s screams and creaks.  Gunpowder and dogs barking. A trip to Mars.

Tree limbs falling, cats going crazy.  A racist Chinese segment.

The back half of the disc is sound effects–I have no idea what that’s supposed to be around 20:49, though.

Basically every fear a kid could have (Disney was quite the sadist, huh?)

I imagine that if you were a kid (in 1964) this could be pretty darn scary.  Enjoy the whole thing…if you dare!

[READ: October 25, 2014] The Dumbest Idea Ever

I was pretty excited to see this book from Jimmy Gownley, creator of Amelia Rules, one of my favorite kids comic books.  I see that the books have been reissued, and that some new ones have been published since I last checked, so I’ll have to look for those.  He also has a new comic strip called Gracieland.

Anyhow, this book is a memoir about Jimmy growing up as a kid obsessed with comic books in a world where comic books were not appreciated (specifically: Catholic School).

It opens with young Jimmy being interviewed on TV–a seeming fantasy for any writer.  But this happens to be true (it’s local TV coverage of this young boy who has self published a comic book).  But before we get ahead of ourselves, we jump back two years earlier.

Jimmy lives in Girardville, PA.  He’s a great basketball player, an excellent student and a budding artist.  Sadly Girardville, PA is not the place for an artist–there’s not even a half way decent art store.  So, Jimmy relies on the few stores that carry comic books as his sole outlet for creative fun.  Even a good student can’t convince his teachers that a comic books is appropriate in school.  He even volunteers to do an oral report on the value of comic books.  He gets an A on the report but is still forbidden from having them in school. (more…)

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