Thursday, October 21, 2021

October...Day Twenty One...

Television theme songs have to be included in any list of Halloween music. These songs have a way of imbedding in our brains, working into our subconscious. Theme songs set up the program, lead to commercials and leave us humming well after the show has ended. Even the youngest viewer can recite lyrics or hum the instrumental of beloved shows. Here I discuss some of my favorites and their memorable television theme songs.

The original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? was my favorite cartoon, and its theme one of my beloved songs. CBS first aired Scooby-Doo September 13, 1969. Fred Silverman, head of Children’s Programming at the time, was looking for a show to break the network’s superhero cartoon rut and move into cartoons with more comedy and adventure. He was seeking a combination of the popular 1940’s radio show I Love a Mystery and the 1959-1963 sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Silverman and Joe Barbera, of the Hanna-Barbera team, came up with the working title "House of Mystery" and took the idea to Hanna-Barbera writers, Ken Spears and Joe Rudy. Spears and Rudy worked on characters, plots and story lines. Initially the story line involved four teenaged detectives who traveled the country in a van called the Mystery Machine solving mysteries. A Great Dane was the fifth member of the crew, but did not play a large role in these plots. Originally titled ‘Mystery’s Five’ the name was changed to ‘Who’s Scared?’ and presented to CBS management as a new Saturday morning cartoon. CBS president Frank Stanton rejected the show because he felt the artwork was too frightening for younger viewers. Still trying to salvage the idea, Silverman flew back to Los Angeles that night, and while listening to airline music on the flight back he was struck by the phrase "Scooby-dooby-doo" from Frank Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night. "We’ll call the show Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? and we’ll make the dog the star of the show," he told Hanna-Barbera. And the show as we know it was created. The theme music for the first two aired episodes was composed by legend Hoyt S. Curtin, theme composer of The Flintstones, The Jetsons and many memorable television and cartoon themes. The more notable "Scooby-Dooby-Doo" theme song, written by David Mook and Ben Raleigh and sung by Larry Marks was recorded on Wednesday and aired the following Saturday, September 27, 1969. The Scooby-Doo format changed in 1972 and Hanna-Barbera created the Scooby-Doo movies, which aired on ABC, and featured guest stars such as the Addams Family, Phyllis Diller, Jonathan Winters, Don Knotts, and Laurel and Hardy. After seven years at CBS the Scooby-Doo series moved to ABC in 1976. ABC wanted a new theme song that reflected the current music scene so Hoyt Curtin worked with Hanna-Barbera to compose the disco theme for The Scooby-Doo Show. There are many versions of the Scooby-Doo theme recorded for various shows and movies by Mathew Sweet, The B-52’s, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Billy Ray Cyrus and Third Eye Blind. But my favorite version is the Mook/Raleigh version we all have come to know as the original Scooby-Doo theme.

I love The Munsters. Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, creative forces behind The Amos & Andy Show and Leave It to Beaver, developed, wrote and produced The Munsters which debuted on CBS September 24, 1964. Jack Marshall, one of Capitol’s top producers in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s wrote the theme song, which was nominated for a Grammy, with little known lyrics by Bob Mosher. An influential Hollywood guitarist, arranger, composer and conductor, Marshall scored music for television and was an arranger for Peggy Lee and Judy Garland. There are a few versions of The Munsters theme arranged by Marshall, including the pilot theme, the first 1964 arrangement and the final 1964-1966 arrangement. Marshall’s untimely passing at age 51 prompted a scholarship fund for young guitarists to be created in his name at the University of Southern California, where he is credited with starting their guitar program. Billy Strange, Comateens and Los Straitjackets have recorded versions of this classic television theme. This theme is one of the best Halloween instrumentals of all time.

Don Kirshner was president of Columbia Pictures-Screen Gem’s (CP-SG) music division when he assigned Jack Keller and Howard Greenfield to view the pilot for Bewitched and write the theme in 1964. The pilot used Frank Sinatra’s Witchcraft but (CP-SG) didn’t want to pay Sinatra for rights to the Witchcraft recording. Keller and Greenfield needed to write something with the same vibe, and they had only a week to write the song, record the demo and get it form California to New York. The song was readily accepted and the decision was made to use an instrumental rather than vocal version to enhance the Hanna-Barbera animated main title sequence. The first instrumental version was a light orchestral arrangement by series composer Warren Barker. The xylophone signature for Samantha’s trademark nose-scrunch was Barker’s idea and was incorporated into the main title for the second season. Talk of a vocal version was squashed when the studio didn’t want to spend $2,500 to pay crooner Jerry Vale. The animation and music for Bewitched changed slightly during its 1964-1972 ABC Primetime run. Alternate versions of the Bewitched theme have been performed by Peggy Lee, Steve Lawrence, The Earl Klugh Trio and 60’s Hammond organ master Jimmy Smith, to name a few. Bewitched is always a crowd pleaser with its fun, jazzy vibe and smooth feel.

Alfred Hitchcock presents, the 30-minute television series that aired October 2, 1955 to September 6, 1965, was the brainchild of Hitchcock’s friend and ex-agent Lou Wasserman, president of MCA. Alfred Hitchcock presents was one of the longest-running shows in television history, winning two Emmys and receiving 17 Emmy nominations. Hitchcock chose the classical novelty Marche Funèbre d'une Marionnette (Funeral March of the Marionette) composed in 1873 by French composer Charles Gonoud. The song was adapted and arranged over the years by many composers starting with Stanley J.Wilson, Music Director of MCA-Revue Studios (the TV wing of MCA-Universal Studios). Stan Wilson was a key figure in Hollywood’s music industry in the 1950s and 1960s and started the careers of several young composers including Dave Grusin, Quincy Jones and Lalo Schifrin. In 1960 the theme was credited to arrangers Dave Kahn and Melvyn Lenard. Kahn became music supervisor for the Filmways TV shows and Lenard was the pseudonym of publisher David Marvin Gordon, who wanted a piece of the royalties. In the fall of 1962 episodes expanded to an hour, and the title was changed to The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. The theme was adapted and arranged by Lyn Murray (the pseudonym of Lionel Breeze). Murray had scored Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief. The Lyn Murray Orchestra played with Bing Crosby, the Dorsey Brothers and Louis Armstrong. His personal diary detailing the New York and Hollywood Film and TV social scene was published in 1987: Musician – a Hollywood Journal. Bernard Herrmann arranged and adapted the theme a fourth time in 1964 opening the second hour-long season. In Herrmann's arrangement the melody was transposed up a diatonic third. He also composed music for many of Hitchcock’s films including Psycho, Vertigo, North by Northwest, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Marnie and Torn Curtain. Hitchcock’s choice of theme song shows his self-amused attitude toward the joke that was his public persona. Funeral March of the Marionette will forever be linked to the fun and frolic of Halloween.

"There is nothing wrong with your television set…" those chilling words were first heard September 16, 1963. Outer Limits terrified audiences on ABC Primetime from 1963 until 1965. Leslie Stevens, president of Daystar Productions, and Joseph Stefano, scriptwriter for Hitchcock's Psycho and Marnie, developed Outer Limits in 1962 in attempt to compete with CBS’s The Twilight Zone. Composer and leading jazz accordionists Dominic Frontiere penned the first theme for the series. This was Frontiere’s first major achievement as a composer. He was also a production executive for the show. Frontiere’s main title theme and the music he wrote for the series are some of the most incredible and innovative scoring ever on television. It is also some of the creepiest. Frontiere is known for his film scores Hang ‘Em High (which Booker T & the MGs made into a top ten hit) and television scores like The Invaders. He, Stefano and Stevens left the series in 1964 after a crippling time-slot change and serious issues regarding funding. Frontiere became head of Paramount’s music department and won a Golden Globe his composition for The Stunt Man. Harry Lubin replaced Frontiere as series music director and replaced the main theme music and spooky melodies. A Lubin composition called ‘Weird’ had been used in Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond and this replaced the Outer Limits theme to save money. The track is almost unaltered from its original version used on One Step Beyond. Lubin is probably best known as composing for The Loretta Young Show and for the motion pictures Disaster, Wyoming Mail, Waterfront at Midnight, Mr. Reckless, Caged Fury and Tibet. Frontiere and Lubin’s compositions helped achieve that extra level of fright that Outer Limits enjoyed.

Whether you enjoy cartoons, sit-coms, murder mysteries or aliens and paranormal exploits, television themes are part of our musical Halloween celebration. Creating music that will be heard week after week, season after season isn’t easy. A successful theme song will outlast syndication and transcend the show it represented. A memorable theme song is a true work of art, a stroke of genius. I hope you have enjoyed learning about of these geniuses. Mark Harvey is a Halloween music enthusiast and archivist. Mark owns and operates NobodyRecords.com, HauntScapes.com, Pumpkinland Studios and 13thTrack.com Halloween Radio plus a number of Halloween and non-Halloween related websites. His own Halloween releases include the Pumpkinland Halloween ‘HauntScape’ Trilogy and Rain Station’s DARK RIDE.
Article from Happy Halloween Magazine Volume 5/Issue 2 & 3 – Autumn 2002
Visit Halloweenalliance.com for magazine information





Wednesday, October 20, 2021

October...Day Twenty...

What makes a Halloween song a hit? Most folks agree that a great Halloween song is one that you can sing along with. Songs that you find yourself humming as you decorate or prepare for Halloween. Many of these songs can be found easily and are considered common favorites among fans of the holiday. So why are some Halloween songs destined to live in obscurity? In the last issue of Happy Halloween Magazine I wrote about some of the better known Halloween classics. In this issue I’ll discuss more obscure songs that deserve their place in Halloween music history.

My earliest memories of Halloween music were of songs from classic cartoons that used pop, jazz and swing music from the 20s, 30s and 40s. Artists like Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Ray Noble and Bing Crosby recorded some of the best-known yet forgotten Halloween hits around. I love old black and white spooky cartoons. The Haunted House, written by Ray Noble and Max Kester is one of those "cartoon" songs I can remember from my childhood. Recorded in London on October 23, 1931, the Noble led New Mayfair Dance Orchestra, along with The Three Ginx on vocals, capture the fun, frivolity and mischief of the holiday. There is little information regarding this song and the history behind it. I contacted Ray’s nephew, Bud Noble, but he wasn’t able to shed any light on the subject. At this time the song remains a mystery.

Big band, swing and jazz music was big in my house. I loved to see the cartoons that brought together the familiar musical sounds with Halloween flair. A perfect match. Also big in my house were old movies. The Louis Armstrong version of the Arthur Johnson/Johnny Burke tune, The Skeleton in the Closet recorded with Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra in Los Angeles, August 7, 1936 and featured in the 1936 Columbia Pictures movie, Pennies from Heaven is another favorite of mine. This was Satchmo’s big break as he was featured in a role aside Bing Crosby in this very successful romantic musical comedy. The song is featured in a creepy nightclub sequence complete with a dancing skeleton. Who can resist Armstrong’s gravelly voice and legendary trumpet style especially when it’s put to good use on a Halloween tune!
No list of Halloween songs from this era would be complete without mentioning The Headless Horseman by Don Raye and Gene De Paul. Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby and the Rhythmaires perform the song featured in the "Legend Of Sleepy Hollow," a portion of the 1947 animated Walt Disney film The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Bing plays the role of Brom Bones and his song follows the Washington Irving tale of a headless man who cannot be reasoned, who is intent on scaring poor Ichabod Crane witless on Halloween night.


The 50s and 60s gave real life to Halloween music. Rockabilly (a blend of the blues, country and gospel) and rock-n-roll songs are most easily identified with Halloween and put music into the celebration of Halloween. The Purple People Eater, The Monster Mash and I Put A Spell On You are all products of this era. Monster magazines and movies influenced musicians to join the ranks of those who create media for the holiday. There are so many great songs from this era, many completely unknown and little is known about the artists who recorded some of these excellent yet obscure songs. She’s My Witch by Kip Tyler & His Flips was recorded in November 1958. Sexy, spooky and lazy this is Halloween music performed with a hoodlum’s sneer. The Flips were a Hollywood black-leather clad Rockabilly gang who would ride to their shows on motorcycles. Guitarist Bruce Johnson later joined the Beach Boys. Tyler, who also recorded under the name Jimmy Daley, made an appearance in the film Rock Pretty Baby, but only dabbled once with Halloween music.

Gary Warren’s Werewolf was recorded August 18, 1958 on the Nasco label. Re-recorded in 1998 by Southern Culture On The Skids (who also have a great version of She’s My Witch) for Rob Zombie’s Halloween Hootenanny CD, Werewolf has to be one of my favorite Halloween songs of all time. This is one of the most fun songs to sing and practice Elvis moves to. I find myself singing this one whenever I feel a sinister urge coming on. Unfortunately, little is known about Gary Warren or his recording career. I’ve contacted the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in hopes of learning more about Gary Warren and Kip Tyler. I’ll keep you posted.


Calypso, Reggae and Ska also have some excellent seasonal representatives. Zombie Jamboree is a funny story about zombies from across the land celebrating at a cemetery on Long Island and is said to have won an extemporaneous composition contest for Lord Invader and his Twelve Penetrators at Trinidad’s Calypso Carnival in 1955. This, according to the Kingston Trio’s Dave Guard, who has a knack for entertaining song lead-ins. The song was actually written by Conrad Eugene Mauge, Jr. (which is not Lord Invader’s real name—he was born Rupert Westmore Grant); Lord Invader’s band was known as his Calypso Orchestra. No matter, the Kingston Trio is responsible for one of the most notable versions of this song. Early recordings of Zombie Jamboree (which is also known as Back to Back [Belly to Belly]) are by such Calypso artists as Noel Anthony, The Castaways, Lord Jellicoe and His Calypso Monarchs and The Charmer (The Charmer was Louis Farrakhan’s stage name back in the 50s). Harry Belafonte recorded my favorite version of Zombie Jamboree in 1962. In 1990, Rockapella (an acappella group) released a radio only single of Zombie Jamboree (one of the first songs they had recorded as a group) bringing the song to a new audience and making the song hip again.

Reggae super-producer Lee "Scratch" Perry and his studio band, that he called The Upsetters, released Dracula in January 1971 as an instrumental b-side to The Wailers Mr. Brown single. Years earlier after a couple of rehearsals, Bob Marley and The Wailers had convinced The Upsetters to leave Perry and join The Wailers. When Perry heard the news, he was livid. After locking themselves away for several hours, Perry and Marley decided to work together, sharing the backing musicians and making Perry exclusive producer for future recordings. They worked together from 1969-1971. Released on Perry’s Upsetter label, Dracula features his signature fiery organ-led, soul-tinged reggae and is a truly one of the coolest Halloween instrumentals around. The relationship between Perry, The Upsetters and The Wailers was a turning point in reggae history. The song is little known and often credited to Bob Marley.

Another favorite is Ghost Town by The Specials. Written by Jerry Dammers (their keyboard player and principal songwriter) in 1981, Ghost Town was The Specials last single. The Specials were the flagship band of the late 70s/early 80s 2-tone Ska scene, fusing Jamaican Ska (a mix of Reggae and Rocksteady) with high-energy Punk Rock. The song sums up the frustration felt by the band as youth riots erupted across England due to recession and high unemployment. It also captures a perfect feeling of desolation. Ghost Town reached Number 1 in the UK in July 1981 and stayed at Number 1 for three weeks.


What makes these Halloween songs great is the mood they create and the fun they inspire. Whatever the type of music you enjoy there is a wealth of Halloween music to choose from. I will continue to research and discover the stories behind Halloween songs and present those stories in future issues of Happy Halloween Magazine.

Mark Harvey is a Halloween music enthusiast and archivist. Mark owns and operates NobodyRecords.com, HauntScapes.com, Pumpkinland Studios and 13thTrack.com Halloween Radio plus a number of other Halloween and non-Halloween related websites. His own Halloween releases include the Pumpkinland Halloween ‘HauntScape’ Trilogy and Rain Station’s DARK RIDE.


Article from Happy Halloween Magazine Volume 5/Issue 1 – Spring 2002





Tuesday, October 19, 2021

October...Day Nineteen...

An article by Mark Harvey(Part one of three articles on Halloween music by Mark Harvey)

What classifies a song as a Halloween song? It is words. It is feel. It is unmistakable. Almost every genre of music has a Halloween representative, although I have yet to find a Gospel or Christian Halloween song in my searches. Much of this music must be sought out since it will never make it onto a Halloween compilation CD or onto commercial radio. As Halloween approaches, my never-ending search for new Halloween sounds reaches a higher level while stores stock current offerings. Each year I find something new. Each year I find more of the same old usual suspects. Let us start with the stories about the songs that you have most likely heard.

Sheb Wooley and A Thing with One Big Horn and One Big Eye
Sheb Wooley (a.k.a. Ben Colder) is known by most Halloweenites for penning The Purple People Eater, but to millions of other folks he is known for his country novelty tunes and extensive film and TV work. Wooley first got the idea for The Purple People Eater when a songwriter friend told him his son had come home from school with a joke about a "people eater." After recording what he deemed as a "bottom of the barrel song," his label decided not to release it. They thought it was something they did not want to be identified with. Somehow a copy of the song made its way to the company’s New York offices. They loved the song. The country’s fascination with UFO’s and the Sputnik phenomenon in full swing, the NY office reconsidered the release. In early 1958 The Purple People Eater became the first single ever to hit number one in its second week on the charts. The Purple People Eater catapulted to Number 1 for six weeks in 1958, sold over three million records and received a gold record within three weeks after it was released. It is the Number 24 song of the 1955-1959 rock era and has sold over one hundred million copies.


Mr. Pickett and THE song
In about an hour and a half, Lenny Capizi and Bobby Pickett worked out The Monster Mash. Halloween music was forever changed. These two members of the singing group the Cordials decided to take advantage of the novelty song craze happening in the early sixties. They brought the song to producer Gary Paxton (singer of the Hollywood Argyles hit Alley Oop). After the session, Paxton dubbed the band "Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett and the Cryptkickers." On October 20, 1962, after eight weeks on the charts, the record hit Number 1 just in time for Halloween. It re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 on August 29, 1970 peaking at Number 91 and again on May 5, 1972 when it went all the way to Number 10. Over the years, The Monster Mash has sold over four million copies, received three gold records, and is easily one of the most popular novelty records of all time.

Jumpin’ Gene Simmons: fortunes from a Haunted House
Haunted House was first recorded in the late 1950s by Johnny Fuller (Specialty 655) but failed to chart. In 1963 Domingo Samudio (a.k.a. Sam The Sham) was performing Haunted House live clubs and on television. People went nuts when he performed the song. Jumpin’ Gene and Sam the Sham were playing clubs together in the early sixties. Gene saw how folks were reacting to that song. Ray Harris at Hi Records asked Gene to see if Sam would record Haunted House for Hi Records. Sam declined and said he wanted to cut the record on his own. Harris wanted to proceed with their recording of the song and asked Jumpin’ Gene if he would cut the record. Simmons has said the session was not like his others in that "everyone involved had fun." By August 1964, Haunted House (Hi 2076) had made it to Number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. After years of unsuccessful releases Haunted House would be Jumpin’ Gene Simmons first hit and would launch him on his first world tour.

Screaming' Jay: Original Shock-Rocker
Many years ago I was fortunate enough to catch Screamin’ Jay Hawkins at a small nightclub in San Francisco. The show was weird, excellent—but weird. I Put A Spell on You was THE signature song. Hawkins crept around the stage in a cape, brandishing the smoking skull on a stick he named ‘Henry.’ He was a crazed cannibal, a voodoo jive master. What I did not realize at that time was his immense impact on macabre music, especially on the presentation of that music. Inspired by being dumped by a girlfriend after she caught him cheating, Screamin’ Jay cut the original version of I Put A Spell On You for Grand Records in 1949, but the record failed to make an impact. Recorded with producer Arnold Maxon for Okeh (Epic) in 1956, the song soon became his signature hit. Maxon insisted that Jay’s recording needed to live up to the strange title and suggested that they turn the session into a huge party. Maxon supplied Jay and the musicians with barbecued ribs and chicken, yams and sweet potato pie, wine, beer and whiskey. After a while, he turned on the tape. A week later Screamin’ Jay was brought a copy of the recording. He was shocked and refused to believe that the recording was of him. After some Scotch and some practiced mouth contortions, he accepted it as his own. I Put A Spell on You was banned from radio airplay across the country due to his "cannibalistic" delivery. It was eventually edited for radio with moans, grunts and groans removed. I Put A Spell On You was Screamin’ Jay’s only big single, selling over a million copies, but it never made the charts. To date there are over three dozen versions by such popular artists as Credence Clearwater Revival, Nina Simone, Atlantics, Pete Townsend, The Animals (with Eric Burdon), Bryan Ferry, Manfred Mann, Robben Ford, Van Morrison, John Fogerty, Etta James, Bette Midler, Sarah Vaughan, Nick Cave, and Marilyn Manson.

Dah-dah-dah-dum! Snap! Snap!
In 1964 Vic Mizzy gave us one of the best known pieces of music, The Addams Family Theme, but this legendary theme might not have happened at all. David Levy, a close friend of Mizzy’s and an executive with Filmways Studio (NBC’s television production division) asked him to patch in some stock music for the soundtrack of a pilot for a series based on the Charles Addams cartoons in the New Yorker. Vic offered to write a score for free so long as he could keep the publishing rights. Levy agreed and Mizzy wrote the theme. Not only did he write the title theme, but he also composed themes for most of the main characters, played the harpsichord, and directed the opening sequence. Vic was the vocalist on the track and his voice was overdubbed three times. Whenever you hear Lurch playing the harpsichord, it’s actually Vic. From 1964—1966 Mizzy composed themes and weekly scores for the TV show. His 1965 Ghost and Mr. Chicken soundtrack has some of his best work. He is known best in Hollywood for being an excellent source for silly and fun music and has composed for films, radio and television.


Our "Spooky" tune
Spooky was originally an instrumental by saxophonist Mike Sharpe. A regional hit in the Atlanta, Georgia area, J.R. Cobb of The Classics IV and producer Buddy Buie decided to re-record the song with lyrics. In 1967 Spooky was released on the Imperial Label. A radio station in Louisville, Kentucky began to spin the record. By early 1968 the song’s popularity had spread nationally as it reached Number 3 and achieved a gold record. It reached Number 46 in the UK. In 1974, Cobb and Buie, along with some members from The Classics IV and Roy Orbison’s Candymen band, formed the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Their 1979 remake of the original 1967 hit reached Number 17. Though it was the bands last hit, it put the song back on the Halloween map for good.


Phil Everly wants a dance song
In the early 70s Warren Zevon played with the Everly Brothers and by 1975, he and his wife were living in Phil Everly’s guesthouse. Phil asked Warren and songwriting partner Leroy "Roy" Marinell to write a song for his upcoming solo album. He asked them to write him a dance song. "Something like ‘Werewolves Of London’" is what Phil said. Later, at Roy’s house as they began writing, guitarist Robert ‘Wadded’ Wachtel joined them to add the "Aah-Ooh Werewolves of London". According to Zevon, the first verse was written spontaneously and entirely by Waddy. The three finished the song in 20 minutes. The track was recorded with Waddy, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie (of Fleetwood Mac fame) and produced by friend Jackson Browne. Werewolves of London hit Number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Number 15 on the Cashbox charts in April 1978. The song eventually reached Number 8 and went gold. As a result, his album Excitable Boy became a Top Ten record and remains his best-selling album to date. Thanks to Phil.

I hope you have enjoyed the stories behind the songs. As familiar as many of these songs are, they still remain some of my favorite songs of all time. Sometimes hearing the story behind the song brings new life to old tracks. In the next issue of Happy Halloween Magazine I will talk about the more eclectic side of Halloween music, covering genres and rarities.

Mark Harvey is a Halloween music enthusiast and archivist. Mark owns and operates NobodyRecords.com, HauntScapes.com, Pumpkinland Studios and 13thTrack.com Halloween Radio plus a number of Halloween and non-Halloween related websites. His own Halloween releases include the Pumpkinland Halloween ‘HauntScape’ Trilogy, Rain Station’s DARK RIDE and FLESHROT: Songs from the Dead.
Article from Happy Halloween Magazine Volume 4/Issue 4 – Winter 2002




Monday, October 18, 2021

October...Day Eighteen...

Here's another repost...
An interview I did with Ghoul Skool :

If you haven't heard 13th Track Halloween Radio or listened to the music of Nobody Records then your missing the best part of Halloween. Read along and check out the links as we interview Mark Harvey, the Master of Music Macabre!
Q: The 13th Track is the Premiere Halloween Radio Station. Why Halloween?
A: Halloween is my favorite holiday. For years I would put together mixes of Halloween (and Christmas) music and give it to friends. A sort of music to live your holiday by. As the years went on I started collecting anything and everything Halloween audio related. As my collection grew I decided I wanted to share my collection with a broader audience so I started 13thTrack.com Halloween Radio.
Q: Your collection of Halloween related songs is staggering, how long have you been collecting them? Do you have a favorite find? Is there a favorite song associated with Halloween?
A: I've been collecting Halloween related audio for around 22 years (I'm 34 now). My favorite find is a recent one. I finally located The Munsters LP in excellent condition. This LP features the Munsters theme with lyrics. Of course now that I found one, they've been showing up left and right on eBay. It'd be tough to pick just one favorite song since I've got so many. I'm into the more fun, party side of Halloween music. Music that is good to dance to. Something to get the girls dancing!
Q: You split your record selections for the 13th Track between classics (pre-70s) and modern (post 70s), in your opinion was there a shift in the music at that time? Where do you see Halloween music headed in the future, will it be darker, more Culdee or could there be another "Monster Mash" looming on the horizon?
A: There seems to be a shift from the pre-70s to the post 70s. Music from the 70s fits better with newer music. Music from the 60s and earlier tends to fit together. I've been DJing for many years and figured that 70s and before and 70s and beyond would be the logical place to split the broadcasts. Earlier Halloween music tends to be more whimsical, while newer Halloween music a bit darker (not in all cases). As far as the future of Halloween music? I think musicians will continue to record whatever inspires them. I know there are lots of new whimsical Halloween tunes, but with society getting a bit darker I also feel that Halloween music will emulate what's going on, so it should also get darker.
Really, people record for whoever they think their audience is, even if it is just for themselves. When I record my music I record the music for myself and hope that there is someone out there that can relate to what I'm doing. So far so good. As far as another "Monster Mash" on the horizon, I doubt it. Songs like that one come around once in a lifetime. Of all the emails I get, "Monster Mash" is still the most requested song. I'm still trying to write a song that rivals it. Hopefully someday I'll succeed!
Q: Nobody Records is a unique name, oft times there is a special meaning linking the name to the owner is it so in your case? How long has Nobody Records been in business? Where are you located?
A: Back in the late 80's my band, The Screaming Paisleys, needed a record label name to release our debut LP "EXIT" on. I had a band mascot (if you will) that I called Nobody - a no eyes, nose or mouth doll. I liked the name and it seemed to fit and it has stuck now for 16+ years. The label is located in Northern California near Oakland.
Q: The artists on your label are truly talented, how do you find them or do they find you? Do you solicit material from new acts or do you create them?
A: I've found most of the artists on my label. I do accept unsolicited material and I've signed acts who've submitted demos. Much of what is on my label has some connection to me - either I am the band or part of the band or good friends with the band. My goal is to be able to someday add many more artists to the label and get affiliated with a major label.
Q: Have you been associated with providing music for the dark ride industry? If so, in what fashion?
A: I've created many custom tracks for the dark amusement industry. People from all over the world contact me for specialized tracks. It helps that I am a haunter and dark rider. I understand what it takes to put on a good show. Music, in my opinion, is the least considered, but the most effective aspect of any dark attraction. I like to see floor plans, understand the themes or gag in each space. Then I create a track that immerses the visitor in the desired location. Right now I am working with a dark ride company in the Middle East. Another goal of mine is to work for an amusement company putting together tracks for rides, theme parks and events.
Q: Do you do anything special for Halloween such as parties, haunts or charitable functions?
A: Yes. Each year I put on a haunt for children called "Pumpkinland" (named after my CD series). Children enter free and I collect canned goods or small donations for an entrance fee from the adults. All proceeds benefit the Davis Street Community Center in San Leandro, CA. Last year I wasn't able to put "Pumpkinland" together, but plan on getting it back up and running this October. I've got many new pneumatic props (built by Brent Ross, Devious Concoctions) and look forward to putting on a professional show for the kids this year.
Q: Is there a special Halloween memory that remains with you?
A: Yes. Trick or Treating as a kid. I have many fond memories of combing the hillsides in San Carlos, CA with my friends in search of candy and good scares. It was safe back then to wander around until all hours of the night with your friends. We'd come home with pillow cases full of candy. I also loved carving Jack-O-Lanterns, visiting Half Moon Bay, CA and decorating the house for Halloween. The new fond memories of Halloween include meeting Rob Zombie, Karen Black, Bill Moseley and Alyson Hannigan at Universal Studios. They all did radio spots for 13thTrack.com Halloween Radio and received copies of my Pumpkinland CD and my band, Rain Station's CD, DARK RIDE. I also enjoy visiting local haunts and hearing the tracks I've created for them in action.

And that's it folks...repost du jour...hope you enjoyed it and keep visiting Mark Harvey World each day during the month of October.

Hallowe'en Greetings!

Mark Harvey
(the picture to the left is me at a pumpkin patch in Half Moon Bay)







Sunday, October 17, 2021

October...Day Seventeen...

Greetings friends and fiends,

As many of you might have guessed I'm a HUGE fan of Jack O' Lanterns and pumpkins in general. These are some seed packets I found a bit ago.  I guess I liked the packaging and decided to not get rid of them...


It may have been the Fall days over in Half Moon Bay as a kid - running around the pumpkin patches. That was always one of my favorite things to do as a kid.


For some reason, pumpkins and Jack O' Lanterns make me feel warm and peaceful. The orange glow of a candlelit Jack O' Lantern and some creepy music is about all I need for a seasonal treat.



What's YOUR favorite Halloween decoration? What do you need out to make your Season complete?






Have a listen to "The Pumpkin Patch" from my first Pumpkinland CD (here).

Happy Haunting,

Mark Harvey




Saturday, October 16, 2021

October...Day Sixteen...

Hi there,
Last night I decided to override the calls for animated Halloween fare for a classic monster movie that I knew none of my kids had watched. The 1954 Universal Pictures classic Creature from the Black Lagoon.
As a kid this movie made a huge impact on me as it was the first 3D movie I had ever watched. Growing up in San Carlos, CA was pretty cool.  We had a great theater, The Laurel, that played a whole array of cool movies. I saw so many classics there, but Creature from the Black Lagoon is WAY up there on the list due to the new 3D experience it offered this monster kid.
Normally I'll check Common Sense Media (here) before I put a movie on as my recollection of movies can sometimes be FAR different than the reality of what I'm putting on. In this case, I didn't because I wanted to get the show started. I checked today and saw that the movie isn't rated there so...
OK...the movie is classic and even when my 11 year old balked at a "black and white movie" it didn't take long for her to get into it. My 6 year old was entranced from the start. All of the aquarium scenes and the overall vibe made it an easy "monster movie" to watch with them. My wife even watched some of it and seemed to like it. They are all swimmers and the movie has a lot of swimming in it. It was funny...every time they called the Creature "Gill Man" I'd think of "The Gilman" in Berkeley...
There was one moment in the movie that bummed my 6 year old out and he talked about it again today, but overall he said he thought the movie was cool and he liked the Creature. We talked about the "dog scene" and the fact that the dog was probably faking being dead...

My band, Rain Station, wrote a song about the Creature...check it out...


Hope you and yours are getting to watch a little bit of Halloweenie cinema this month.

Happy Haunting,

Mark Harvey


Friday, October 15, 2021

October...Day Fifteen...

Greetings and salutations,

I'm a big fan of being clean and smelling good and although I'm not a huge pumpkin spice guy, I do like pumpkin "things" (big Jack O'Lantern fan). 

I waited until today to open up a Dr. Squatch Soap bar that I had purchased a bit ago (in a large pack).  Drunk'n Pumpkin is made of Sustainable Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Shea Butter, Natural Fragrance, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Pumpkin Butter, Yarrow, Sea Salt,

Charcoal and Mica. 

The scent is masculine - woodsy, spicy (I'm picking up clove), but not overpowering.  It rises off well. I don't pick up too much pumpkin scent and not sure what the "drunk'n" part is, but overall I dig it.

If you haven't tried their soap I suggest you do. Click here to visit the Dr. Squatch website.

I sourced some bars of this soap and they're selling for $35 or so on eBay (yikes). Dr. Squatch bars tend to go for around $7 plus shipping.

Happy Haunting,

Mark Harvey



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