Category Archives: Music & Soundtracks

Ghostly Sounds of Monster Kid Childhood

Peter Pan Record’s Ghostly Sounds: The Soundtrack of My Childhood

Ghostly Sounds Peter Pan Records Cover

“Night falls. The forest holds its breath. Everything is still. The blood red moon stares through the trees. Suddenly, the wind blows! The trees… shiver. A bat quivers in the night… and flies away.”

For a kid growing up on a steady diet of the over-the-top comic book prose of Stan Lee and the comic book ads that promised greatness, only to certainly under-deliver should one actually convince their parents to order from them, such hyperbole is the stuff of wonder.

Ghostly Sounds from Peter Pan Records was released in 1975 and wound up in my small vinyl collection by that same Halloween.  The cover of Ghostly Sounds promises ” A stunning array of sound effects” and throughout this narration-filled record, it delivers the goods: “Flying Bats; Walking Monsters; Cackling Witches; Screeching Cats; Rattling Chains; Haunting Ghosts; Shrieks of Horror and many, many more scary sounds.”

Like our beloved Famous Monster of Filmland and the great bronze age comic book, it’s the cover art, by George Peed, that grabbed us by the throat and commanded us to buy.  The Ghostly Sounds cover features a top-hatted vampire with skull cufflinks and fanged skeletons accompanied a grinning ogre and the most unthreatening cartoon frog in the history of commercial Halloween art. But the stern warning “Not for the very young” was brilliant in drawing a line that this nine-year-old Monster Kid knew he must cross, because promised terrible delights that must be heard. And finally, that glorious house, obviously haunted and dangerous, daring to be explored.

With narrator Peter Waldron ever present to guide us through the treacherous sound effect landscape, Ghostly Sounds begins with marvelous effects of wailing, cackling witches, and their bizarre spell-casting. Howling wolves and keening cats are heard. All the while, the eerie noise of wind purrs in the background. Many of the album’s effects, all untitled, were done on a synthesizer, and those awful canned music machines were seldom used to better effect.

“From out of their hiding places,” the narrator announces, “Goblins step… and laugh… and dance.” The deranged, bobbing, giggling, merry/creepy effects used to represent the goblins and their ghoulish gathering is a highlight of the entire spooky sound effects genre.

Next, we are treated to “Strange, unnatural sounds” — a woman’s unholy, almost musical moaning. That and the track that follows, “Skeletons rising from their graves,” are a highlight of an already splendid album. As the album’s various creatures join together and rise into a cacophonous burst of pure Halloween, the narrator exclaims, a terrified, resigned catch in his voice, “And nothing will stop them! Nothing at alllll….”

A pause.

“…Except lollipops, and apples, and chocolates, and nuts,” the narrator concludes, his voice now steady and sober as that of a friend neighbor benignly dolling out Snickers. A last-minute terror softener.

This is a children’s album, after all, and there are limits to the fright that a kid can stand coming from his record player. But not if you’re a Monster kid…this LP is a nostalgia-filled trip back to simpler times and the gloriously over-the-top cover art makes it a stand out in my collection.

Front Cover:

Ghostly Sounds Peter Pan Records Cover

Back Cover:

Ghostly-Sounds-Peter-Pan-Back-Cover

Tracklist

A Ghostly Sounds 11:52
B The Ghosts From Outer Space 11:54

Listen to the full album here:

  • Artwork – George Peed
  • Narrator – Peter Waldron
  • Producer – Gershon Kingsley

Pressings:

Released in 1975 by Peter Pan Records, the record only received one pressing.

Catalog # 8125

Ghostly Sounds Peter Pan Records Side A

Ghostly Sounds Peter Pan Records Side B

In 1979, Rainbow Records released this LP in Australia with the same cover art along with a cassette version. These releases are identified as Catalog # RPG 6015 and RPGC 6015 respectively.

Collector Notes:

This LP is readily available online and certainly can be found at local vinyl shops with regularity for as little as $5.  If you’re like me and like to collect higher grade items, then expect to pay around $20-30 for a VF/NM vinyl/sleeve combo of this 1975 LP.

Of course, online shoppers can track down copies in the usual places:

Marvel Monsters: Power Records Curse of the Werewolf

The Action COMES ALIVE As You Read!Curse of Werewolf Power Records Cover

For 1970s kids, there were few combinations as powerful as Marvel Comics and Power Records.  Known for their book and record combo sets, Power combined the graphic awesomeness of comic books with the imagination-stirring storytelling of narrative records.

Popular with collectors of all stripes, we’ll focus on Power’s monster records in this series, beginning with the great Werewolf by Night in Curse of the Werewolf!

Listen to the full record here:

Produced by Herb Davidson and Charlotte Saunders and written by Roy and Jean Thomas and Gerry Conway, with interior art by Mike Ploog and cover art by Neal Adams and Tom Palmer.  Most of the story is reprinted  from Marvel Spotlight #2 but the last 8 pages are from a storyline that occurred in Werewolf by Night #15, where there was a crossover with Dracula, and included art by Gene Colan.

Power Records Curse of the Werewolf page 1

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Power Records Curse of Werewolf page 13Power Records Curse of Werewolf page 17

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Power Records Curse of Werewolf record
Power Records Marvel Monster series

Collectors Resources

If you’re like me and like to collect higher grade items, then expect to pay around $35-50 for a VF/NM vinyl/sleeve combo of this 1974 book and record combo.

Of course, online shoppers can track down copies in the usual places:

 

 

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Walt Disney’s CHILLING THRILLING SOUNDS 1979 Redux

WARNING: This Album Will Scare Your Pants Off.

Walt Disney Studios Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House 1979

Walt Disney Studios’ Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House
Out of print (Walt Disney Storyteller Records 2507B, Vinyl/Cassette release) DQ-2507; 1979

Walt Disney’s Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House was a childhood staple for Monster Kids of the 1960s and 70s.  Originally released as a sound effects record in 1964, the album was reissued numerous times over the years.  We wrote extensively about the original record in a previous article that you can read here.

In 1979, Walt Disney Studios released an all-new  version of this record.  So new, in fact, only the record name is the same.  Despite the same title, the 1979 version of “Chilling, Thrilling Sounds” is quite unlike its predecessor, and doesn’t contain any Haunted Mansion-specific content, although the cover art does feature a raven and a coffin with a restless occupant trying to escape as well as a grave robber on the back cover sleeve.

This all-new album features 26 “eerie” sound effects and seven “frightening situations” and includes none of the narration or storytelling from the original.  According to Doombuggies.com:

Released in 1979, this album of 26 “eerie” sound effects and seven “frightening situations” is a so-so follow-up to the classic 1964 collection. Possibly inspired by increasingly common horror flicks and the expanding Halloween novelty market, this surprisingly bleak release features a collection of average sound effects, with none of the humor of the earlier recording.

Listen to the full album here:

Side One: Frightening Situations (Seven Spooky Scenes in Sound)

Side Two: Eerie Sound Effects (Create your own Tales of Terror)

In many ways, this album is a superior sound effects record than the original and has some quite frightening sounds .  The chiming of Big Ben from ‘Encounter in the Fog’ which provides a rather disturbing encounter with one can only guess, Jack the Ripper.   The record is beautifully edited and the tracks flow seamlessly into each other: the lonely tolling of the midnight church bell of ‘A Grave Matter,’ the ‘Haunted House’ escape through the trapdoor leads naturally into ‘The Dungeon.’

Tracklist

A1 Night Creatures 3:08
A2 Haunted House 3:22
A3 The Dungeon 1:11
A4 The Withces 0:47
A5 Encounter in the Fog 2:30
A6 A Grave Matter 3:02
A7 The Mad Scientist’s Laboratory 4:00
B1 Thunder & LIghtening 0:33
B2 The Storm 1:00
B3 Various Winds 1:33
B4 Dripping Cavern 0:22
B5 Wolves 0:24
B6 Rats 0:15
B7 Shrieking Cats 0:25
B8 Owls 0:15
B9 Baying Hounds 0:16
B10 Crickets 0:30
B11 Raven 0:15
B12 Monster 0:27
B13 Moans and Groans 0:22
B14 Laughing Ghost 0:13
B15 Witches 0:23
B16 Screams 0:21
B17 Heartbeat 0:22
B18 Dragging Footsteps 0:19
B19 Creaking Doors 0:20
B20 Rusty Gate 0:07
B21 Fog Horn 0:21
B22 Clock Strikes Midnight 0:25
B23 Chains 0:37
B24 Lab Sounds 1:07
B25 Tolling Bell 0:40
B26 Haunted Music 3:00

Read More: Monstrous Sounds:Chilling Thrilling Sounds 

Collector Notes

This record is out of print but readily available at any number of online marketplaces.  Not nearly as collectible as the earlier iteration of the album, it’s still a fun sound effects album and essential for any completist.  It’s also great to mix into a Halloween playlist to spook the trick or treaters who show up at your door.

Prices vary, but a nice copy with normal album wear can be found for $5-$10 .  Some collectors focus more on the condition of the  album sleeve, displaying them as framed art, and are less concerned about the condition of the actual vinyl.  If you’re like me and like to collect higher grade items, then expect to pay around $15-$20 for a VF/NM vinyl/sleeve combo of this 1979 album.

Of course, online shoppers can track down copies in the usual places:

  • Here’s the current selection at Amazon.com
  • Here’s the current selection at eBay.com
  • Discogs.com is a great social marketplace for record collectors and Ive had numerous successful purchases from this site.  I found multiple copies of this LP listed currently; here’s current selection available at Discogs.com

The Cassette version of this record was offered in some  unique packaging configurations that seem to be far more rare than its vinyl counterparts.

  1. Cassette with Album Sleeve

Similar album sleeve as the vinyl, with a smaller title in the upper left quadrant of the sleeve to allow for the cassette inset.

Walt Disney Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House 1979 cassette

2. Cassette Shrink-wrapped to Display Card

Another cool package features the cassette in a blister pack on a display card

Walt Disney Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House 1979 Cassette shrink-wrapped on display card

Currently, there is a nice copy of this Cassette Available on eBay

What are your thoughts about this version of Walt Disney’s iconic Halloween sound effects recording? Do you prefer the original or this version?  Let us hear from you!

Related:

Monstrous Sounds: Famous Monsters Speak

The Sounds of Famous Monsters

Famous Monsters Speak 1963 Record

Brought to you – On record                                                                      for the first time with the help of the                                                  world’s first movie-monster magazine,                                      FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND

So reads the back cover of this spoken word album released by Wonderland Records and Famous Monsters of Filmland in 1963.  After learning that advertisers wouldn’t touch his magazine due to it’s “weird and inappropriate” subject matter, Jim Warren doubled down on his mail order business, Captain Company, to fund his growing publishing business.  Always on the lookout for new products to peddle to us unwitting kids, Warren partnered with Wonderland Records, a children’s record label and subsidiary of Riverside Records, to record and release Famous Monsters Speak in 1963.

The cover art is uncredited but all of the famous monsters on the cover look more than a little bit like James Bama‘s iconic Aurora model kit box covers.  Even the poses are similar.  Intentional?  Hmmm…. True to the Warren overhype tradition, we also get a cover appearance by the Wolf Man, Mummy and Creature though they are nowhere to be found on the record itself.

The LP features 2 spoken-word stories, written by Cherney Berg, a staple of spooky records of the 60s and 70s,  including Scary Spooky Stories, Thrillers and Chillers and later the King Kong (Original Motion PictureClassic).  His adaptations provided the soundtrack for many a Monster Kid childhood.  This album featured only a single voice actor, former Bowery Boy Gabriel Dell.  

Famous Monsters Speak 1963 Front Cover Closeup

The album’s little-seen back cover featured stills from the original Universal Studios Frankenstein and Dracula movies with humorous and satirical captions, as if lifted straight from the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine:

Famous Monsters Speak Back Cover:

Famous Monsters Speak 1963 Record Back Cover

Tracklist

A Frankenstein’s Monster Talks
B Dracula’s Return

Listen to the full album here:

Collector Notes:

While this record is relatively easy to find, it can be fairly complex to determine which release is which due to the number of pressings through the years.  Here is a detailed list of what to look for when buying a copy:

First Release

Shortly after Warren signed a deal to produce this record with Wonderland, the label’s founder, Bill Grauer, died.  So in late 1963, Wonderland was acquired by A.A. Records. For that reason, The initial press of the vinyl makes no mention of Wonderland:

Famous Monsters Speak AA Pressing

Famous Monsters Speak Side 2 Vinyl AA Pressing

Also in 1963, London Records released the album in Canada and reads “Made in Canada” on  vinyl.  The Catalog # on this release is GAR-3

Re-Releases:

Wonderland Records credited on front cover, without mention of Golden Records.

Famous Monsters Speak Golden Records Vinyl

Label credits to Wonderland Records and Golden Records on the front and back cover, but only A.A. Records on the labels and a mention in the lower right corner of the back cover.

1970 Canadian Re-release:

An A.A. Records Recording
Produced in Canada by Arc Sound Limited, Catalog # 836

1973 Re-release

Wonderland re-released the album in 1973. While the Catalog # remained the same: AR-3, there are some unique identifiers specifically the back cover sleeve which replaced the classic monsters movie stills and goofy quotes with a catalog of other kids record titles offered by Wonderland at the time:

Famous Monsters Speak Back Cover Sleeve Wonderland Records Version

In addition,  this release includes the following etched wording on the vinyl:

  • Matrix / Runout (A-side runout etching): AR-3-A-RC1
  • Matrix / Runout (B-side runout etching): AR-3-B-RC-1

Collectibility

In general, a high-grade copy of this record runs around $50, with less pristine copies anywhere between $15-$40.

In addition to the condition of the album sleeve and the vinyl itself, there are some ‘rare’ aspects of the first release that truly set the record apart from the rest of the pack and increase its value.

Printed Cellophane with Price:

Famous Monsters Speak Record Cover

The first press album sleeve originally had a nice cellophane overwrap with printing on it.  First releases were priced at $.98 sold  and soon increased to $1.98.  You very rarely see the “printed” cellophane on them and it can really enhance the value of the copy when you do find one.

The picture above is of  my personal collection copy of this record; notice the original cellophane with the $1.98 price printed on it.

Famous Monsters Magazine Offer:

Famous Monsters Speak Magazine Promo

Look again at the picture of the record from my collection and you’ll see Dracula’s legs are covered by a promotional offer for a copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland.   This is another real differentiator from most copies of this record you’ll find.  This paper order form its typically found taped onto the album cover, as mine is, and greatly enhances collectibility.

Monster Kid Memories

Of course, no article on Warren’s merchandising business is complete without the Captain Company ads that ran in the pages of Warren’s magazines:

Famous Monsters Speak Print Ad

The record label also promoted the record and ran the full-page ad below in comic books and other kid-oriented magazine titles to promote the records availability in record stores.  Note from the ad copy below, the record was first released on April Fools Day, 1963:

Famous Monsters Speak Full Page Ad Captain Company

I never owned this record as a child, but I clearly recall these ads working their spell on me.  These ads were fairly unique in the pantheon of Captain Company; they marketed a quality product with minimal hyperbole.  It seems that the more gimmicky the product, the greater the need to overstate its qualities.

Where to Find Famous Monsters Speak:

Here’s a link to current eBay listings

Multiple copies in a range of prices and both white and orange sleeves are available on Amazon.

Discogs.com is a great social marketplace for record collectors and Ive had numerous successful purchases from this site.  I found multiple copies of this LP listed currently; click here to visit Discogs.

Listening Options

Of course if you simply want to listen to this fun LP again, there are numerous options, including the YouTube video I embedded above in this article.

Purchase a MP3 copy of  the entire album for $1.98  or on CD for $13.98  on Amazon

Its also available for purchase on iTunes and its even on Spotify

What are you memories of this LP?  Did you have it? Do you still?  Let us hear from you!

Monstrous Sounds: Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House

The Soundtrack of Monster Kid Childhood

In the early 1960s, Walt Disney Productions had developed an extensive collection of eerie sound effects for various productions.   Disneyland Records put that catalog  together for an album titled “Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House,” possibly in anticipation of the new “Haunted House” attraction that was soon to open in Disneyland, soon renamed The Haunted Mansion. The result is an iconic album that would be released again and again over the coming decades and would become the soundtrack of Monster Kid childhoods everywhere.

If you or a childhood friend owned this record,  the opening track is probably indelibly etched upon your brain:

 “You are a bold and courageous person, afraid of nothing. High on a hilltop near your home, there stands a dilapidated old mansion. Some say the place is haunted, but you don’t believe in such myths. One night, a light appears in the topmost window in a tower of the old house. You decide to investigate. And you never return…”

Side One of the album had a collection of ten creepy stories narrated by Laura Olsher (uncredited).   The stories made use of many sound effects, and transported listeners into a realm of supernatural, spooky adventures.  Most of the tracks are fairly tame by today’s standards, though the cringe worthy “Chinese Water Torture” is definitely of a different era. Track 1 “The Haunted House” is classic audio heard in Halloween spook houses around the world.

Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Album Side One

Side Two had a collection of sound effects.   The moans, groans, cats, dogs, creaks, thunder and crashes could be heard in almost every Halloween party and home brewed haunted house display.

Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Album Side Two

The “Screams and Groans” track was taken from the popular 1936 Disney cartoon “Lonesome Ghosts“, starring Mickey, Donald and Goofy which was an influence on Ken Anderson and his early designs for the Disneyland “Ghost House.” Certainly, Anderson used some of these sounds for his Haunted House pitches and demonstrations.

Listen to the full album here:

Tracklist

The Haunted House
The Very Long Fuse
The Dogs
Timber
Your Pet Cat
Shipwreck
The Unsafe Bridge
Chinese Water Torture
The Birds
The Martian Monsters
Screams And Groans
Thunder, Lightning And Rain
Cat Fight
Dogs
A Collection Of Creaks
Fuses And Explosions
A Collection Of Crashes
Birds
Drips And Splashes
Things In Space

Album Sleeve Variations

The album was first released in 1964 with a white sleeve featuring concept art for the proposed Disneyland Haunted House attraction painted by  artist Paul Wenzel. The album was released several more times during the 70’s.  Despite some minor variations, there are four main versions of this album:

1. White cover DQ-1257 with black and white illustrated back:

Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Disney Album Front Cover White 1964

DQ-1257; 1964

Disneyland Records Chilling Thrilling Sounds of Haunted House Black & What Back Sleeve

2. White cover numbered DQ-1257 with a color back:

Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Disney 1964 Back Cover White

3. Orange cover numbered DQ-1257:

With the continued success of this LP and the Haunted Mansion ride,  Disney decided to capitalize on the burgeoning Halloween market by changing the cover to pumpkin orange:

Disneyland Records Chilling Thrilling Sounds of Haunted House Orange Cover

4. Orange cover numbered 1257 with a “Spooky Party Hints” notice printed as part of the album artwork.

Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Disney 1973 Orange Front Cover

The Spooky Party Hints sleeve is dated 1973

Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Disney Orange 1973 Back Cover

Later releases of the orange sleeve included  “spooky party hints” that were printed on the paper dust sleeves that held the vinyl record:

Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Record Sleeve Side Two Party Hints  Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Record Sleeve Side One Party Hints

The British release from 1974  uses a photo of the Haunted Mansion itself on the cover:

Front:Disney Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House UK version

Back:

Chilling Thrilling Sounds Haunted House UK Back Cover

While the sleeves evolved over time, the recordings are the same. Each cover proclaims “Here lies a most terrific collection of recorded sounds,” and the back covers offer this disclaimer: “This particular Disneyland record, CHILLING, THRILLING SOUNDS OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE, is not intended for young, impressionable children from three to eight. It is intended for older children, teenagers and adults.”

[From Liner]
The Sound Effects Department of the Walt Disney Studio has been collecting all kinds of noises since 1927. The first sound film which Walt Disney made and the first sound cartoon made by anyone was Steamboat Willy starring a little mouse named Mickey. This picture, like every other one Walt Disney has made, whether short subject or feature, animated cartoon or live action, contained many sound effects.

Drawing upon this enormous library of sound, Disneyland records has produced this LP.

Side 1 contains ten stories in sound in which the narrator sets up the situation and the sound effects take over and tell the story.

Side 2 is a collection of sound effects grouped by category. These may be used to create your own stories in sound.

We know you will enjoy the adventures in sound as they are recorded on this LP, but you may have even greater enjoyment in creating sound stories of your own using the effects on this LP plus others you may do yourselves.

The Disneyland catalog of children’s records is one of the finest in the world. The primary audience for children’s records is the age group from three to eight years. Most of the records in the Disneyland catalog are made specifically for that group although there are some whose appeal reaches into the early teens. This particular Disneyland record, Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House is not intended for young, impressionable children from three to eight. It is intended for older children, teenagers and adults.

Such hyperbole was familiar ground for any readers of Famous Monsters of Filmland (or comic books for that matter), but Disneyland Records honestly had concerns about the potential impact of a “horror” album on their good name. The runaway success and mulitple repressings of this record likely alleviated that fear, however

NOTE:  In 1979, Disneyland Records release a new sound track LP  of the same name. Though identical in title, its content is almost entirely unique.  I’ll cover this album in a separate article soon:

Walt Disney Studios Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House 1979

DQ-2507; 1979

Monster Kid Memories

I had the this album in the original white variant (can’t recover which back sleeve) and I played it year-round.  I even recorded the record with my cassette player so that we could play it on our front porch on Halloween and, as originally intended by Disneyland Records, I even used this as background effects in my occasional monster-themed garage production.  

I own a lovely copy of the orange sleeve LP now (without party hints) and I still imagine that I am “a bold and courageous person, afraid of nothing”, approaching that ominous, dark house on a hill!

Collector Notes

This LP has been released multiple times through the years and is relatively easy to find.  Prices vary, but a nice copy with normal album wear can be found for $5-$10 .  Some collectors focus more on the condition of the  album sleeve, displaying them as framed art, and are less concerned about the condition of the actual vinyl.  If you’re like me and like to collect higher grade items, then expect to pay around $30-$50 to for a VF/NM vinyl/sleeve combo.

Because of the popularity of the record in the 60s and 70s, it’s relatively common to find the orange sleeve LP at garage sales, flea markets and used record shops.  White sleeve copies in high grade are slightly less common simply because they are a decade older.

Of course, online shoppers can track down copies in the usual places:

Here’s a link to current eBay listings

Multiple copies in a range of prices and both white and orange sleeves are available on Amazon.

Discogs.com is a great social marketplace for record collectors and Ive had numerous successful purchases from this site.  I found multiple copies of this LP listed currently; click here to visit Discogs.

Listening Options

Of course if you simply want to listen to this fun LP again, there are numerous options, including the YouTube video I embedded earlier in this post.

Purchase a digital copy of  the entire album for .99  on Amazon

Its also available for purchase on iTunes

And its even on Spotify

What are you memories of this LP?  Did you have it? Do you still?  Let us hear from you!