Peter Pan Record’s Ghostly Sounds: The Soundtrack of My Childhood
“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….”
“…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.
|B||The Ghosts From Outer Space||11:54|
Listen to the full album here:
- Artwork – George Peed
- Narrator – Peter Waldron
- Producer – Gershon Kingsley
Released in 1975 by Peter Pan Records, the record only received one pressing.
Catalog # 8125
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.
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: