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.
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.
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:
|The Haunted House|
|The Very Long Fuse|
|Your Pet Cat|
|The Unsafe Bridge|
|Chinese Water Torture|
|The Martian Monsters|
|Screams And Groans|
|Thunder, Lightning And Rain|
|A Collection Of Creaks|
|Fuses And Explosions|
|A Collection Of Crashes|
|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:
2. White cover numbered DQ-1257 with a color back:
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:
4. Orange cover numbered 1257 with a “Spooky Party Hints” notice printed as part of the album artwork.
The Spooky Party Hints sleeve is dated 1973
Later releases of the orange sleeve included “spooky party hints” that were printed on the paper dust sleeves that held the vinyl record:
The British release from 1974 uses a photo of the Haunted Mansion itself on the 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.”
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:
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!
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.
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!