Tag Archives: Lonesome Ghosts

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!