Monday, October 09, 2006

31 Days of Halloween - Day 9

Every year I put together a Halloween compilation CD which I mail out to like-minded friends. I also put together a separate CD for the kids of those who have them. As I get ready to mail this year's CDs out, I started thinking about the albums of the past. Spooky songs, sounds and stories in audio format, are, for me, an essential part of the holiday, and one of the things I remember enjoying most about the season when I was a kid, which may be why I've accumulated roughly four days worth of Halloween related tracks and feel compelled to share the wealth every year).

Two of my favorites when I was a kid are these shown here. I couldn't tell you much about "Scary Spooky Stories" or who painted that amazing cover, since I no longer possess that album in its original vinyl glory, but listening to it again not too long ago, I felt it held up much better than many other albums of the period. I used to stare at that cover for hours. It summed up the season perfectly, the mood of listening to ghost stories, as well as all childhood feelings of dread. Perfect. One of these days I'll have to replace my vinyl copy, if for no other reason than to get that cover framed and up on my wall.

The other album is no doubt familiar to many of you. Released by Walt Disney, the cover was painted by longtime Disney artist, Paul Wenzel. The woman narrating side one of the record had the perfect eerie voice, and I still can only imagine her as a disembodied head. Those who know it will immediately recognize the narration from the first track "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 dark and stormy night a light appears in the topmost window in the tower of the old house. You decide to investigate, and you never return." which is followed by some of the best frightening sound effects ever recorded. Again, I spent many many hours listening to this album. I still have the one I had as a kid, and have picked up several other copies over the years, but none with the sheet of "Spooky Party Hints" still part of the package. If anyone has a set of these that they can scan or copy for me, or even better, originals they wouldn't mind parting with, I'd greatly appreciate it, and reward the effort appropriately.

For more great spooky album covers check out the impressive collection here.

To hear "Spooky Scary Stories" look no further than Scar Stuff, an excellent source for all sorts of rare spooky vinyl to download.

To listen to "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House" enter here, if you dare.

For a history of "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House" visit the excellent, where you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about Disney's Haunted Mansion attraction.


Stephen said...

Hi, John,

Just wondering what tracks you have on the CD this year for the kiddies. I made one for my sons but I'm curious to see what's on yours.

Rozum said...

Welcome, Stephen. It's too much to list here, but if you email me at the contact link on the right side of the blog, I'll be happy to email you a list.

Essentially it's a mix of songs, stories and sound effects.

The content of each CD has grown with the age group of the kids I've made them for. Fortunately most of the people I know with kids have children in a pretty close age range, so I've progressed over the years from not so scary Sesame Street tracks, Wee Sing, and similar material, up to stories now that do have a bit of a bite to them.

The time has come where the kids are now old enough that the songs that I'd put on their CD aren't much different from what I'd put on a grown-up CD, so next year there will probably only be stories and sound effects culled from dozens of out of print vinyl albums from the 60s and 70s.

As a bonus, I have enough of a back catalog now, that I have ready made CDs to pass on to neices and nephews just being born now, when they get old enough.

I'm curious what you put on your CD as well.

Stephen said...

Hi, John,

I sent you an e-mail yesterday. If you didn't get it, let me know.

Rozum said...

I did get it, but had a busy schedule last night and today. I'll try and get to it tonight, or tomorrow morning.

Kirk D. said...

If only you had gotten those party hints, you would have thrown the best halloween parties in your school!

I can't wait for my son to get old enough to enjoy these records with me.

HeyJoe said...

My neighbor Derik had the Disney album and we used to listen to it constantly. Great memories. Thanks John.