Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sounds To Make You Shiver LP

The skeletal spotlight this time shines on:
The back cover artwork for the 1974 spooky effects LP "Sounds To Make You Shiver!"

Click on the images for higher-rez versions

"And--you shall NEVER return!!" From where, it was not made clear.

When I was a kid, a monster kid that is, there wasn't much you could have access to when it came to enjoying a scary atmosphere whenever you wanted. Before videotape, one was limited to when the movies were playing on TV, and they weren't repeatable, until they re-ran it that is. But, there was one awesome item that every monster kid remembers and cherishes... the spooky sound effects LPs.

With the lights out, with maybe a candle flickering (or a flashlight low on battery power), these long-playing records terrified us and brought the horror home. Our overactive imaginations were ignited by the situations heard on them, and often the scares remained to haunt us even after the record was turned off. And the covers to the LP were often what we set up and stared at the whole time the record played, burning their images into our impressionable minds forever.

Now, this takes me back.

This particular record's cover artwork was not that memorable, when compared to some of the others out around the same time. Nothing compared to the Disney's "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House" artwork (seen further below). But this LP art had one thing going for it... the life-size skull on the back. That thing was bigger than my head at the time, and twice as ugly.

In the flicker of the candle or flashlight, this yellow skull, surrounded by flames, grinned at me as the sounds filled the air of my room. Those hollow eyes seemed to bore into mine hypnotically, drawing me into the reality of the horrific situation unfolding. It was my own personal "crypt-keeper," hosting the journey through the Haunted House at midnight. And it didn't go away when I closed my eyes... but remained as a glowing after-image floating inside my eyelids. Good times, and good memories.

Just because we're on the subject, and because I'm very fond of these records, here are a few other favorites I owned (and still do, framed on my wall) that you will enjoy seeing.

I can relate to the kid in the picture... he just finished listening to the record inside. This gem was issued in 1973. Made up of individual stories, mostly traditional, told with music and effects.

The classic story of the Haunted Mansion. It's a kick listening to a pre-"Happy Days" Ron Howard acting on it. The artwork inside on the book pages is freakin' awesome. Released on 1969.

Even a Jehovah's Witness would hesitate to knock on this door.

This LP came out in 1977 and had great artwork. On Side A was a story that, for a change, wasn't narrated, but heard "as it happens." We hear a young man's visit to an old mansion he has inherited. On the drive there he talks to himself, recalling the history of the old house and the ghost stories passed down through the generations. Once there, all manner of frightening things happen, and he flees in terror. The legendary Peter Cullen supplies the voice of a character on this one to great effect.

Awesome artwork! Those are some wicked looking witches.

The back of the above LP. Side B was composed of all the effects used on Side A, isolated for your own listening enjoyment and use. I used them to record my own Halloween adventure with some friends, onto cassette. This foreshadowed my involvement in radio, as today I'm doing the same things with fancier toys.

Here's the classic all-time great by Disney. This pre-dated the Haunted Mansion itself, and some of the effects on the record were used it in when it opened. For an in-depth look at this most wonderful of spooky LPs, go to this great blog devoted to it. They love it as much as I do!

This one was distiguished by the excellent audio situations. Very well done.

Here's how I have some of my favorite LPs displayed in record frames, around a Haunted Mansion poster. The plaque at the the top was bought at the HM souvenir stand at Disney World in 1993.

A closer view of the HM plaque.

Not really HM-specific, but anything I could take home as a souvenir was good.


Karswell said...

I still have most of these records too. Do they even make recordings like this for kids anymore, and if they don't then why not?!

Here's another cool skeleton story for you too I posted back in February in case you missed it the first time:


Fred said...


They do make Halloween CDs for kids, in fact they are so common it's hard to keep up with them. I know, I've tried, and just had to stop. But you know how it is, ain't nothin today as good as it was back in the good ol' days. :)
I suppose once you're grown it's harder to be impressed with things like that.

Thanks for the link to the story, it's a goodie!

Dave Lowe said...

Hi Fred
Thanks for the comments over on my blog. This is a very cool collection! All your sites have ton's of great stuff that brings back memories or I've never seen before.

It funny, I have the same Haunted Mansion poster framed and hanging in my dining room (took awhile to convince Fiancee it was art, LOL). Except mine is from Disneyland so it says New Orleans Square instead of Liberty Square.

You've inspired me. I think I might showcase my HM stuff in my collection in a future post. If it's OK, I'm going to link both your great sites in my "bog of links" on my webcomic, Para abnormal (paraabnormalthecomic.com).

Gregory Hate said...

this is awesome!!