Sunday, October 29, 2017

"Lonely, Lonely" Spooky Stories (1978, Pickwick Records cereal box record)

UPDATED 11/6/2017: See bottom of post

For a few days in the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade, I ran a detective agency with my friend who lived three houses down, Tiffany. We worked out of her backyard playhouse, and our biggest case (in fact, our only case) was The Mystery of the Hidden Treasure at the Empty House That Was For Sale Two Blocks Over.


The big twist in the "hidden treasure" case was that there was no treasure. More accurately, we left the case unsolved after a neighbor threatened to call the police if we kept letting ourselves into the backyard (a later attempt to return to the scene disguised as prospective buyers fooled no one.)

(image source)

So our little detective agency was forced to close its doors, ruining summer for about 5 minutes.

But Tiffany had more going for her than just a backyard playhouse... like an appreciation for ghost stories and spooky Halloween records. Sounds to Make You Shiver and The Story and Song From The Haunted Mansion were prized albums from my collection that were constantly playing in the background at my house. But one day Tiffany showed up with a record that I could never find a copy of myself, and so naturally coveted: Spooky Stories (1978, Pickwick Records), a "cereal box" record, meaning it was pressed to a very thin layer of plastic attached to a piece of cardboard (in this case, to the back of a box of Post Honeycomb or Alpha-Bits cereal).

As was the tradition with these types of records, there were multiple stories available, and it was luck of the draw which one you ended up with. Tiffany's copy contained a story I call "Lonely, Lonely" (I don't remember the actual title being credited anywhere on the record), a variation on the "Dark, Dark" type spooky story where the listener is lulled into a comforting rhythm by slowly repeated phrases, only to be startled at the end by a suddenly loud climax.

Transcript of the story below the video embed.



Lonely, Lonely
Along this lonely, lonely road,
Was this lonely, lonely hill.
Along this lonely, lonely hill
Stood this lonely, lonely house.
And inside that lonely, lonely house,
Was this creaking, squeaking stair.
At the top of the creaking, squeaking stair,
Was this long, long hallway.
And down that long, long hallway,
Was this flapping, clapping trapdoor.
And above that flapping, clapping trapdoor
Was this crying, sighing attic.
And in that crying, sighing attic
Was this shadowy, shadowy corner.
And in that shadowy, shadow corner
Was this big, old chest.
And inside that big, old chest...
...WAS A THING!!!

UPDATE: The background music used here appears to be "borrowed" from Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" (queued to around the 15:50 mark in the embedded video below). It also sounds awfully similar to the 1977 Star Wars soundtrack by John Williams, cut no. 4, "The Desert and Robot Auction" (retitled "The Dune Sea of Tatooine/Jawa Sandcrawler" on later editions of the soundtrack). Take a listen--what do you think? Credit to reader TheLibrarySound for recognizing the Star Wars track similarity!



5 comments:

phairhead said...

WOW! That was glorious :D Who was doing the narration?

TheLibrarySound said...

I believe the opening music cue is a pretty snazzy bit of looped tape manipulation/ramp-down of Williams' "The Desert" from the Star Wars soundtrack, which would have still been on shelves in 1978. The outro cue sounds like standard library stuff to me, but could have been another legit soundtrack pilfer, who knows?

Anyway, fun stuff. I vaguely remember a flimsy plastic record once being included with my cousin's Happy Meal.

Brother Bill said...

TheLibrarySound: I thought that music cue sounded familiar and now that you mention it I'm convinced that's exactly what it is. I can almost hear 3PO saying "He tricked me into going this way. But he'll do no better."

Brother Bill said...

TheLibrarySound: On THIRD thought, I think it may actually be a clip from Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" (in which case, my vague recognition of the music would have come from Walt Disney's "Fantasia".) I've updated the post with clips from both films for comparison.

TheLibrarySound said...

Bill, your third thought bumps my first thought -- you're absolutely right! Nice ID job, and it's also gratifying to hear what may or may not have been (but probably was) a conscious/unconscious bit of paraphrasing by JW for Star Wars. With apologies to Stravinsky, I'll still take "The Desert" any day, but that's '70s kid bias talking.