Saturday, September 29, 2012

Blog log notes from Doug Gibson and Steve Stones

By Doug Gibson

One particularly fine possession I have is a 1960s-era long-playing vinyl of Disneyland's "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House." Frankly, I'm not sure my record would work; it has scratches. Hence, I own an MP3 of the album. But I miss the scratchy hoary ambiance of "Chilling, Thrilling that I used to hear, until I discovered exactly that on YouTube.

As the Halloween season starts, enjoy that classic Disney Halloween tape, as it was meant to be enjoyed (above).

Thanks to TCM, watched hours and hours of classic early comedy shorts. Besides enjoying the best of well-known comics such as Laurel & Hardy and W.C. Fields, happily revisited the works of Harry Lngdon, Ben Turvin, Andy Clyde, Billy Bevan ...

Thanks to Steve, I have an old Goodtimes VHS copy of Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff. I may review it soon. It's an amusing multi-murder mystery that is mostly Lou's show, as a bumbling bellhop. Karloff plays a red-herring swami in the flick. His performance is uninspired, as if he couldn't be bothered to go all out on a comedy. As usual, it never occurred to the idiot suits running Universal in 1949 to cast Lugosi in the title role. Bela had just re-energized Abbott and Costello's career with his great turn as Dracula in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. But the studio ignores Bela and hands a fat acting fee to Karloff, who couldn't be bothered to reprise his role in "... Frankenstein.'' Meanwhile, Lugosi's forced to scratch a living in summer stock and spook shows.

Sixty-plus years later, the only delayed consolation for Bela is that "... Meet the Killer" remains obscure. ad Lugosi been in it, his usual great performance would have made it a more popular option today.

We reviewed W.C. Field's great short, The Dentist, earlier this week. To end this post, here's a fragment section, courtesy of YouTube, of Fields in "A Mormon's Prayer," a silent from 1928.

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