This week, to celebrate the life of Filmation founder Lou Scheimer – as well as the coming Halloween holiday – we present two classic vinyl albums from record bins of yore: the Groovie Goolies pop album and the Fat Albert Halloween Special soundtrack LP.
Songs from the Original TV Soundtrack
RCA Victor Records LSP-4420 (1970) Stereo
Songs by Sherry Gaden, Linda Martin. Album Executive Producer: Norm Prescott. Produced by Richard Delvy for Ricky Sheldon Productions. Associate Producers: Ed Fournier, Dick Monda. Arrangers: Richard Delvy, Ed Fournier, Dick Monda. Engineers: Richard Delvy, Don Sciarrotta. Recorded at Quantum Recording Studios, Torrance, California. TV Series Producers: Norm Prescott, Lou Scheimer, Hal Sutherland. Record Running Time: 28 minutes.
Vocals: Dick Monda, Bob Markland, Dave Mani, Ed Fournier, Chris Sciarrotta.
Songs: “Save Your Good Lovin’ For Me,” “Bumble Goolie,” “We Go So Good Together,” “Frankie,” “Goolie Get-Together (Theme),” “First Annual Semi-Formal Combination Celebration Meet-the-Monster Population Party,” “Spend Some Time Together,” “Cling, Clang,” “Goolie Garden,” “One, Two, Three.”
Even though they shared a show with Archie Comics’ Sabrina The Teenage Witch, the Groovie Goolies were Filmation creations. It was unusual for Filmation at the time, since most of their shows were adapted from other properties. The Goolies enjoyed a nice long run, on and off, through the ‘70s, later headlining a syndicated umbrella series presenting several Filmation reruns.
Hoping to strike bubblegum pop gold again, in The Archies vein, the Groovie Goolies were also a pop group with songs in each TV episode and this very entertaining RCA Victor album. RCA had also released two albums of Filmation Hardy Boys songs. Both the Hardys and the Goolies had live counterparts that could perform live in concert, which The Archies could not (Hanna-Barbera had planned for Josie and the Pussycats to also perform live).
The live Goolie counterparts are prominently featured on the cover. I would imagine these are the same characters that made a brief live-action appearance in the 1972 ABC Saturday Superstar Movie, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies. This film is still fodder for lively discourse among animation buffs for the sequence in which the animated Goolies enter a mirror and become live-action—but more notably for its infamously limited rendering of Warner Brothers characters.
But let’s get back to the positives. This is one of the finest of the ‘60s/’70s cartoon-pop albums with outstanding range and skillful stereophonic separation. Clearly engineers Richard Delvy, Ed Fournier, Dick Monda were close to the material and wanted a high quality recording.
Monda, by the way, also recorded the oddball novelty hit “Chick-A-Boom” under the name “Daddy Dewdrop.” Written by Janis Lee Guinn and Linda Martin, “Chick-A-Boom” was written for the Groovie Goolies show, yet it is a surprisingly risqué tune. It does not appear on this RCA Goolies LP, but did show up years later on Ted Knight’s Hi, Guys novelty album, produced by Filmation for Ranwood Records— a label co-founded by Lawrence Welk (“Thank-ya-boyz-im”).
Linda Martin co-wrote all the songs on this album with Sherry Gaden, who had some experience with goofy ghoul material already, having written the theme to 1968’s The Green Slime. There are three categories: Goolie-specific songs (like “Goolie Garden”), puppy love bubblegum (including the beautifully vocalized “We Go So Good Together”) and one generic novelty number (“Cling, Clang,” which is similar to Phil Harris’ “The Thing”).
I would have liked this album to have twelve songs instead of ten (like The Archies and The Hardy Boys LPs), but perhaps it was decided to hold songs like “Frightening Frankie, Dangerous Drac and Weirdo Wolfie” and “Kings and Queens” for a second album that might have been released had the band caught on. But the lightning only struck twice (and even more than that) only on Horrible Hall.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Goolie Get-Together (Theme)”
I can’t explain why, but I thought it was neat when, as each Groovie Goolies show faded up, the picture was still for a few seconds before “Everybody shout!” began and Drac’s feet started playing on the bottom keyboard. But this is the full-length, stereo version of the theme, recorded for the album. You’ll immediately notice how markedly different it is from the soundtrack — and much longer.
HALLOWEEN STARRING FAT ALBERT AND THE COSBY KIDS
Original TV Soundtrack
From The Fat Albert Halloween Special (1977, CBS)
Special Kid Stuff Records KS-029 (1980) Mono
TV Special Director: Hal Sutherland. Producers: Norm Prescott, Lou Scheimer. Music: Yvette Blais (Ray Ellis), Jeff Michael (Norm Prescott), Lou Scheimer. Record Running Time: 22 minutes.
Voices: Bill Cosby (Fat Albert, Bill, Searchlight Johnson, Mudfoot Brown); Jan Crawford (Russell, Melba, Bucky); Eric Suter (Rudy); Gerald Edwards (Weird Harold, Devery); Jay Scheimer (Mrs. Bakewell); Lou Scheimer (Dumb Donald, Clerk, Sci-Fi Movie Actor).
I’ve already written extensively on the Fat Albert TV series, to which this prime time special was connected by CBS. Like the series, this special presents a “guest protagonist” named Devery, who encourages the gang to play pranks on Halloween, especially to old people. In this instance, it is reclusive Mrs. Bakewell who is feared by the gang until they learn that she is actually very kind.
Unlike the series format, a live-action Bill Cosby does not appear to comment on the action and explain the message, but the animated narrative alone conveys it just fine—that old people aren’t to be labeled as scary or weird (though of course, if this were made in today’s more hazardous and apprehensive times, there would likely be a caveat advising children to approach unknown people with a trusted grownup in tow). The same theme of not judging a book by its cover was also covered on Filmation’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
This album is one of three Fat Albert LPs released by Kid Stuff Records, a now-defunct children’s record company—based in a Washington Federal Bank building in Hollywood, Florida—that rarely used soundtracks and original casts. This is the only Fat Albert album with the original background music, though the theme tune is abruptly edited from the beginning and end, probably because of music rights.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Fat Albert Theme”
This is the original soundtrack as it was released on Paramount Records, sung by Michael Gray. It’s cool because it’s in full stereo and there is no dialogue or sound effects. This is the way the Filmation sound editors (or maybe those Horta-Mahana folks) were able to hear it.