October 31, 2023 posted by Greg Ehrbar

Halloween with Cartoon Voice All-Stars

Monsters were all the rage in the late fifties and early sixties, from Forrest Ackerman’s Famous Monsters magazines and Aurora model kits to constantly rerun movies on TV and a burgeoning youth market. Things that go “bump” in the night were parodied and spoofed as early as vaudeville and silent films, but by the mid-20th century, kids got as many laughs as they did scares from the classic creatures of the features.
Novelty songs also enjoyed a renaissance, especially ones that made fun of what made them shudder. The albums featured here are but a sampling of the vast amount of LPs and singles released, but are of special note because of the artists on the vinyl (and the covers).

 Hans Conried and Alice Pearce 
RCA Victor Records LSP-1823 (stereo) LPM-1923 (mono) 12” 33 1/3 RPM LP

Hans Conried, who ought to be a Disney Legend for his ongoing vocal identity as Captain Hook (as well as the Magic Mirror in the first Disney television show), is of course also the voice of Snidely Whiplash, the host of Fractured Flickers (for Jay Ward), Uncle Tonoose on The Danny Thomas Show and lots more. Conried’s solos for this album range from twisted love songs to peppy pop romps. His songs are “Flying Saucer,” “Not of This Earth,” “What Do You Hear from the Red Planet Mars?” and one of the most successful novelty songs of all, “Purple People Eater.”

While her untimely passing did not allow for voice work, Alice Pearce’s vivid persona was very much a living cartoon. Best known as the Emmy-winning first Mrs. Kravitz on Bewitched, Pearce gets to belt out her version of Phil Harris’ hit “The Thing,” plus “Close the Door,”,” “(I’m in Love with) The Creature from the Black Lagoon,” and “The Invisible Man.” (“Close the Door” was co-written by Fred Ebb, who would partner with John Kander for numerous hit songs and scores, including Cabaret.)

The musical director is listed as “Frank N. Stein” but was likely to be arranger/conductor Joel Herron, as he is credited as co-writer on seven songs. Filling out the album are songs by a studio chorus dubbed “The Creatures” singing the title tune, “The Dracula Trot,” “Mostly Ghostly,” and “Take Us to Your Leader.”

The unmistakable artwork of Jack Davis graces the cover, with Count Dracula conducting a bevy of bizarre beings.

 A Spooktacular in Screaming Sound!

Warner Bros Records WS-1332 (stereo) W-1332 (“Spike Jones in Hi-Fi”) 12” 33 1/3 RPM LP

Animation connections abound on this 1959 album, as well as the influence of Stan Freberg’s comedy records. Paul Frees has a field day, doing his sterling impressions of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Alfred Hitchcock, and even Edward R. Murrow. Numerous cartoons employed one or more of these Frees voices, as well as Hanna-Barbera’s 1965 debut album, Monster Shindig. One of the selections is a stereo version of Spike Jones’ hit spoof of “My Old Flame” with Frees as Peter Lorre. The real Lorre was almost indistinguishable from Frees when both were heard in an episode of Spike Jones’ radio show.

Paul Frees, Spike Jones, Peter Lorre

Loulie Jean Norman’s claim to immortality is arguably her “ahhh-ahhhhh” soprano performance on the original Star Trek theme. She also sang in too many ensembles, recordings, films, and shows to calculate. One film is Walt Disney’s Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom, in which Norman spoke and sang as Penelope Pinfeathers. She was also in almost every vocal group behind Hanna-Barbera cartoons with screen credits on Charlotte’s Web and Heidi’s Song.

This album casts Norman as Vampira, a cousin of sorts to Morticia Addams and Lily Munster, whose horribly happy home is heard in a parody of “Tammy” called “Clammy,” also featuring Jones regular George Rock (“All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”) as the baby “whatever he is.” Stan Freberg also spoofed “Tammy” as “Clammy” for a sketch in which a werewolf changes into an advertising executive!

Also popping in for a solo is Thurl Ravenscroft with “I Was a Teenage Brain Surgeon.” The wacky Spike Jones band sound is heard at the very end of the disc, complete with cowbells and Klaxon horn sound effects (Jones’ band also gave us animation greats like Joe Siracusa, who became an editor at several studios including Format Films and DePatie-Freleng). The cover art is by Jim Jonson (best known for his sports paintings); the music is arranged by Carl Brandt (The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo); and the producer is Alvino Rey of TV’s The King Family.


RCA Victor Records LSP-2977 (stereo) LPM-2977 12” 33 1/3 RPM LP

Jack Davis is back with spectacular cover art for this collection of groovy novelty tunes, anticipating sounds that the Groovie Goolies would bring to TV six years later. Monsters began to rock by 1964, thanks to Elvis, the surf sound, and especially The Beatles—thus this album opens with “I Want to Bite Your Hand.” Another pop song parody is “Drac the Knife,” with others from the public domain like “Ghoul Days,” “(Oh My Darling) Frankenstein,” “The New Frankenstein and Johnny Song,” “Carry Me Back to Transylvania,” “Monster Goose Rhymes,” and “Little Black Bag” (based on “Little Brown Jug). Original songs are “King Kong Stomp,” “Monster Hootenanny,” “Surf Monster,” and “Monster Bossa Nova.”

With arrangements by rockabilly musician Billy Riley, the team of Gene Moss and Fred Rice created the concept and songs. Actor/singer Moss (who sings for Dracula) may be best known as a writer on the classic animated series, Roger Ramjet and The American Eagles and Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp.

“Howliday Inn”

Adapted from the book James Howe, whose Bunnicula the Vampire Rabbit was first animated by Ruby-Spears in 1982 (written by our pal Mark Evanier), Howliday Inn offers a pet’s-eye-view of mystery at a creepy boarding facility. In addition to legendary character actor Lou Jacobi (John and Faith Hubley’s Everybody Rides the Carousel) and Larry Robinson (Red Princess Blues Animated) as the lead dog and cat, several voices are done by Peter Fernandez, Corinne Orr (both of Speed Racer) and Bob Kaliban (Drawing Power).


  • Wow! This is a treasure trove of great recordings. Thank you for this. I only wish I knew this existed when these records came out!

  • Hans Conried singing “Purple People Eater”? Now I’ve heard everything.

    Dracula’s hit song reminds me that the Standells performed “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in a memorable episode of The Munsters, probably the first time a Beatles song had been covered in an American sitcom.

    When it comes to Halloween-themed novelty songs of the late 1950s, for my money you can’t beat “Flip Top Box” by Dickey Doo and the Don’ts. (The title alludes to a then-current commercial for Marlboro cigarettes, but in this context it refers to a coffin.) The cartoon voice connection? Well, “Flip Top Box” was the B-side of the Dickey Doo single “Nee Nee Na Na Na Na Nu Nu”, which was recorded by Jonathan Winters — yes, THAT Jonathan Winters — on Coral Records in the comedian’s one and only (and unsuccessful) foray into pop music. The eight syllables of the song’s title are its only lyrics, and yet Winters manages to screw them up every time. But then he never could stick to the script, could he?

  • There really was a tune out there called King Kong Stomp. It was recorded by Joe Robichaux’s New Orleans band in 1933. Different melody of course, lol…

  • “Monster Rally” and “Spike Jones” anticipate the mid-sixties monster craze by a few years; “Dracula’s Greatest Hits” is right on time.

    Is it any wonder kids today are angry and depressed when nobody produces things like this for them and consequently they have no sense of silly? Or that the great Jack Davis was chosen to design the puppets for “Mad Monster Party”?

  • On a related subject, one can easily find Hans Conried’s radio work on YouTube. The following is one of my favorites, Hans portrays a violent drunk. Just a prior warning, some may find it offensive because of the stereotypical “Island Native”.

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