The only appearance of the clumsy cartoon cephalopod from The Atom Ant / Secret Squirrel Show is on the cover of this peppy album of original ‘60s surf tunes.
SQUIDDLY DIDDLY’S SURFIN’ SURFARI
The Hanna Barbera Singers
Hanna-Barbera Records (Cartoon Series) HLP-2043 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Mono)
Released in 1965. Executive Producers: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera. Vocalists: Stan Farber, Al Capps, Ron Hicklin. Arrangements: Stan Farber. Art Direction: Harvard Pennington. Cover Art: Robert Schaefer. Mastering: Joe Leahy, Dave Diller. Running Time: 21 minutes.
Songs: “Squiddly”, “Surfin’ Song”, “Surf is Up Today”, “Surf Busters”, “Hot-Doggin’ Man”, “Ho-Dad”, “Nose-Rider”, “Surf Bunny”, “Shoot the Tube”, “Gremmies”, “Hang Ten”, “Surfers Hall of Fame” by Stan Farber, Lynn Bryson, Charles and Peggy Shows.
This was the only Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Series album I saw as a kid that I did not instantly want to buy. Once it was clear that it only contained surfing songs and no story, it didn’t have much appeal. Years later, I have a greater appreciation for it—especially from an historical perspective—but there is still a bit of disappointment at what it might have been.
Paul Frees, as Squiddly Diddly, is nowhere to be found on this disc, not even to introduce the songs. Maybe Squiddly isn’t way up there on the best-loved Hanna-Barbera character list, but nevertheless, a very entertaining story/song record could have been created much in the vein of the “Makin’ with the Magilla” cartoon storyline.
The story could go something like this. Side One: Squiddly escapes from Bubbleland, meets groovy teens on a local beach, learns to play multiple instruments at once and triumphs with his performance on a TV dance show. Side Two: Squiddly is a star but he misses his home, so he returns to play his songs at Bubbleland—but after his music disturbs the other sea life, chaos ensues and he goes back to his old job. (I just thought most of that up while I was typing it, so surely Charles Shows could have done the same.)
Maybe Shows and the Hanna-Barbera Records team had to balance their budget by producing something quick and inexpensive. Bringing in Frees and another actor or two, as well as studio editing and effects time, would have cost more than these twelve songs. The “Hanna-Barbera Singers” probably recorded them all at once for a fraction of the usual Cartoon Series time and money. Even the handful of other HBR “songs-only” albums required, at the very least, slight changes in instrumentation and variety. But Squiddly’s surfin’ songs are written, produced and performed in exactly the same way as most tunes on other HBR Cartoon Series records —with a twangy, goodtime pop/garage band style.
As a retro item, the album is still a treasure, especially from an aesthetic aspect. Like all six HBR albums based on The Atom Ant / Secret Squirrel Show, the actual TV title card art is used for the front cover (Robert Schaffer is credited as artist, though he is usually listed as the hand letterer.) As a listening experience, it’s a kick for those who enjoy fun, foamy, carefree beach party music. The album would have been better overall, though, had they added even a few more cartoon-related references into the lyrics.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Squiddly / The Jetsons / Space Crazy”
These three songs are combined here because of their striking similarities, starting with the opening song from Squiddly Diddly’s Surfin’ Surfari (with its odd minor-key melody), then two from The Jetsons in First Family On The Moon (HLP-2037). This similarity is a key factor as to how relatively fast, simple and economical it must have been to string all these songs together at once in a few sessions.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN: BEACH BLANKET BONUS!
One of the seven “official” Beach Party movies and a low-budget Vincent Price comedy vehicle—both produced by American International Pictures—opened with clay animated titles by Art “Gumby” Clokey…
HOW TO STUFF A WILD BIKINI
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Wand Records WDS-671 (Stereo) / WDS-671 (Mono) (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP /1965)
CD Reissue: Real Gone Music RGM-0013
Download Reissue: iTunes
This Beach Party film comes closest to a satirical “book musical” with the cast performing story-driven songs on camera. It’s a sort of funhouse mirror distortion of Mad Men and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
This is the Clokey main title sequence:
DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE – The Supremes
American International Records 3010 (One-Sided Promo Disc / 7” 45 RPM / Mono / 1965)
Download Reissue Available on iTunes.
DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE – The Beas
Dee-Gee Records 3010 (7” 45 RPM / Mono / 1965)
This film and its sequel, Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs, are every bit as erudite as you might imagine.
Here are the Clokey titles for the first entry in the Goldfoot “saga”:
SUMMER BEACH PARTY
Varese Sarabande Records R2-74336 (Compact Disc / Mono & Stereo / 2006)
The soundtrack theme to “How to Stuff” sung by a studio chorus and the non-soundtrack single version of “Dr. Goldfoot” by The Beas are included on this CD compilation of songs and music from the golden age of Beach Party movies. It’s worth noting that, in addition to the Annette track, other material created for the Beach Party films was recorded and produced by Tutti Camarata at his Sunset Sound studios. Some of the vocal ensembles on this album sound similar to those appearing on Disneyland and Buena Vista albums of the mid-sixties.