The Blog Lagoon’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day 24: Mad, Mad Monster Party Shindig with the Groovie Goolies and More!

Monsters love to get together and party. You see it every Halloween. There are dozens of kids’ records, books, movies, cartoons and TV specials that throw the most recognizable monsters together for a shindig of some sort. Whether it’s Rankin and Bass’ Mad Monster Party?, an episode of the old Groovie Goolies cartoon, or the lyrics to the Monster Mash — it ain’t hard to find vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein monsters, and any number of ghouls voiced by Peter Lorre imitators, coming together to sing, dance, and tell bad jokes. Here’s a brief run-down of my favorite all-monster house parties.

Dracula and Francesca in "Mad Monster Party?"

Dracula and Francesca in "Mad Monster Party?"

Mad Monster Party? is the prototypical monster bash. This theatrical feature from Rankin and Bass (creators of those OTHER holiday, stop-motion classics) was a big ol’ bomb when it came out in ’67, but time has been good to it and it’s now considered a Halloween cult classic. A mad doctor type (voiced by Boris Karloff himself) is gathering all of the monsters together for a bash to celebrate his retirement and the passing of the mad doctor torch to his drug store soda jerk nephew. Of course, there are plenty of ghouls who think they should be the mad doctor’s worthy successor, including his “finest creation yet,” the stacked and sexy piece o’ redheaded stop-motion hawtness, Francesca (Gale Garnett). The songs are silly and the pacing is terrible, but MMP? is some serious Halloween eye-candy. With its Batman-era pop art 60s aesthetic and the participation of the great Phyllis Diller (as “the Monster’s Mate”), MMP? is brightly-colored, punny, Halloween awesomeness. The “special edition” DVD ain’t all that damn special, with a serious shortage of extras, but worth the mere $10 you’d need to drop to pick it up just about anywhere this time of year.

"Monsters Crash the Pajama Party" from Something Weird Video

A clean-cut group of 60s college guys decide to prank a game group of nightie-clad  girls who’ve opted to spend the night in a creepy ol’ house, but are beat to the punch when a (you guessed it) Mad Doctor releases his monsters to wreak havoc. He wants to steal the girls and turn them into monster gorillas or some such nonsense, as a weird  pre=”weird “>poorly-costumed Asian Vampira clone unenthusiastically looks on. MCtPP is considered one of the last of the old-school “spook shows” — gimmicky low-budget quickies that were screened with live-action participants that run through the audience at pivotal moments in the movie in scary costumes (or in this case, gorilla suits) with the intention of scaring girls and eliciting some cheap screams. There’s not much to MCtPP, but monsters it’s got, and it’s a nice little pop time capsule of the nearly forgotten spook-show phenom. It’s available on a pretty amazing Something Weird spook-show comp with all kinds of other rare Halloween goodies.

This is one of a dozen or so Hannah Barbara LPs released in the 60s, that featured popular H&B characters in original stories that were broken up by consistently cheesy original songs. The popularity of Super Snooper, a wise-cracking feline detective, is debatable, and I’m pretty sure that the voice characterization here is not the original voice from the show, but the cast does feature the great June Foray (that’s Rocket J. Squirrel, Natasha Fatale and a host of others to you, bub!) essaying the voice of Blabber Mouse and more. The monsters here are the  pre=”the “>Gruesomes, an Adams Family-type clan who first appeared in an episode or two of the Flintstones. The requisite Peter Lorre voice imitation is here, and Foray’s voice for Creepella is nearly identical to the one she affects for Natasha. There’s a Dracula, a Frankenstein, a Wolf Man and lots and lots of bad Hanna-Barbara caliber corniness. In other words: a must have. 

GroovyGoolies_lTHE GROOVIE GOOLIES (TV-1971)
The entire Groovie Goolies syndicated cartoon run is available on DVD now and I really need to invest in a copy. This laugh-track heavy cartoon featured Laugh-In inspired jokes and sketches, with lots of musical numbers thrown in. I’ve heard it described as  Scooby Doo without the plots and kids and twice the musical numbers…which really aren’t that bad. I used to watch GG before elementary school…so early it was still dark out. It aired back to back with the syndicated 60s/70s Spider-Man cartoon. I remember being impressed by how they both cheaply recycled animated action shots over and over again. There was a Drac, a Frankie, and Wolfie–not to mention multiple “musical acts” like the Mummies and the Puppies and the Rolling Gravestones(!). Gotta’ love the monster puns. You can watch tons of Groovie Goolies minisodes on YouTube here.
Watch a Groovie Goolies opening theme:

monstersI LOVE MONSTERS (LP-198?)
Can someone, ANYONE, please help me with this one. I owned this record all my life. Mom ordered it for me from a TV ad in the very early 80s and I played it to death but somewhere between my last two apartments, this LP got lost in the shuffle. The album had no liner notes or info of any kind, but every track was monster related. I’ve done a little research and have deduced that the music is performed by a semi-well-known 70s funk saxophonist named Jimmy Castor. He’s black, but there’s a little kid cowering on the cover with “Jimmy C” across his back…and he’s white. So I’m a little confused. Evidently, Jimmy Castor had a few marginal novelty hit with the songs Troglodyte and King Kong — both of which were on this album, though they appeared on other Castor albums more famously. In fact, after tracking down the official Jimmy Castor website, I can find no evidence of I Love Monsters listed in his discography. What gives? I love the cover. I love the funk-tastic monster tunes. I love that not many people seem to have this rare treat — Only problem with that is, how can I replace it?! I checked eBay and lots of other obvious rocks were turned over but I’m still coming up snake eyes. Can YOU help?

Monster nudies! Both of these soft-core monster movies are available together on one DVD from the great Something Weird Video. Both feature bad corny comedy, monsters, and lots of curvy broads. Both are great Halloween party movies and so charmingly 60s-silly that if not for all the nipples, they’d be practically family friendly. Read my original reviews for KMQ! here and Bare Mountain here.

famous-monsters-speak2A Story of Dracula, The Wolfman & Frankenstein 001

Finally, here are two more great monster-related shares. The first, is another Power Records story LP featuring Dracula, Frankenstein AND the Wolfman — all wrapped up in one ridiculous, but fun, contrived story. The zip file contains the entire audio track and jpegs of the entire read-along book. The second, is an amazing LP from Famous Monsters magazine, Famous Monsters Speak. Side one is a spoken-word Dracula narrative and side two gives voice to the thoughts of Frankenstein’s monster, fleshing out characterization found in Mary Shelley’s book, but rarely found in other Frankenstein showcases. It’s been out of print for years and is a solid listen all the way around. Enjoy!

~ by Number5ive on October 24, 2009.

5 Responses to “The Blog Lagoon’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day 24: Mad, Mad Monster Party Shindig with the Groovie Goolies and More!”

  1. I just picked the Jimmy Castor record up at a flea market this past weekend. I was able to find only one article online only after putting in the city of the label, Little Monster Records, Millwood, NY. It was a Billboard ad from 1980. If you are still interested, I may be able to rip the vinyl for you.

  2. I knew some heroic soul would come through eventually! I AM still interested. If you’re able to rip the vinyl I’d be oh-so appreciative.

  3. Alright, here it is. Just in time for Halloween. This is my first rip. I don’t have any editing software, so these are straight rips. If they are too terrible, I can repost later when I get some software. This is definitely one of the funkiest records ever, even beyond Halloween. Enjoy

    • AMAZING! Thank you so much. Hopefully you can find something for yourself among the Halloween shares from this year and last. Seriously…thanks so much. This lost obscurity was a big part of my childhood.

    • Also…hope you don’t mind if I…uh…pay it forward, and share this on the blog. I’ll give you full credit. 🙂

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