Saturday, October 8, 2016

An Evening With Boris Karloff and His Friends

This album was released in 1967 and for many years was available through the back pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine. I don’t think people realize today that by this time Karloff was a cult figure for every kid in every neighborhood. His movies played constantly on television, and even then, over thirty years after its release, Frankenstein (1931) was considered too scary for kids and played predominantly on the late night television when we were all presumably in bed. Not a chance. Every kid in the neighborhoods across the country stayed up late and saw that movie. And it was scary! It scared the hell out of us. Karloff was creepy, Karloff was scary. Shortly before Karloff died in 1968 he was doing commercials, and in one of them he held up a bottle of sauce and said, “Experiment with it!” This album was given to me at Christmas, and I was thrilled. Years later I learned that Forry Ackerman wrote the script and Karloff recorded his bit in one take. The album is really a verbal tribute to horror films, punctuated by audio snippets from Frankenstein, The Wolf-Man, The Mummy, Dracula, and a few others. There is no in-depth analysis like the nonsense we see all over the Internet; no pretending this was anything other than what it was – a fond remembrance of great films. Karloff’s voice was perfect for the job, easily recognizable to every kid in the country. The audio from the films simply added to our desire to see and appreciate the films again. Long before video or DVD or Blue-Ray, we had limited television, record albums and radio. These days you can download all of this in a nanosecond. An Evening With Boris Karloff and His Friends is available on CD. Play it on Halloween, and let the Master take you back to an era of haunted castles, a mad scientist’s laboratory, an Egyptian tomb, or an autumnal forest where a wolf prowls the moors.

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