Thursday, October 28, 2004

dinner w/ drac at the monstermash

Everyone knows the Monster Mash and it gets blogged to death this time of the year, so what I offer today for Halloween week is the flip-side of the 45, Monster Mash Party- which really isn't all that different from the original. So as a bonus treat, we have John Zacherle's Dinner with Drac (which predates the Mash), as well.

Zacherle hosted Shock Theater with his sidekicks Igor and My Dear and reigned supreme on Philadelphia late night television in the late fifties. He also recorded on the Philadelphia based Cameo label. He had a Top Ten hit with "Dinner with Drac." The followup song "Lunch with Mother Goose" was less successful. On the record he was backed by Dave Appell and the Applejacks, the house band at Cameo Records. A sequel, "Eighty Two Tombstones", was cut but was not successful.

An interesting footnote to the Dinner with Drac recording was that the 1st presses had it flipped with a song called "Igor." However, Dick Clark, who owned part of the Cameo label, thought that the original version of "Dinner with Drac" was too violent for his "American Bandstand" show, which went network just about the same time as Zacherele started SHOCK THEATER. An alternate version was recorded and played on Bandstand. Problem was everyone wanted the Bandstand version. So Cameo had to quickly re-press the song with the original version on one side and the Bandstand version on the other. They were entitled, "Dinner with Drac, Parts 1 & 2."

According to his website, Bobby "Boris" Pickett is available year round and can be dug up to appear and sing a medley of his hit! Some Monster Mash history...

It was 1962 and teen-age America still did the Twist when Bobby Pickett emerged with the Boris Karloff spoof that has since become the rock 'n' roll anthem of Halloween.

For 40 years since, Pickett's goulish glee club has risen annually from the crypt of Golden Oldies with a fleeting bit of airplay for the ghosts, goblins and spirits of Allhallows Eve.

Over the years, Monster Mash has sold about 4 million copies, easily one of the most popular novelty records of all time.

His Karlovian imitation for Monster Mash was born when Pickett was 9 years old and spent time at the movie theater his father managed in Somerville, Mass. "I always did Boris," he said.

He used Karloff in his nightclub act in Hollywood in 1959 and 1960. And when he was part of the the group, the Cordials, he'd often slip in a few impersonations between songs. Boris was the crowd favorite. So one Saturday afternoon, he and friend Lenny Capizzi decided to write a song, putting the mimic to music. They dubbed themselves Bobby Boris Pickett and the CryptKickers and went to Gary Paxton, then lead singer for the Hollywood Argyles.

Monster Mash was released three times. It reached No.1 on October 20, 1962. It re-entered the Hot 100 eight years later, on August 29, 1970, and peaked at 91. Almost three years after that, on May 5, 1973, it made a third re-entry, and this time went all the way to number 10.

Bobby "Boris" Pickett - Monster Mash Party
John Zacherle - Dinner with Drac


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