Thursday, March 20, 2014

How Dr. Seuss Put My Dad in the Dog House

When I was very little, I was terrified by the record you see pictured above. I don't mean "weirded out" or "creeped out" or a little bit scared: I mean TERRIFIED. I mean screaming, running, crying, waving-my-hands TERRIFIED. 

My dad brought it home one night, and I'm certain he thought he was doing something nice for his kids. He could not possibly have foreseen the reaction that I would have to the thing. As you can see, side one features the somewhat milder "Yertle the Turtle," and perhaps if they had started me there things would have been different. As it was, and being no more than about three years old (although I will remember it as long as I live), I completely lost it about mid-way through the story, at the point where the guardsman scoops some of that awful stuff onto his sword and puts it in his mouth. 

It certainly did not help matters that the production is extremely well-done and uses sound effects to make the story... vivid. 

Well... my grandmother was visiting us that night, and the women-folk in the house wasted no time getting out the metaphorical gibbet to hang my dad from. Which hardly seems fair to me now. But at the time I kind of agreed with them: Daddy WAS a terrible person for bringing this horrifying thing into the house. 

I'm not exaggerating about the screaming, crying, running and waving my hands about. This record has terrified me all my life and terrifies me to this day. Those creepy wizards! That bad king! That awful stuff coming down out of the sky! Marvin Millar was the narrator, but the actor who played Bartholmew Cubbins really took the role to heart and Cubbins's terror was completely infectious.

 I may have written about this before, somewhere in the deep dark past of this blog, but it's on my mind today because I have been gradually restoring my album collection to iTunes after the crash that wiped me out in December. Guess what got added back today. And today I'm going to try something different. Today I am going to make the entire scream-inducing production available for you to listen for yourself. Just click here to download the MP3.

And don't say I didn't warn you.


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