Amoeblog

Randy Van Horne 1924 – 2007

Posted by Whitmore, October 13, 2007 12:16pm | Post a Comment

A couple of weeks ago Randy van Horne passed away at the age of 83. You might not recognize his name but you would certainly recognize the sound and work of the Randy Van Horne Singers, one of the most in-demand studio session vocal groups of the 1950s and ‘60s. They can be heard on countless television and radio commercials, jingles and station identification spots many of them written by Van Horne. But they’ll always be remembered for singing the themes to many of Hanna-Barbera’s iconic pop-cultural cartoons like The Jetsons, The Huckleberry Hound Show, Yogi Bear, and The Flintstones. Hey, it’s Yabba-dabba-doo time, kids!

The Randy Van Horne Singers also worked with some of the biggest names of the era including Mel Tormé, Dean Martin, Martin Denny, Jimmy Witherspoon and Juan Garcia Esquivel, who twisted jazz and lounge into a quirky genre we now call Space Age Pop. Serious fans of Esquivel will know his trademark "Zu-zu-zus," crooned by the Randy Van Horne Singers.

The group included some of the most famous session singers (yet almost completely unknown to the public!) of all time including Marni Nixon. She was singing voice for Natalie Wood in West Side Story, and sang for Deborah Kerr in The King and I. Thurl Ravenscroft - the voice of Tony the Tiger for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes commercials, and he sang You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch from the classic animated television special, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and B.J. Baker who worked with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin and Sam Cooke, among others. She was also Miss Alabama in 1944.

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Photographer Al Chang 1922-2007

Posted by Whitmore, October 9, 2007 10:28pm | Post a Comment

Al Chang, an Army cameraman who was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize has died. He chronicled the conflict in both Korea and Vietnam, witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (where he worked as a dockworker), and was even awarded the Purple Heart for being wounded in the line of duty in Vietnam, past away in Honolulu, he was 85. He is best known as the photographer who captured one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. That image shows a U.S. infantryman weeping in the arms of another soldier. Taken on Aug. 28, 1950, the photo shows Army Sgt. Bill Redifer comforting fellow soldier Vincent Nozzolillo, who has learned that his replacement has been killed, while in the background another corpsman sifts through casualty reports, looking strangely detached. The photograph was featured in Edward Steichen's "Family of Man" exhibit in 1955 at New York's Museum of Modern Art. This portrait of anguish, grief and comfort has become one of the most enduring images of the Korean War, often called the forgotten war.

Jack Kerouac

Posted by Whitmore, September 5, 2007 09:08am | Post a Comment

Jerry “The Phantom” Lott

Posted by Whitmore, September 4, 2007 11:56am | Post a Comment

A decade before the mayhem and lurid madness of the Legendary Stardust Cowboy’s “Paralyzed” there was Jerry Lott, a.k.a. “The Phantom,” recording his own blithering two minute psychotic-billy breakdown. Born near Mobile, Alabama in 1938, Lott played country music as a young teenager until he heard Elvis Presley and rockabilly in 1956. Something obviously went ping!

During the summer of 1958 in Mobile, Lott recorded Whisper Your Love. As he told Derek Glenister in a 1980 interview: "Somebody said, 'what you gonna put on the flip-side' - I hadn't even thought about it. Someone suggested I wrote something like Elvis 'cause he was just a little on the wane and everybody was beginning to turn against rock 'n' roll. They said, 'See if you spark rock 'n' roll a little bit' ... so that's when I put all the fire and fury I could utter into it. I was satisfied with the first take, but everybody said, 'Let's try it one more time.' I didn't yell on the first take, but I yelled on the second, and blew one of the controls off the wall. I'm telling ya," Lott continued, "It was wild. The drummer lost one of his sticks, the piano player screamed and knocked his stool over, the guitar player's glasses were hanging sideways over his eyes."

Love Me was that song, written by Jerry Lott in 10 minutes. Almost 50 years later that track is still startling, especially to the uninitiated. If the screams don’t stagger you at the beginning, perhaps The Phantom’s post-coital exhaustion at track’s end will. Yeah, most great Rockabilly records from the late fifties had more then their share of fire and dementia, but this track is insane … certifiably, wickedly, aberrantly insane! It’s beautiful!

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49 square inches of something something part 2

Posted by Whitmore, August 27, 2007 08:20am | Post a Comment


Felix the Cat isn’t just a silent film star and  animation's first superstar, or a 1950’s TV phenomenon, or the logo for a Los Angeles Chevrolet dealership, (opened by Winslow B. Felix in 1921), with its benevolent, three-sided neon sign looming over the Harbor Freeway, or the doll aviator Charles Lindbergh took with him on his historic flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, or the mascot for the U.S. Navy's Bombing Squadron Two during WW2, or the image on tabs of LSD in the mid seventies, he's:

Felix the Cat,
The wonderful, wonderful cat!
Whenever he gets in a fix,
He reaches into his bag of tricks!

Felix the Cat,
The wonderful, wonderful cat!
You'll laugh so much
Your sides will ache

Your heart will go pitter pat
Watching Felix,
The wonderful cat.

 
RIGHT- E - O!!
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