Monster Birds & Turkey à la King Rock n' Roll

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 22, 2018 12:40am | Post a Comment

Giant Claw. Happy Thanksgiving.

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show

"Come on baby, I need gravy...
Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie, give me gravy tonight!"
~ Lyrics from Dee Dee Sharp's song "Gravy" (sequel to "Mashed Potato Time")

Are you already day-dreaming of gnawing on a turkey leg like a frenzied barbarian warrior like I am? We Giant Clawmay not be eating lobster, deer, ducks, clams, and berries like they did in 1621, but we now have Great Aunt Nora's famous oyster stuffing. If there is one holiday that my growling torso-cave desires yearly, it's the Day of Thanks. Did you get stuck watching the Macy's parade and listening to horrible dentist office digestive jazz at your Mother-in-Law's last year? Well, here are my suggestions to add some spice to the day if you are hosting this year...for he who controls the Spice, controls the Universe!

First, we need some big birds on the boob-tube playing all day long. I'm not talking about Follow that Bird (starring John Candy and Dave Thomas), I'm talking about THE GIANT CLAW! Let it be noted, that the producers of Rodanthe film originally planned to use a stop-motion model created by Ray Harryhausen, but they lacked the moolah at the last minute so they used this amazingly creepy marionette for the bird. Also, if you look closely, a flying saucer can be seen in Grand Central Terminal during the giant bird's attack on New York City, as they used stock footage from Earth vs. the Flying Saucers for this movie. I like to think both alien invasion and giant bird attacks happened at the same time. This 1957 classic should almost be played on repeat, much like Darby O'Gill and the Little People should be on Saint Patrick's Day, however I got a few more choice feathered flicks for you to add for this Super Feast Thursday.

A year before this film came out, Rodan soared the skies of Japan with his super sonic booms in 1956. I recently scored this VHS for a whopping 20 cents and it it shall be played this year while I mix the fried onions with the mushroom goop and green beans together. One must ponder if Ishirô Honda came up with the idea for Rodan after attending his first American Thanksgiving dinner.

Another superb giant monster bird movie is Q from 1982, although it is supposed to be a winged serpent, this monster does not look so appetizing and I suppose it is more of a dragon-ish looking creature...but with salt and pepper, I would call it a bird and eat it if I was Amelia Earhart and found it roasting above a fire-pit on Nikumaroro Island.

In the 1958 creature classic The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, our hero must deal with a Roc (he Terror in the Skiesactually only encounters the giant Roc birds on his second and fifth voyages in The One Thousand and One Nights). This enormous mythological bird of the Middle East is a must-see in Dynamation. Of the Harryhausen Sinbad films, I personally enjoy The Golden Voyage the best because, let's face it, Caroline Munro is such a wonderful actress and she has the best "parts" of the film.

Not in time for this year's deep-fried turkey, but coming in 2019 is Terror in the Skies, a new documentary by Small Town Monsters about thunderbirds -- winged demons and feathered fiends that are said to still terrorize folks. Just this year, Small Town Monsters released the documentaries Bray Road Beast, The Flatwoods Monster, and On the Trail of...Champ. You may have seen some of their other cryptozoological documentaries at one of the Bigfoot Bonanza film festivals in San Francisco.

Need some Turkey Rock n' Roll (or should I say Roc n' Roll) to play in the kitchen? Is "The Turkey" by Paul Revere & The Raiders just a tad too 70's cheese for ya? If you like the raw rockabilly sounds of Hasil Adkins and Jack Starr (Born Petrified on Norton Records is superb), then sleuth out Gradie O'Neal and The Bellatones' 45 with "Turkey Neck Stretch," recorded in 1958! You may also find this song on a few rockabilly compilations released from Germany.

I tracked down 88-year-old Gradie in San Jose, where he still runs Tiki Recording Studios, now called O'Neal Productions-Tiki Studios, which has been recording musicians for over 50 years. He told me some great stories about hanging out with Hank Williams and recording Korla Pandit, the genie of the keys. When I asked what favorite Thanksgiving dishes he was looking forward to, Gradie replied "Ambrosia salad and the sweet potato pie!"

I leave you with with these two for dancing in the kitchen with the turkey baster: Litte Eva's "Let's Turkey Trot" and some super hits from the country of Turkey by the psychedelic 1960's surf band Haramiler. And remember folks, don't forget the best tradition of the day, breaking the wishbone!

Relevant Tags

Gradie O'neal (1), Turkish Psych (1), Jack Starr (1), Hasil Adkins (2), Paul Revere And The Raiders (2), Thanksgiving (21), Turkey (3), Dee Dee Sharp (1), Kai Wada Roath (42), Cult Film (36), Ray Harryhausen (6), Birds (3), Monsters (19), Ishiro Honda (2), Caroline Munro (4), Small Town Monsters (1), Bigfoot Bonanza (4), Paul Revere & The Raiders (2), Turkish Music (2)