I adored Halloween novelty songs as a kid. I had a couple of records, a couple of tapes, and whenever possible, would try to record anything I didn't have off of the radio. It was definitely a slower time. And thank god cell phone cameras didn't exist back then, otherwise there would undoubtedly be multiple surviving videos floating around out there of young me in costume, dancing to said records and cassettes.
"Growing up" did nothing to diminish my love for the genre, in fact, my appreciation for it has only continued to increase with age. They, along with old films, are my version of comfort food. I have a much larger collection of songs now, encompassing many more formats. And while I can appreciate how much easier it is to find stuff these days what with the internet and all, I do miss the days of having to wait years, and sometimes, decades, to finally hear something (I feel the same way about films); as it made it just that much better when you finally did get to hear some long sought after track. The internet has ruined anticipation. And I don't know about anyone else, but I miss anticipation.
I mention all of this because of two things: A). I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't know of the above cards existence until just last year. I knew of the American Bandstand set, but had never taken any time to see who was all in it. And B). Once I did get a copy of the card (courtesy of COMC), inspiration was struck for a new mini-collection.
"Monster Mash" wasn't the first Halloween novelty song, far from it, but having sold over four million copies (physical copies), it's without a doubt the granddaddy of all other Halloween novelty songs. For folks of a certain age, it was often their first foray into the world of Halloween songs. And unfortunately, given it's prolific nature, it often ends up becoming a song that many people begin to hate at some point in their lives. I feel fortunate to have never reached that point, and still listen to it about a month (I don't go out of my way to here it though).
Despite having heard the song a couple of thousand times, my only real memory attached to it comes from first grade. I don't know if kids still go to school dressed up for Halloween anymore, but I can remember doing so through fourth grade. No year ever topped first grade though, if only because there was no actual schooling being done on that particular Halloween. From what I can recall, the first half of the day was spent listening to stories (of the scary variety), and the second half was spent walking around the school getting candy. There were even a couple of classrooms that had been converted into mini haunted houses/caves/rooms. All the while, Monster Mash was being played non-stop on the PA system in the halls and outside. I can't even imagine how many times I must've heard it that day, as we did spend a lot of time walking around the outside the school, and waiting in the halls for another class to finish up going through one of the decorated rooms. I can honestly say that that might've been the best day of school ever. I don't know how any others could've outdone that one.
Having created such a pop culture phenom, it seems only fitting that Bobby Pickett should be the first card in collection featuring folks who have released novelty songs for Halloween. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending how you look at it, such a collection will never number more than 20-25 cards, as the majority of the contributors to this genre have never appeared on small pieces of cardboard.
Had I thought about doing this post prior to this morning (Halloween), I could've gotten the the 4 or 5 other cards that I have so far into the post, but I didn't, so Bobby will have to do for today. I did just get the latest card for this collection a couple of weeks ago, so at least that one should be making it into an upcoming post. Much like trying to find the songs way back when, trying to find people for this collection has been a slow process. But that's okay, I don't mind slow, it gives me something to anticipate.