Monday, October 31, 2011

"Does it come every night?"

During the run of Space Pirate Radio, there were always some pauses or intervals between broadcasts from station to station.  Sometimes the station was the same station.  Other times, a new frequency.  Frequently.  So pondering the days up to All Hallows' Eve, getting in the mood and such, considering all the influences...from early days in the horror TV business, to all the passions gothic, I went back to when Space Pirate Radio returned to the air on Halloween Sunday, Monday the First of November on NPR ass-filiate KCBX in San Luis Obispo, California.  This was 1999.

Shall we party like it's 1939 instead?  Yes!  Let's!  Why not?  Certainly the station was sixty years behind the time.

This is your Obedient Servant, Orson Welles, and we are here to make contact with the departed spirit of Harry Houdini.  Everyone seated round the table?  Good.  Fingers on the wine glass.  Ouija board yet?  Letters begin.

"You don't want me to leave Windwood house, do you Mother?"

Halloween and Space Pirate Radio were always a wonderful time for musical mayhem and sonic spookiness.  Of course, for some listeners familiar or not with the program, it seemed like every show was Halloween.  There were fine lines between Harmony, Humour and Horror.  I dubbed these early experiments Audio Alchemy, and this fourth sabbat of the year was a perfect time to reach for the Philosophers Stoned.

Every Space Pirate Radio show enjoyed voyaging to the Outer Limits.  On Halloween, we could get a little darker, but still be safe.  Musical choices from Europe could be a tad more horrific (wasn't Tad Moore Horrific that good looking blonde kid in A Summer Place?).  Nothing could be more extreme than Brainticket's Cottonwood Hill.  Or White Noise and An Electric Storm in Hell.  Lighten things up?  Bonzo Dog Band with Monster Mash or Look Out, There's a Monster Coming.  Back to the literate with Alan Parsons and Edgar Allan Poe or Prelude with the Seven Deadly Sins.  How many Halloween shows had Christopher Lee telling the story of Dracula, only to be interrupted every three minutes, in true local LA TV style, by Oscar B. Chow.  Hoping that you are enjoying "your...Golden Morning Movie."

Ah, yes Dracula.  You had to be a vampire to listen to the show.  Bed ridden with Nocturnal Transmissions.  The illustrious Steam Count, wearing the famous crest of his family, is shown above.  Giving Salute to the Radio Managers.  So much for subtlety.  It impales by comparison.  But more on the one who never drinks wine in a moment.

All Hallow's was also a festive time at the Green Neon Motel, located in the heart, or rather, bladder of the San Industrial Valley.  Year after year, front desk man Grungie Steinberg would be amazed by the arrival at the door of the latest costume design by longtime guest Chef Bruno Languini.  It is my opinion that his tomato & cheese omelette was his crowning achievement.  "Wow, Chef!  When you bend over, I can see the melting cheese."

Or how many variations were there of that classic 1941 Unilateral film The Wolf Guy?  Lon Chairs, Jr. so touching as the cursed Larry Tallbutt (so named after a family deformity).  How many times did we quote the Old Gypsy Lady saying, "Though the path you walk is thorny. Through no fault of your own."  "What the Hell does THAT mean?" Lonny would ask in pure torment.  "Even a man who's pure of heart.  And says his prayers at night.  May become a wolf, when the wolfbane blooms.  And his trousers are too tight."  Pure magic.

Obviously, to the long time listener, three horror films have been a constant mantra in the Space Pirate Radio mix.  From 1974 till the end, 1931's Dracula began the show after my introductions.  "Listen to them.  Children of the night.  What music they make."  That to me was the start of showtime.  When I left Santa Barbara and went El Norte, the 1931 Mexican version of the same lines became the appropriate opening.  I know I have played Klaus Kinski doing his low key version of the lines from Nosferatu, both in English and in German.  These were giggles and not long term.  The other two films are, of course, 1944's The Uninvited and 1956's Plan 9 From Outer Space.  Like the resurgence in Lounge Music, I am intensely proud that Space Pirate Radio brought these unpopular works of art back into the current culture of ultra-chic.  For those who didn't get it the first time round, I can cheerfully say, "Kiss my Capri pants enveloped derriere."

So stiletto heels off, zipper down, back to front. " Does it come every night? "

No.

Just when you begin to think you've dreamt it...