Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Music: The Gothic Archies

Happy Halloween! As most newsaholics know, the mother of all current events costumes just got dropped in our laps last week. So, how many of you are going out with fake shiners and a backwards "B" drawn on your faces with lip pencil? You gotta admit, it's a lot easier than pulling together the Caribou Barbie thing.

On some NPR show this weekend, they asked listeners to submit things from movies that terrified them as children. The flying monkeys from Wizard of Oz pretty much swept the competition away. Wow, they were frightening. Monkeys are unnerving to begin with, since they look like ugly, hairy little men, hopped up on speed. The host reminded listeners of the moment they swarmed Dorothy and her friends, and pulled all the straw out of the Scarecrow. Horrible!

In addition to flying monkeys (and clowns), what really scared me were dolls--especially those creepy baby dolls with clear, soulless eyes that snapped open suddenly when upright. One Christmas, my elderly great-aunts gave me baby doll in a bridal gown--an interesting sartorial choice, considering the fact that one had never married, and the other was a cheerful widow of an alcoholic. I could barely suppress my loathing. The only doll I played with on a regular basis was a cheap injection-molded Ken, an amputee due to his right foot collapsing into his leg cavity. The neighbor boy Craig and I pretended that Ken was one of the teenage cast members on Flipper, a television show starring Lloyd Bridges and an incredibly talented dolphin. Flipper himself was portrayed by my Grandpa's fishing-tackle measuring tape, which was in a metal case shaped and painted to look like a trout.

Mom insisted that we put the bride doll in a place of honor. There she sat on one of the Dutch Colonial chairs at the far end of the living room, blankly staring ahead as the family watched Gunsmoke. She was waiting until our guard was down. Perhaps this explains why, when I saw the Twilight Zone episode where a doll torments mean step-dad Telly Savalas, I was rooting for Telly.

"Living Doll" The Twilight Zone

Our song this week is "This Abyss," by The Gothic Archies, wonderfully described by founder Stephin Merritt as a "goth-rock bubblegum" band. Dan Handler, otherwise known as children's author Lemony Snicket, played accordion with the Gothic Archies while on tour.

The House of Tomorrow. The Gothic Archies. [Link]

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