Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
“Remember the terrible lesson you learned tonight. That grinning, glowing, globular invader of your living room is an inhabitant of the pumpkin patch, and if your doorbell rings and nobody's there, that was no Martian. . .it's Hallowe'en.
Orson Welles from the CBS Radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds,” October 30, 1938
It's Friday night. Time to unwind with our regular Friday night feature on This Just In.
The weekend has finally arrived.
The sun has set.
The evening sky has erupted.
We do this every Friday to demonstrate that despite what pop culture tries to pass off as art, there’s plenty of really good music around.
Something out of the ordinary this week because we’re heading into unordinary times…This is Halloween. To accommodate, we offer scary, spooky selections this evening.
We begin by paying homage to the classic monsters created by Universal Studios in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
My first exposure came in the mid-1960’s. Older brother Greg was about 16, 17 years old and already playing in a rock band. That meant he wouldn’t get home on Saturday nights until early Sunday morning. Our typical worrying Mom would wait up as long as she could while Dad went to sleep after the 10:00 news. Mom was sweet and kind, the nicest woman in the world, and the last person you’d expect to absolutely love old horror films.
So on those late Saturday nights, when Dad was snoring by 10:31, Mom and I were in another room, lights off, TV on to Channel 18 and Shock Theater, and the greatest film monsters of all-time. I was mesmerized, enraptured, glued to the set that was tinier than the one in the living room.
History demonstrates that the likes of Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolf Man literally saved Universal Studios from financial decimation, a fact apparently lost on the folks at the Universal Studios theme parks.
The absolute best Halloween music (great for a party or Trick or Treat hours) is done by Midnight Syndicate, composed by Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka who created a blend of orchestral horror music and movie-style sound effects. The duo composed the first official soundtrack to the legendary Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game.
Midnight Syndicate’s newest effort was released a few months ago, preceded by a news release that read, in part:
“On July 19, Midnight Syndicate will release it’s sixteenth studio album, ‘Monsters of Legend.’ This ‘tribute to the golden age of horror’ will feature sweeping symphonic horror instrumental music and sound effects in the signature style the band pioneered. ‘We want to make you feel like you are a character in one of those classic horror films – that you’ve entered a world where any one of the iconic characters from the Universal Horror and Hammer Films could be right around the corner,’ said composer Edward Douglas.
“The CD artwork features original images from classic Universal Studios horror movies including Frankenstein, Werewolf of London, and Dracula. ‘Listeners will hear the influence of the Universal Monster, Hammer, and Euro Horror films from the 30s through the 70s, not only in the music but in the images the songs conjure,’ added Gavin Goszka."
Here's a sample.
OK, one more from that CD. Remember the original Dracula film when Renfield is transported to Dracula’s lair via stagecoach? This is a clever musical creation adapted from that ride where there’s no turning back.
By the 1950’s, the glory years of the Universal monsters were over, though Universal still dabbled in contemporary horror. In 1964, Universal reunited once-married Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck for “The Night Walker.” In the legendary Stanwyck’s last film, she plays a woman haunted by recurring nightmares that seem to be instigated by her late husband who supposedly was killed in a fire.
Vic Mizzy performed the theme music.
We stay in the 1960’s. The Classics IV with lead singer Dennis Yost had a few big hits, including “Spooky.” Here’s guitarist Marc Antoine (on the left) performing with fellow guitarist Paul Brown their version.
That’s it for this week’s segment.
Sleep well, if you can.
Have a great weekend.
Be aware of ghosts and goblins.
And when you shower, best you lock the bathroom door.
Keith Lockhart conducts the BBC Concert Orchestra.