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Friday, November 29, 2013

Oops, I did it again.

Last Thanksgiving, I posted the video for Nicole Westbrook's secret murder ballad "It's Thanksgiving" without explanation, revisiting it the very next day for questions and comments.  This year, as I am a sucker for tradition, I did it again, presenting the video for "Chinese Food," performed by Tweenchronic member, Alison Gold, and written by ARK Music founder, Patrice Wilson.  If you missed it, here's a second chance to check it out:



Granted, "Chinese Food" isn't necessarily about Thanksgiving, but it is about eating, and since Thanksgiving is mostly about eating--and I guess a little bit about spending time with your family and being thankful for crap or whatever--I thought it would be appropriate.  So, let's just get right into it then.  Ready?  All right.

1. The first thing I ask myself about something like this is always 'is this racist?' or 'is this culturally insensitive?'  In cases of videos produced by the ARK Music Factory or Pato Music World (PMW), Patrice Wilson's new endeavor, I also ponder, 'is this appropriate?'  Or, rather, I used to.  It pretty much goes without saying that anything coming out of Pato's head is astonishingly inappropriate, so I'm not even going to touch on that much this time around.  There is a moment in this video though in which the inappropriate nature of what is going on must be addressed--it would be a crime not to, as what is happing in this particular moment is, probably, a crime itself.  I'll answer the initial questions later in the piece.

2. Hi, Alison Gold.  How are you doing?  How'd you pull this song when your parents signed you up with PMW?  Surely you weren't presented with a list of potential songs and decided that "Chinese Food' summed up your thoughts and feelings regarding the complexities of tween life or spoke to you in any significant way.  It's a song about Chinese food, which, granted, while being the best genre of food currently available on the planet Earth, is just food.  (Oh, also, if you skipped that link above for Tweenchronic, please do yourself a favor and click it right now.  You'll be so glad/horrified that you did.)

3. Here are the opening lines how I hear them, and, keep in mind, I've listened to this song roughly twenty-thousand times:

After ballin'/I go clubbin'/then I'm huggin'/then I'm hungry/and I'm walking/on the street and/I'm getting (4x) grumpy

OK, first of all, ballin'?  Gold looks to be about, um, 12-years-old, so I'm going to assume that she's talking about basketball here.  However, following this game of basketball, she goes clubbing.  Now that's a little strange.  Whenever I play a game of basketball at my local YMCA or at the park with some street toughs from my neighborhood, my next stop is always the shower, private or community.  But, whenever I have sexual intercourse, which can be and is often referred to as "balling," I almost always retreat immediately to a dance club.  I've found that it helps in picking up chicks if you smell like you just had sex and failed to bathe afterwards.  Just my experience I guess.  So, which is it Alison?  Ew.  I don't want to know.

But then she's hugging?  Who is she hugging?  Her friends at the club?  The toilet because she drank a lot at the club?  I mean, four or five hours of intense club activities can make a man or 12-year-old with a fake ID pretty hungry, but so can a massive hangover.  Again, Alison, what is going on here?  

I should point out that if we are to believe the video, all of this basketball playing/humping, clubbing and friend/toilet hugging has occurred sometime in the afternoon, because it is clearly daytime as Alison walks down the street/attacks innocent garbage cans.  Do clubs open early for tweens or something?  I must admit, all that club stuff I wrote up top is bullshit.  I've never been to a club in my life.  I have hugged a toilet though.  And, yes, had sex.  Tons of times.

4. I feel so bad for this little Asian girl taking Alison's order.  First of all, who orders food like this?  Gold is jumping around, dancing, saying chow mein in a weird-ass way.  There are a few times where it looks like the girl behind the counter is just seconds away from leaping across the counter and strangling Gold to death.  I'd allow it.

5. I forgot to ask: Is the cook at the beginning of the video talking about zombies?  I heard a word that sounded like 'zombie' twice.  Admittedly, my Chinese is a little rusty.

6. I like fried rice!  I like noodles!  I like chow mein! = I only like the safe stuff--don't serve me anything authentic

7. Seriously, what if people ordered food like this!?!

8. Alison Gold is way too excited that her local Chinese restaurant serves broccoli.  And nobody eats soup with chopsticks!  C'mon!  Does that count as being culturally insensitive?  A little, right?

9. I don't know if you noticed, but there are no adults in this restaurant.  What kind of weird world does Patrice Wilson live in?  Remember "It's Thanksgiving," with it's lack of any adult supervision other than Wilson himself in a turkey costume?  Creepy.

10. Oh!  A panda!  Gettin' racist-er.

11. And who's in that panda suit?  You guessed it: Patrice Wilson!  Quick question, Panda-trice: What the hell are you doing at a little girl's sleepover?!?  I know this is just a dumb video for a terrible song, but, really, what was your motivation for putting yourself smack dab in the middle of a slumber party for underage girls?  Idiot.

12. Minute 2:44.  Now here's the racism I've been looking for.  Eff this video!

13. Rainbow Panda died on the way back to his home planet.

For more of Patrice Wilson's rampant inappropriateness check out the video for Alison Gold's "ABCDEFG."


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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Dudes!

Forget the turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce!  This year, I want Chinese food!!!




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Monday, November 25, 2013

Is this the greatest thing that has ever happened?

Of course I didn't watch the American Music Awards!  Are you insane and/or totally stupid?  The American Music Awards has got to be the dumbest award show in the history of televised award giving.  You only get one chance at this blessing called life, dudes, and you've got an economy-sized box of screws loose if you think I'm going to waste a second of it on something as brain-numbingly useless as the American Music Awards.  Ugh!

Wait.  What did you just say?  Miley Cyrus sang a duet of her hit single "Wrecking Ball" with a space kitten?  Bullshit!



OK.  I mean, fine, that seems pretty great.  The American Music Awards are still a dumb waste of time though.  I mean, it's not like the kitten starts crying diamonds at some point or anything.

What?  The kitten does cry diamonds?  At the 2:13 mark?  Oh.  My.  Good.  God.  

To answer my question: Yes.  This is, without a doubt, the greatest thing that has ever happened.  I vow to watching every single thing that ever appears on television from this moment on now that I know things like this can happen at any time.  Thank you, TV.  Thank you so, so much.


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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stop Already!: Bells on bobtail ring...OH GOD, SOMEONE'S BACKED OVER BOBTAIL!!!


Nothing says charming holiday fun like an old-fashioned sleigh ride.  The majestic steeds snorting exhaust into the chilly air, the bells on their bridles jingling merrily throughout the snow-covered countryside; snuggling up with your best girl, sharing a thermos of hot chocolate and the occasional smooch, reflecting on the hope the new year will bring.  It's all kinds of magical and crap.

In the suburbs, where I live, the concept of a Christmas sleigh ride has been warped and ruined.  Suburban sleigh rides do not take place in the 'snow-covered countrysides' of yore, but rather in the parking lots of the traffic-choked outdoor shopping centers that dot the suburban landscape every few miles.  Yes, charming country home's decorated with twinkly candles have been replaced with SUV brake lights and the warm glow of a Jason's Deli sign; snow has been replaced with uneven asphalt; and Christmas carols have been replaced by thumping bass from the trunk of a Target employee's Honda Civic.  I don't know what the hot chocolate has been replaced by.  Something with a wheatgrass boost in it from Planet Smoothie?  Food and drink probably isn't even allowed.  It should go without saying that the sleigh itself has been replaced by a carriage.

This fall I went on two very different hayrides with my family.  One hayride took place on a lovely farm, the route twisting through a tranquil forest and ending in a pumpkin patch.  The other hayride was through the parking lot of an amusement park for toddlers.  Both hayrides were super boring, but the one through the parking lot was also super sad.  A hayride shouldn't have to yield to oncoming traffic or offer nothing but other states' license plates as its so-called 'scenic points of interest."  A hayride should take you on a sweet ride thorough an apple orchard or a haunted cornfield.  I get on a hayride to forget about the conveniences of the modern world for awhile and focus on the good old days when people had to pick their apples straight from the trees or die.  Yup, a lot of people died from apple deprivation in olden times.  Didn't have grocery stores.  It was gross.

Still a hayride through the Sesame Place season ticket holder parking lot has got to be a lot better than the sleigh ride you get in an outdoor shopping center parking lot at the peak of holiday shopping season.  Honestly, how many horses do you think are going to get bumped by careless drivers this year?  I bet tons.

I don't know who this week's Stop Already is for exactly.  Like, who do I want to stop doing it already and what is the 'it' that needs stopping?  I'm not sure.  I mean, mega-shopping centers should stop offering this kind of service because it's not fun or romantic or horse-friendly.  The car exhaust, the traffic, the honking, the various odors wafting from Applebee's.  Then again, people eat this sort of thing up at Christmastime.  "They got real, no-kidding sleigh rides goin' on here?  Well, dang, we gotta do it.  As soon as you guys finish up in Marshalls, were gettin' in line!"  These people are wrong.  You shouldn't want to do this.  You should demand more from your sleigh ride.  Like an actual sleigh.

I don't know who is truly in the wrong here, but someone needs to stop whatever is pissing me off RIGHT NOW!!!  


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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pod Nerd: Old School Scares & When Walt Met Paramore


1.  The Heyday of Horror Entertainment:  I can't figure out which is the bigger nerd: the old timey radio nerd or the loyally-listens-to-over-30-podcasts nerd.  Luckily for my wife, I am both.  I mentioned in a post earlier this month, that I spent my Halloween listening to radio horror drama via Relic Radio's The Horror podcast.  Most of the seven or so radio plays weren't terribly frightening, but the commercials for headache powders and iron supplements made them novel enough.  

You see, radio horror story plots fall into two categories mostly: unhappy husbands who murder their rich wives at the behest of a mistress completely devoid of all humanity and haunted houses.  These are not the subjects of every single radio play, mind you, but the great majority of them.  I'm not saying radio playwrights were hacks, but most of them were obviously unhappy at home.  Oh, and I have no qualms with haunted house stories.  Haunted house stories are awesome!

Since Halloween, I have listened to approximately eleventy-hundred more episodes of The Horror, which posts a radio play from the golden years of non-televised entertainment each Wednesday and Saturday, and have thoroughly enjoyed myself.  In fact, I've compiled a list of my favorite stories, a selection of spooky tales that anyone interested in listening to this sort of thing will probably enjoy.  I'm even going to provide you with links!

1) The Beckoning Fair One: A writer moves into an abandoned mansion and meets the woman of his dreams, who is, unfortunately, a ghost that encourages him to do horrible things.  Not only is this one totes creepy, but it's brought to you by Molle Shaving Cream, and their commercials are ridiculous.

2) Ghost Hunt: Kind of like a found footage movie, only without all that footage.

3) Casting the Runes: I already talked about this one in my Halloween post, but I thought I'd reiterate how good it is again.  The penultimate scene on the train is legitimately intense, and had me on the edge of my seat, um, wheeled office chair.

4) The House Was A Sphinx: I avoided this one for a long time because the name is, well, kind of stupid, but, oh Doctor, when I finally gave it a listen, I was all kinds of into it.  I hate when something has a twist ending and somebody tells you, "Oh, man, you are going to love the twist ending," and then you spend the whole time trying to figure out what the twist ending is going to be instead of enjoying the experience, so I'm not going to mention whether or not "The House Was A Sphinx's" ending has a twist or not.  Or even if there is an ending.  Maybe what makes this story so horrifying is that it never ends.  Maybe I'm still listening to it as I type this.  Maybe the experience has driven me utterly and irrevocably insane. BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!  

5) The Furnished Floor: In a rare move for radio horror, the husband in "The Furnished Floor" is of the fiercely loyal, and not the pussy-whipped-by-pure-evil, variety.

6) Bells: A fun poltergeist story.  Has nothing to do with popular actor/comedian Richard Belzer.

7) The Avenging Ghost of Kitty Morgan: A pretty great little haunted house/revenge story.  Lures you into a false sense of security with talk of love, than smacks you square in the face with the harsh realities of what huge dicks men are most of the time.


2. Tell 'Em Steve-Dave!: Look, I like Kevin Smith as much as the next guy who is mostly completely sick of Kevin Smith.  I like a lot of his movies, I saw him speak at a college for 900 hours and it was fine, and I used to listen to two or three of the 1,000 podcasts he appears on.  He's great.  I like him.  Whatever.

One of the shows on his Smodcast network, Tell 'Em Steve Dave, featuring Smith's childhood friends Walt Flanagan and Bryan Johnson, along with former fireman/current True TV prank show participant, Brian Quinn, is the only Smith-related thing I'm still fiercely passionate about.  To call it Smith-related is pretty inaccurate, as it is kind of it's own entity altogether at this point.  Sure, the podcast was spun off into a television show that features Smith in its most unnecessary segment--seriously, I would be happier if Comic Book Men was simply TESD: The TV Show, but, I'll take what I can get, and I like what I get--but the TESD crew does their own thing and I've enjoyed it from day one.

The most recent episode features Walt and Bryan only--not even a cameo from willing punching bag Ming Chen on this one--and the tale of Mr. Flanagan taking his 10-year-old daughter to her first concert.  The story is heartwarming and hilarious, and meant a lot to me as the father of a daughter who will probably one day want to be taken to a loud concert by an obnoxious band.  I, like Walt, can't wait to watch Q enjoy her first show.  I hope I have a story half as good.

I don't want to give anything away, because the story is honestly super funny and a great listen, but I will say the highlight occurs at a meet-and-greet with Paramore and the text frontwoman Hayley Williams receives while posing for a picture with Walt's flabbergasted daughter.  A must listen for dads.


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Monday, November 11, 2013

Pinwheel: Educational Puppet Show or Nightmarish Hellscape of Terror?

As I may have mentioned before, we watch a lot of Sesame Street over here at Giant Electric Penguin headquarters.  It's pretty much the only thing my daughter watches on television, aside from the occasional random PBS cartoon or Sunday afternoon football game.  Luckily, Sesame Street is one of the most consistently entertaining programs going.  It's educational, it's funny, and, most importantly, it's got Muppets, tons of adorable Muppets.  The fact that the majority of Sesame Street's citizens are super cute monsters says a lot about Jim Henson's puppet design.  Monsters, who have every right to be creepy, dead-eyed, blood-lusting ghouls, are warm, inviting and downright huggable in the world of Sesame Street.  The same, however, cannot be said for the allegedly "human" characters on Pinwheel, Nickelodeon's (wrong) answer to Sesame Street in the 1980's.  


I don't remember watching very much Sesame Street when I was younger, though piles of evidence to the contrary exist and there have been plenty of times that a classic Bert and Ernie sketch while pop up on a modern day episode and I will be instantly transported to a moment in my childhood that I wasn't aware still resided in my brain.  I do, for some reason, remember watching Pinwheel, although I can count the things I can remember explicitly on one hand (1. The theme song; 2. The shorts about an anthropomorphic sombrero and his donkey companion. 3. The snail with an elderly human man's face.).

Recently, the AV Club ran an interview with R.L Stine, the author of such literary classics as Let's Get Invisible!, Say Cheese and Die!, How I Got My Shrunken Head, Say Cheese and Die--Again! and Ghost Beach and head writer of Eureka's Castle, a non-educational Nickelodeon puppet show whose characters do not inspire nightmares.  I never watched Eureka's Castle, but it got me thinking about the shows I did watch, and one of them was Pinwheel.  So, I headed over to YouTube to check out the opening credit sequence and see how much I could recall.  Apparently, I had pushed most of it out of my head, because, my God, this thing is horrifying.  You can watch it yourself, but be warned, to watch the Pinwheel opening credit sequence is to unlock a door made of stitched-together human flesh with a key made of bones and set your once-sane gaze upon the deepest, blackest pit of Hell.  You have been officially warned:



CAN'T UNSEE!  CAN'T UNSEE!  THE HAUNTED VICTORIAN BOARDING HOUSE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE!  THE HAG THAT THRUSTS ITS UGLY HEAD THROUGH AN OPEN WINDOW AND CASTS A DIABOLICAL SPELL ON AN UNSUSPECTING AUDIENCE OF INNOCENT CHILDREN!  THE NIGHTMARISH MIME GEISHA!  THE PSYCHOTIC DUCK WITH MURDER IN HIS EYES!  THE HIDEOUS GREEN GHOUL BEING DEVOURED BY GIGANTIC, GOOGLY-EYED DEMON BUGS!  THE SNAIL WITH A MAN'S FACE (SURELY ONE OF THE SIGNS OF THE COMING APOCALYPSE)!  THE SUB-CHILDREN'S CHURCH PUPPETS!  THE DEFORMED FRUIT SELLER!  A MOLE...IN A TREE!!!  THE HORROR!  THE HORROR!

Phew.  I'm sorry.  Every time I watch this I have a panic attack.  I was allowed to watch this, man!  I always thought I had a pretty good set of parents, but now I'm not so sure.  What were they thinking allowing me to subject myself to this nightmare?!?

Pinwheel's answer to Bert and Ernie.  They suck.

Pinwheel didn't exactly stand the test of time.  It's nearly impossible to find any good pictures or videos from it online and it's Wikipedia page is sorely lacking.  However, some damned soul took the time to put The Pinwheel Songbook up on YouTube in its entirety.  Clearly, ClassicNickUploads is in league with the Devil:


So, what did I learn from this look back at my childhood?  Well, first of all, non-Muppet puppet shows in the 80's and 90's were, and remain, creepy as fuck.  I don't care how many "former Muppeteers" you have on staff--and Pinwheel had its share--if your puppets look acid-scarred and demon-possessed you will not be remembered fondly.  Second, I had terrible parents who I might actually sue if I can find an attorney willing to take my case.  And three, the first time a lady mime shows up on Sesame Street, and I'm around to see it, it is officially banned from my daughter's "ok-to-watch" list.

Lugi O'Brien and Jake perform the Black Mass


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Monday, November 4, 2013

I Know I Shouldn't Eat Thee: Ranch Dipped Hot Wings-Flavored Doritos


I love chips!  Chips are to me as Kryptonite is to popular DC Comics super hero Superman, in that, when confront by chips, I become powerless to avoid them.  I guess the comparison doesn't really work though, I mean, Superman doesn't eat Kryptonite, that would kill him.  Chip consumption is, technically, killing me slowly, but I think if Superman crammed a handful of Kryptonite into his mouth--a situation I can't imagine ever happening--he'd most assuredly perish instantly.  So, in a lot, if not most, ways, chips are not my Kryptonite, but, rather, my Pac Man-style power pellets.  Yes, that's it.  Chips give me the power to eat ghosts and shit out their eyes.  I just like chips, OK?!?

I also like when chips come in wacky flavors.  I'll try almost any oddly flavored chip once.  A lot of weirdo chips I've taste-tested over the years have become lifelong favorites, and not all that weird when viewed in retrospect.  Of course Herr's should dump a ton of Old Bay seasoning on chips.  That's not weird.  That's brilliant!

Where do Ranch Dipped Hot Wings-flavored Doritos Jacked come into this?  I'm getting there.  Look, I can't resist the siren call of new chips, so when I saw a commercial for the latest addition to the Doritos family, I knew I had to have them in my mouth as soon as possible.  It wasn't the commercial, with its promises of excessive boldness and possible explosions.  It was the name: Ranch Dipped Hot Wings.  There are very few things more appealing to me than a plate of hot wings, unless it's a plate of hot wings accompanied by a cup of cool, thick ranch dressing.  Put these flavors in the easy-to-eat, relatively-unmessy form of a Dorito chip, and you've hooked me.

Let's talk about ranch dressing real quick.  It took me a long time to come to ranch.  It has to do with my general distrust of creamy foods, particularly soups and salad dressings.  I can trace this distaste for the creamy back to a conversation I was forced into in an eighth grade home economics class.  One of my kitchen mates, a large African-American gentleman named Jason, was describing to the rest of us a scene from a pornographic film he had recently watched.  Following a sex session with the film's leady lady, the male actor offered to make her some breakfast and serve it to her in bed.  I don't remember what he prepared as a main course--I like a nice omelet after sex--but to drink, he poured his lover a large glass of milk.  Oh, yes, he also ejaculated into said milk.  Ironically enough, this story did not turn me off milk somehow.  It did, however, make me forever leery of creamy foods.  I don't think I ever believed there was a pornographic actor crouching just outside of my line of sight, stiffened penis in fist, poised and ready to let loose a money shot into my baked potato soup, but something kept me from creamy foods for a good long time.  It wasn't until I discovered how much better cheese fries could be when slathered in a liberal coat of ranch, that I turned a corner on this issue.  So, ranch.

Ranch is the first thing Doritos gets right.  So many hot wing-flavored offerings today include an additional blue cheese flavor.  I don't like blue cheese, so I find this trend upsetting.  Doritos Jacked remedies this by using the far superior wings companion of ranch.  The hot wings component of Doritos Jacked is standard issue spicy, only with a zingy vinegar aftertaste.  The ability to taste every advertised flavor in each bite is remarkably refreshing.

Like any snack though, too much of a good thing usually ends in frustration.  Doritos Jacked are thicker, more toothsome, than regular Doritos, so eating them can be a chore.  A yummy chore, but a chore nonetheless, and if there's one thing I can't stand, it's, well, you know.  Also, I was born without the ability to regulate myself, so, I found myself eating several-too-many chips in each chip eating session, which took away from the novelty of eating ranch dipped hot wings-flavored chips.  Everything got kind of bland and samey and nauseating.  That, of course, is my fault, and not the fault of the corn chip in question.

Overall, I would say that Ranch Dipped Hot Wings-flavored Doritos Jacked are worth checking out if you are serious about snacking.  Or you could just wait for the Ranch Dipped Hot Wings Taco at Taco Bell next year and be disappointed then.  


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Saturday, November 2, 2013

7 Spooky Stories from Old Timey Radio Days

What did you do this Halloween?  Dress up like a slutty Christmas tree and go boozing?  Watch a marathon of streaming horror movies while eating a greasy Tombstone pizza?  Take your kid trick-or-treating and proceed to eat all of her candy while she slept?  Sit in a room and think your dark thoughts?

One thing I didn't get this Halloween was the day off of work (damn this state and it's rampant religious intolerance!).  Can you believe I was forced to spend Halloween in my office, performing the job for which I get paid?!?  Balderdash!  I didn't, however, let this take away my Halloween spirit.  Rather, I devised a devilish plan to bring Halloween covertly into the workplace.  I did this by downloading a virtual pillowcase-ful of spooky stories from the olden days, when families would gather around a radio for their nightly entertainments (see above picture for reference).

I listened to a total of 7 horrifying stories that day, and I thought I'd tell you about them, gentle readers, that is, if you have the guts.  BWA-HA-HA-HA!!!  (To readers without guts because of some kind of medical issue or anatomical anomaly from birth, I mean no offense.  You are welcome to continue reading.  Thanks for visiting the site.)

1. The Spirits of the Lake (The Witch's Tale) (1933)
Host(s): Old Nancy, a witch, and Satan, her cat. (I couldn't tell if the witch was supposed to be a racist depiction of an elderly African-American woman OR an elderly Asian man.  I could tell, however, that Satan was just a dude make cat noises, poorly.)
Key Phrase: "Hunner and five year old I be today.  Yes, sir, hunner and five year old."
Theme Song: comically overlong
Plot: A needlessly mean asshole lives with his rich, sick wife in a mansion on an island surrounded by (mostly) friendly Indians (and water, obviously).  He is convinced by his money-hungry mistress, a "Dutch farmer's daughter" who lives on the same island, to murder his wife, but make it look like an accident so he can inherit her money without any hiccups.  The husband--who is a real obnoxious prick, by the way--takes his wife for a moonlit canoe ride and purposefully crashes into an outcropping of jagged rocks.  As the wife drowns, she calls on the spirits of the lake to punish her whiny, pussy-whipped, dickhead husband.

The husband, now a mostly insane widow, inherits his wife's fortune and marries his mistress.  They return to the island after two years of guilt-ridden wedded non-bliss so the mistress can flaunt her ill-gotten wealth in front of the Indians, I guess, who are endlessly referred to as "Injuns" and "savages."  As you've probably guessed, both parties are dispatched by the spirits of the lake, Indian spirits who were close personal buddies of the wife, who watches, in ghost form, as her husband is drowned by lake slime.
Is it scary?: Lack of quality sound effects rendered this rote tale of beyond-the-grave revenge pretty tame.  It's scary how racist the characters are, however, all of the racists do die, so, that's something. 

2. Under the Hull Tree (Beyond Midnight) (1969)
Host: a fancy British gentleman
Sponsor(s): Bio-Tex ("Just soak!  Just soak in Bio-Tex!"); Grandpa Headache Powders
Plot: Some dude finds a photograph of two familiar people while vacationing in Hawaii.  He proceeds to ask members of the hotel staff the names of the couple in the photograph, but no one seems to recall. He finally reveals to the hotel's on-staff photographer (because that was probably a thing) that the people in the picture are his aunt and uncle who both perished in a deadly train accident the day they left for a planned honeymoon trip around the world.
Is is scary?: It's sweet, but not scary.  Grandpa Headache Powders sound like they work scary good though.

3. Casting the Runes (Escape) (1947)
Host: An excitable gentleman, prone to shouting ("Had a hard day?  Sit back and relax...ESCAPE!!! CAREFULLY PLOTTED TO FREE YOU FROM THE FOUR WALLS OF TODAY!!!).
Theme Song: "sinister-ass music" (that's what it says in my notes...I don't know what that means...)
Plot: After writing a scathing review of Coswell's latest book on alchemy, Edward Dunning is cursed by the bitter author to die in three months time.  The curse is laid upon our hero when Coswell, in disguise as a friendly museum janitor, slips Dunning a scrap of paper with a series of demonic runes written on them.  From that point forward, Dunning is nightly pursued and stalked by an evil, invisible force.  With the help of a man named Harrington, whose brother was Coswell's last victim, Dunning successfully re-routes the curse, and Coswell gets a big old chunk of cement to head for his treachery.
Is it scary?: No, but it is intense.  The train scene is extremely effective.  This was my favorite one of the day.  You should probably just go listen to it right here

This, only with a lot of weird cackling

4. The Blackness of Terror (The Hermit's Cave) (some time between 1936 and 1947)
Host: The Hermit (Think The Crypt Keeper as an excitable old-time prospector)
Plot: A jealous old creep's life of crime is revealed to the daughter he longs to keep all to himself when in his old age, he his haunt-tortured by the spirit of the wife he murdered.
Is it scary?: No, but The Hermit thinks it's hilarious.

5. W is For Werewolf (Dark Fantasy) (1942)
Host: a man who was awoken from a deep sleep just before introducing the program
Plot: A man, his wife and their baby pay an old friend, who has removed himself and his sons from society and moved them to an island (so many islands in these old shows), a visit.  The reason for his hasty retreat from the mainland?  Well, his sons have inherited their grandfather's lycanthropy ("werewolf disease") and he is trying to cure them.  Well, one of them.  The other one is already dead.  Werewolves!
Is it scary?: Werewolf stories don't really work on the radio.


6. The Castle of La Voca (The Hall of Fantasy) (1952)
Host: Shouty, Echo Guy
Plot: A man (who is probably Fred Willard) and his wife are biking through Eastern Europe when they come across a mysterious, triangle-shaped castle.  A weird creep at the local inn recounts the sinister history of the castle and its connection to every major war.  The weird creep leads the couple (one of which is almost assuredly Fred Willard) on a tour of La Voca Castle the next afternoon, where a series of weird occurrences bring about the start of WWII.
Is it scary?: No, but it is historically accurate.
Was it Fred Willard?: Well, I did a little research, and, um, Fred Willard would've been 13-years-old when the "Castle of La Voca" was originally presented, so it probably isn't him.  Unless he's had that voice since age 13.  It's possible, right?
Is it possible?: No.

7. Blood Bath (Escape) (1950)
Stars: Vincent Price (for real; this is not another "Fred Willard Situation")
Plot: Five explorers/businessmen/dicks discover a massive deposit of uranium ore in the South American jungle that they predict to be worth three-trillion dollars.  They agree to split the profits, but the next morning, three of the "friends" awake to find that the other two have made a mad dash for the river in an attempt to rip them off.  One by one, each guy is killed in some gruesome fashion (disease, piranhas, boa constrictor, someone falls of a donkey, I think), and only Vincent Price survives.  He makes it out of the jungle alive and offers to tell listeners where they can find "enough uranium ore to blow up the world" indicating that doing so will create the titular "blood bath."
Is it scary?: A story titled "Blood Bath" starring Vincent Price should be scarier than this, right?  It's got some fun stuff in it though.  And Price is pretty great.

(You can hear all of these stories and tons more at Relic Radio.)


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