Friday, October 24, 2014

Your Mental Sorbet: Bobby "Boris" Pickett - Monster Mash

Here is another "Mental Sorbet" little spark of madness that we could use to momentarily forget about those things that leave a bad taste in our mouths.

"Monster Mash" is a 1962 novelty song and the best-known song by Bobby "Boris" Pickett. The song was released as a single onGary S. Paxton's Garpax Records label in August 1962 along with a full-length LP called The Original Monster Mash, which contained several other monster-themed tunes. The "Monster Mash" single was #1 on the Hot 100 chart on October 20–27 of that year, just before Halloween. It has been a perennial holiday favorite ever since.

Pickett was an aspiring actor who sang with a band called The Cordials at night while going to auditions during the day. One night, while performing with his band, Pickett did a monologue in imitation of horror movie actor Boris Karloff while performing The Diamonds' "Little Darlin'". The audience loved it and fellow band member Lenny Capizzi encouraged Pickett to do more with the Karloff imitation

Pickett and Capizzi composed "Monster Mash" and recorded it with Gary S. Paxton, pianist Leon Russell, Johnny McCrae, Rickie Page, and Terry Berg, credited as "The Crypt-Kickers". (Mel Taylor, drummer for The Ventures, is sometimes credited with playing on the record as well, while Russell, who arrived late for the session, appears on the single's instrumental B-side, "Monster Mash Party".) The song was partially inspired by Paxton's earlier novelty hit "Alley Oop", as well as by the Mashed Potato dance craze of the era. A variation on the Mashed Potato was danced to "Monster Mash", in which the footwork was the same but Frankenstein-style monster gestures were made with the arms and hands.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kathy Garver, plus Behind the Scenes of Saturday Night Live: Next on TVC

Actress Kathy Garver and authors Doug Hill and Jeffrey Weingrad will join us on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, airing Oct. 22-27 at the following times and stations:

WROM Radio
Detroit, MI
Wednesday 10/22
8pm ET, 5pm PT
2am ET, 11pm PT
Sunday 10/26
8pm ET, 5pm PT
2am ET, 11pm PT
Click on the Listen Live button at

Share-a-Vision Radio
San Francisco Bay Area
Friday 10/24
7pm ET, 4pm PT
10pm ET, 7pm PT
Click on the Listen Live button at
Use the TuneIn app on your smartphone and type in KSAV
or hear us on the KSAV channel on CX Radio Brazil

Indiana Talks
Marion, IN
Saturday 10/25
8pm ET, 5pm PT
Sunday 10/26
6pm ET, 3pm PT
Click on the player at
or use the TuneIn app on your smartphone and type in Indiana Talks

Pittsburgh Talks
Pittsburgh, PA
Saturday 10/25
8pm ET, 5pm PT
Sunday 10/26
6pm ET, 3pm PT
Click on the player at
or use the TuneIn app on your smartphone and type in Pittsburgh Talks

KSCO-AM 1080
San Jose, Santa Cruz and Salinas, CA
KOMY-AM 1340
La Selva Beach and Watsonville, CA
Sunday 10/26
11am ET, 8am PT
Also streaming at

Boost Radio Network
Paramus, NJ
Sunday 10/26
8pm ET, 5pm PT
Click on the On the Air button at

KHMB-AM 1710
Half Moon Bay, CA
Sunday 10/26
9pm PT
Monday 10/27
Midnight ET
Click on the Listen Live button at
or use the Live365 app on your smartphone and type in KHMB
San Francisco, CA
Monday 10/20
10pm ET, 7pm PT
with replays Tuesday thru Friday at 10pm ET, 7pm PT
Click on the Talk Slot button at

Ann Arbor, MI
Various times throughout the week
on the Entertainment Channel at
Known to Baby Boomers as “Cissy Davis” from Family AffairKathy Garver is also an award-winning, highly sought-after voice artist whose voice has been heard in such films as RansomBackdraftJingle All the Way and the Academy Award-winningApollo 13. She has also narrated such audiobooks as Rocking Horse: A Personal Biography of Betty Hutton, and has won two Audie awards (including one in 2004, for her direction of author Amy Tan reading The Opposite of Fate).

Kathy Garver has a new movie out, Mom, Murder and Me, which is making the film festival circuit after its world premiere in Orinda, California. We’ll talk about that, as well as some of Kathy’s other upcoming projects when she joins us in our first hour.

Also this week: We’ll go “Live… from New York” as we welcome Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad, co-authors ofSaturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, a behind the scenes look at the first ten years of the groundbreaking NBC late night series that began its 40th season on television this fall. Recently re-released as an eBookSaturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live was hailed by the Associated Press as “the best book ever written about television.” We’ll find out why when Doug and Jeff join us in our second hour.
TV CONFIDENTIAL: A radio talk show about television
Wed and Sun 8pm ET, 5pm PT on WROM Radio
Wed 9pm ET, 6pm PT on WYYR: Yesteryear Radio
Fri 7pm ET and PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, and CX Radio Brazil
Sat 8pm ET, 5pm PT and Sun 6pm ET, 3pm PT on Indiana Talks
Sat 8pm ET, 5pm PT and Sun 6pm ET, 3pm PT on Pittsburgh Talks
Sun 11am ET, 8am PT KSCO-AM 1080 (San Jose, Santa Cruz and Salinas, CA)
Sun 11am ET, 8am PT KOMY-AM 1340 (La Selva Beach and Watsonville, CA)
Sun 8pm ET, 5pm PT Boost Radio Network
Sun 9pm PT, Mon Mid ET on KHMB-AM 1710 (Half Moon Bay, CA)
Mon 10pm ET, 7pm PT on The Radio Slot Network
Replays various times throughout the week on the Entertainment Channel at PWRNetwork
Tape us now, listen to us later, using
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and now on your mobile phone via
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Back To The Future Day is a year away.

Monday, October 20, 2014

This Week in Television History: October 2014 PART III

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:

As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.

October 23, 1984
NBC Nightly News aired footage of the severe drought in Ethiopia. 

October 25, 1924
Billy Barty was born William John Bertanzetti. 
Barty was one of the most famous 20th century people with dwarfism. Barty, an Italian American, was born in Millsboro, Pennsylvania. He was a member of the gang in the Mickey McGuire serial of silent shorts (a children's comedy series of the 1920s, similar in tone to the "Our Gang"/"Little Rascals" comedies, starring a very young Mickey Rooney in the title role). In The Gold Diggers of 1933, a nine-year-old Barty appeared as a baby who escapes from his stroller. Because of his stature, much of his work consisted of bit parts and gag roles, although he was featured prominently in W.C. Fields and Me (1976), Foul Play and The Lord of the Rings (both 1978), Under the Rainbow (1981), Night Patrol (1984), Legend (1985), Masters of the Universe (1987), Willow (1988), UHF (1989), Life Stinks and Radioland Murders (1994). 

Barty was known for his boundless energy and enthusiasm for any productions in which he appeared. He also performed a remarkable impression of pianist Liberace. He performed with the Spike Jones musical comedy show on stage and television. He was also the evil side kick on the 1970s Saturday morning TV series Dr. Shrinker.

October 26, 1914
John Leslie "Jackie" Coogan born in Los Angeles, California. 

Coogan began his movie career as a child actor in silent films. Many years later, he became known as Uncle Fester on The Addams Family (TV show, 1964-1966). In the interim, he shocked the United States by suing his mother and stepfather over his squandered film earnings and provoked California to enact the first known legal protection for the earnings of child performers.

To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa