CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, a “monk for the modern age” by George Parker, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is OneLetterWords.com.
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July 18, 2019 (permalink)

From Lustige Blätter, 1900.
#vintage illustration #art #piano #weird music #lol
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July 5, 2019 (permalink)

Other Songs of the Haunted Mansion:

Modern Music Possessed By 999 Happy Haunts

Have you ever heard a song you could swear was somehow enkindled by the Disneyland's Haunted Mansion?  Besides via a supernatural hunch, how can one scientifically qualify a "Grim Grinning Ghosts"-inspired song?  Unless it's an outright cover version, melody alone isn't quite enough, for any musician will alter the tune at least sufficiently to avoid a lawsuit while still paying homage to a beloved inspiration.  Nor is a dirge-like pace a sure sign, as the Haunted Mansion ride-through features both slow and fast renditions.  Yet there are several elements that, when taken as a whole, may point to a conscious or perhaps even unconscious tribute to Buddy Baker's famous theme:

  • chords lasting two beats of a 4/4 measure
  • instrumentation proper to a spooky mansion seance or "swinging wake" (organ, harpsichord, tuba, tubular bells, spirit trumpet, tambourine, harp)
  • an unnaturally minor key (the word "unnatural" is required here because of course in musical notation a "natural" note is not flatted.  Does that, eerily, by definition, make all minor keys "unnatural"?  Lest we forget, in the uncanny notation of the vibrational realm, there's such a thing as "C sharp flat," which a mortal might mistake for a garden variety "C" but which, mysteriously, isn't -- every context creates another side of the veil).
  • a progression from A minor to B major
  • X number of notes corresponding to the original Buddy Baker melody ("X" in honor of X. Atencio, obviously).

Let's consider two examples, one funereal and the other New Orleans-style.

The Swedish band Ghost records theatrical, campy-horror rock.  Their song "Monstrance Clock" (2013) has their typically gothic, satanic themes (unsubtly, black candles and pentagrams feature in the lyrics), but, as Thurl might say, "Listen!"  The first eight beats of Buddy Baker's melody are reproduced identically, with some flourishes added to the second bar.  (At 17 seconds into "Monstrance Clock," a Haunted Mansion bass line is unmistakable; an electric guitar plays two-beat notes like an organ.  Here's a Youtube link to the audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCkoIEbjbsM).  In our illustration, we've jotted in blood-curdling blue ink Ghost's spirit-doubling of Baker's original score.

 

Given the gloomy lyrics and the note-for-note mirroring (even in the same key as Baker's original), we're confident that Ghost's song is a deliberate homage to the Haunted Mansion and is meant to evoke that sinister atmosphere from moment one.

Speaking of invocations, the German band BerlinskiBeat seeks to summon the Roaring Twenties back to life, and in their song "Nacht in Berlin" (2012), we hear an upbeat "swinging wake" of the jazz age, complete with harpsichords and spirit trumpets.  (Note especially the brass bass line in the final chorus, beginning at the 2:25 mark.  The vocals through the song are very much in the tempo and spirit of "Grim Grinning Ghosts" as well.  Here's the official video, just for the audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNNqOQy0fV8).  Each note of their melody line aligns to Buddy Baker's chord progressions -- not always exactly the dominant melody line from the Haunted Mansion, but always within Baker's realm.  (It's as if BerlinskiBeat has taken a spirit from the Haunted Mansion and created, in turn, their own Pepper's Ghost projection of it -- their spirit dances along with the original in perfect time but is perceived from a different angle and hence comes across as a separate manifestation.)  Even an untrained listener's ear will pick up on the harmonic interweaving and detect echoes of the Haunted Mansion in a seemingly unrelated melody.  Put another way, Baker created a mathematical formula in his composition, and BerlinskiBeat's music is a corollary of it.  In our illustration, we've jotted in bayou blue BerlinksiBeat's levitation of Baker's second bar.  Like a sheet ghost, the contours of the sonic shape remain basically the same.  To reiterate, the raised notes augment the pre-existing Baker chords.

 

Whether or not BerlinskiBeat has created a deliberate homage is an occult question.  We might lean toward there being an unconscious inspiration in this case -- the composers were aware of Buddy Baker's melody, though perhaps distantly, and the original theme very literally haunted their own.

What Haunted Mansion-inspired songs have interpenetrated your world?

 

 

#haunted mansion #music #grim grinning ghosts #ghost band #berkinskibeat #homage
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June 28, 2019 (permalink)

From Le Charivari, 1846.
#vintage illustration #music #stars #musical notation #shooting star #treble clef
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June 26, 2019 (permalink)

From The Judge, 1912.
#vintage illustration #art #faces in things #musician #face the music #musical face
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June 21, 2019 (permalink)

We find that flatbread has the most flats.
From The Link, 1964.
#vintage illustration #music #bread
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June 18, 2019 (permalink)

From the University of Wisconsin's 1919 yearbook.
#vintage illustration #musical notes #vintage yearbook #tiny women
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June 9, 2019 (permalink)

"Never be flat, sometimes be sharp, but always be natural."  From Peace Institute's 1920 yearbook.
#vintage illustration #vintage yearbook #musical score #motto #be natural
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June 5, 2019 (permalink)

From Lustige Blätter, 1904.
#vintage illustration #musical notes #art #musician #music lover #forehead #wrinkles
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May 27, 2019 (permalink)

From Le Charivari, 1846.
#vintage illustration #musicians #violin
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April 30, 2019 (permalink)

We formally call upon Unklejam to reunite and cover Jamiroquai's "Automaton."  See Unklejam's "What Am I Fighting For?" video for all the evidence you'll need to support this cause fervently.  Much as we adore Jamiroquai's original, imagining Unklejam on vocals is irresistible.
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April 27, 2019 (permalink)

From Lustige Blätter, 1904.
#vintage illustration #musical notes #art #birds #electrical pole
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April 25, 2019 (permalink)

From Lustige Blätter, 1904.
#vintage illustration #musical notes #art #antelope
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April 19, 2019 (permalink)

From Lustige Blätter, 1904.
#vintage illustration #transformation #art #musical note #singer
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April 18, 2019 (permalink)

You've heard of tuning forks.  This one, "dolce," is for desserts.  From Lustige Blätter, 1904.
#vintage illustration #musical notes #art #tuning fork #fork
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March 30, 2019 (permalink)

"The Black Cat," rendered into English.  From Wide Awake, 1884.
#vintage illustration #cat #art #sheet music #musical animal
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March 15, 2019 (permalink)

From Krokodil, 1956.
#vintage illustration #anthropomorphism #art #piano #faces in things
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March 4, 2019 (permalink)

From Krokodil, 1958.
#vintage illustration #art #cello #musician #cheating
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February 26, 2019 (permalink)

From Le Rire, 1917.
#vintage illustration #art #music #cornucopia #tuba
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December 11, 2018 (permalink)

From Jugend, 1914. 
#vintage illustration #cherub #art #music #cooking
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November 10, 2018 (permalink)

From Harper's Young People, 1888.
#vintage illustration #musical notes #anthropomorphism #art #muse #singing
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Original Content Copyright © 2019 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.