Richard Taylor "Nightmare", "Horror", "Terror", "Fright" (Major/ Random Records, 1962)
Acting as both an addendum and a slight re-cap of two earlier Scar Stuff posts (feel free to check out my earlier entries on “Nightmare” and “Terror”), here’s the complete 4 LP run of Edgar Allan Poe stories narrated by Richard Taylor. Well, probably the complete run — an additional record entitled “Strange” (Random cat #40) is mentioned on the back cover of some volumes in the series, but I can’t find evidence of it anywhere else (I’d love to be proven wrong here, so if anyone has a copy please drop me a line.)
Mr Taylor’s sketchy profile claims him as “one of the newest sought after ‘thriller’ actors on the scene today”, with producers allegedly finding “his sinister voice mystifying and full of suspense, and in direct contrast to his handsome appearance”. Now this all may well be true, but what really strikes me in his delivery is the breathy, manic and nearly unhinged quality he gives these readings. In the best parts (like when the character is all worked up), there’s a real sense of low-budget madness coming across — kinda like the archetypical creep in the cellar was awarded a recording contract or something.
These LPs were initially issued under the “Major Records” name (here’s an early ad), but over the years could be more commonly found with the “Random Records” logo attached to a generic cover design (hand stamped in the upper left corner with the word “Nightmare”, “Horror”, “Terror” or “Fright”). While these dime store sounding recordings got their start in life at the beginning of the “Monster Kid” boom in the early 1960′s (they were heavily advertised mainstays in pages of Famous Monsters, Horror Monsters, Mad Monsters, Monster World and probably 50 other magazines with the word “monster” in the title), amazingly enough as late as 1981 you could still pick them up in the back of FM for only $1 each. Since I’ve already shown the classic early ’60′s ads on Scar Stuff a couple of times, here’s a slightly more “contemporary looking” variant that ran in Creepy, Eerie & Vampirella after Bill DuBay took over as their editor and changed up the art direction in the early 1970′s.
Oh and one last warning before you get going, side one of “Fright” (aka “the House of Fright”) is missing a few lines right at the tail end, but it really doesn’t detract much from the story, which is a two part adaptation of “The Fall of the House of Usher”.
Okay! Let’s get those “Eerie Midnight Ghoul Parties” started!