Mister Boomer Reflects on Mister Boomer 2012

We have reached the end of another year, so in keeping with tradition, it is time to reflect on the year that has just passed. In reviewing the posts of 2012, Mister B has selected some of his favorites that explored the mission of misterboomer.com and added a modicum of fun to our boomer world.

Without further ado, here are ten of Mister B’s favorite posts — in no particular order — for your consideration. It’s a chance to read some posts that you may have missed, or go back to others that may have spurred some boomer memories during the past year:

Will Boomers Say “Shine On Brightly?”
In the early boomer years, light bulbs were just what they were: a utilitarian device we took for granted. Now that light bulbs are changing for the first time in over 100 years, Mister Boomer reprises the history of the light bulb here and takes a look at our relationship with it through our boomer years.

Builds Strong Lawyer Fees 12 Ways
Hostess Brands, Inc., parent company of Wonder Bread, filed for bankruptcy in January of 2012. Little did we know at the time that the company would fold before year’s end. Visions of Wonder Bread sparked more than a few memories for Mister B.

Boomers Got Silly
At the mid-year point of 2012, boomers marked the 60th anniversary of Silly Putty. Here Mister B relates the origins of the substance and the role it played in his childhood and that of other boomers.

Boomers Saw Their Lives Pictured in Nice Bright Colors
Throughout our boomer years, Kodak was synonymous with photography, but the company went bankrupt in 2012. Mister B looked back at the company’s halcyon days in the boomer years, relating a few Kodak memories in the process.

Boomers in the House: Square Footage Changes With the Generations
A visit to the mature neighborhoods of bungalows, Cape Cods and ranch models of our boomer youth reveals some truth about personal space in the houses in which we grew up. Here Mister B relates the difference between what today’s generation expects in term of home space as opposed to what our parents — and subsequently boomers — expected when they were house shopping.

Where Were You in October 1962?
It was October of 1962, and the air was filled with change and promise. That one month out of that year was so packed with historical and cultural significance that, fifty years later, Mister Boomer looked back with no small measure of awe and inspiration as having bore witness to it.

Boomers Changed Their Perception of Aliens
Mister Boomer finds out that when it comes to space aliens, what goes around comes around. Here he explores how aliens were presented in film and TV throughout our boomer years, and how that related to our expanding understanding of the human condition.

Boomers and Summer Songs: Will I See You In September?
As the summer of 2012 approached, Mister Boomer took a look at the phenomenon of summer songs. Here he relates some of the most memorable ones from our boomer years, and reveals some memories that several have triggered.

Boomers Challenged the Male-Female Status Quo … Slowly
Music has always reflected the era and culture in which it was produced, and there is probably no better example of that than the music of the Boomer Generation. In this post, Mister Boomer explored how women were perceived in our society as portrayed in our music of the day. As times changed and the Women’s Movement coalesced, so did the lyrics of our popular songs.

Boomers Misheard Lyrics Over and Dover Again
A mondegreen can be defined as an unintentional mishearing and misinterpretation of (usually) poem lines or song lyrics that changes the original meaning of the phrase. Here Mister B took a fun romp with some of the most famous mondegreens of our boomer years, and explored what modern technology may mean for the future of misquoting from our favorite songs.

We’ll see you in 2013, boomers!

Boomers Did the Monster Mash

Any boomer can identify the song as soon as the Boris Karloff voice says, “I was working in the lab late one night…” It’s Monster Mash, a Halloween novelty hit that was intended to piggyback on the success of the Mashed Potato and the Twist.

Just eight weeks after its release — on October 20, 1962 — Monster Mash hit number one on the Billboard charts. Its origins came about in a fortuitous fashion for Bobby “Boris” Pickett. Bobby Pickett had aspirations beyond music, and performed his impressions in a nightclub act in Hollywood in 1959 and ’60. As a singer with The Cordials, Bobby often did impressions for the audience between songs. He was known to imitate Peter Lorre, Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, among others. At one gig, Bobby recited the monologue in The Diamonds’ Little Darling in the voice of Boris Karloff. The audience reacted in such a positive manner that fellow bandmate Lenny Capizzi suggested Bobby do more with the impression.

Together, Lenny and Bobby penned Monster Mash to showcase his Boris Karloff impersonation. Bobby slipped a Bela Lugosi line into the song, too, with “Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist.” After the song was rejected by four record companies, producer Gary Paxton’s Garpax label picked it up. Paxton had had previous luck with Alley Oop, a novelty hit in 1957. Bobby recorded the song with a group of studio musicians that some say included Leon Russell and Mel Taylor, the drummer for The Ventures. In fact, Leon was late for the recording session, so he played piano on the instrumental B-side of the 45 RPM, Monster Mash Party. Taylor is not credited on the record but rather, “Dr. Chud.” Together the group made up Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers. The album from which that 45 RPM was culled was called The Original Monster Mash, and was released in August of 1962 — eight weeks from the time the 45 RPM hit number one. For all you rock history buffs, what was the song that was number one right before Monster Mash? Sherry by The Four Seasons. And after? The Crystals’ He’s a Rebel. How’s that for being in the company of rock royalty circa 1962?

Bobby encouraged a dance along with the song, too. It was a variation on the Mashed Potato, only with outstretched “Frankenstein” arms. Ever the ham, Bobby went on TV to perform his one hit wonder. Somewhere along the way, Boris Karloff himself heard the song and loved the tribute so much that he performed “his” part on Shindig! in October 1965.

Monster Mash is the song that Bobby Pickett is remembered for, despite his long career as a songwriter, singer and playwright. But what a memory! The song is still played annually as the unofficial anthem of Halloween music. It has been recorded several times through the years, most notable by The Misfits in 1999, and mentioned in countless pop culture references, including an episode of Happy Days, in horror films, and covered by several bands, including The Beach Boys, who covered it on their Beach Boys Concert album in 1964. Perhaps one of the best ways the song has been remembered is also a blast from the past for boomers: Monster Mash has been used as an astronaut wake-up call on Halloween.

Did Monster Mash catch on in flash to become a graveyard smash for you, boomers?