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A Bob Rivers Christmas

 By Paul Rudoff on Dec. 22, 2017 at 12:00 PM , Categories: Miscellaneous , Tags:
Unusual Holiday Songs

This will be the last Unusual Holiday Song post I plan to write, as I've grown tired of the feature and I think it's run its course. I figured I'd go out with a bang by writing about FOUR songs - the most I ever offered in one post.

Bob Rivers is an American rock and roll radio on-air personality in the Pacific Northwest, as well as a prolific producer and songwriter of parody songs, most famous for his Christmas song parodies. In the 1980s, Bob spent almost 6 years at WAAF in Worcester, Massachusetts (in the Boston market), as part of the successful "Bob and Zip" morning show with Peter "Zip" Zipfel. In 1988, Rivers released Twisted Christmas, which was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album was filled with humorous Christmas songs and parodies. My favorites are "We Wish You Weren't Living With Us" (track 3), "Wreck The Malls" (track 4), and "The Restroom Door Said, 'Gentlemen'" (track 8).

Rivers released a second album of humorous holiday-themed music in 1993 entitled I Am Santa Claus (the title track was a parody of Black Sabbath's song "Iron Man"). Track 12 on this album is a spoken-word "The Wizard of Oz" Christmas spoof entitled "The Magical Kingdom Of Claus".

Bob later released three other Christmas-themed albums: More Twisted Christmas (1997); Chipmunks Roasting On an Open Fire (2000); and White Trash Christmas (2002). Bob Rivers' last regular radio program, "The Bob Rivers Show with Bob, Spike and Joe", was broadcast on Seattle oldies station KJR-FM until August 8, 2014, ending a 25-year run in the Seattle market.

For the complete list of Spook Central's holiday song posts from years past, click here. Thanks to Matthew Jordan for making the "Unusual Holiday Songs" title banner that appears at the top of this post.
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IDW Ghostbusters 101 Trade Paperback Book Review

 By Paul Rudoff on Dec. 14, 2017 at 6:37 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, Ghostbusters 2, Books, 2016 Parody Remake

Ghostbusters: Answer The Call (2016). Just the mere mention of the name can cause some people to froth at the mouth. No movie has ever been as polarizing as Paul Feig's disasterpiece. Hell, not even The Phantom Menace - with its "Mannequin" Skywalker, Jar Jar Binks, and Midichlorians - divided its fanbase as much as the "all-female Ghostbusters". If I'm being completely honest, and as objective as possible, I can sum up Feig's film in one word: disappointing. In spite of the way it treats its audience, and especially the loyal Ghostbusters fanbase, I frequently saw glimmers of potential in the film. Of course, the film then (literally) vomited upon those glimmers mere seconds later, several times over. I always felt that if the characters were put in the hands of competent writers, especially ones who love Ghostbusters, that maybe - just maybe - the potential that was there could be realized.

IDW's Ghostbusters 101 trade paperback, which collects all six issues of the same-named comic book series that was released earlier this year, lets us see if my theory is correct, or if the nerd will be keeping the five bucks. Written by Erik Burnham, its a story about the original Ghostbusters (herein referred to as the "Prime Ghostbusters") and their new trainees (the titular "101 Class"), who are visited upon by the the 2016 team (whom Sony wants deemed, the "Answer The Call Ghostbusters"). As is already apparent, this book "corrects" one of the biggest faux pas of the 2016 film - it puts all of the teams together!

Artwork is handled by fan favorite Dan Schoening, with colors by Luis Antonio Delgado and Anna Chher, letters by Neil Uyetake and Shawn Lee, and edits by Tom Waltz. Although I am going to try my best to keep spoilers to a minimum, I will not be afraid to go into detail as necessary. With that in mind, here is your pre-requisite SPOILER WARNING if you read any further.

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I Know What We're Gonna Do This Christmas

 By Paul Rudoff on Dec. 12, 2017 at 12:00 PM , Categories: Miscellaneous , Tags:
Unusual Holiday Songs

In 2007, Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, former writers of "Rocko's Modern Life", created a little animated show for Disney called "Phineas & Ferb". The show is about two little stepbrothers named Phineas and Ferb - what, you thought they were gonna be named Phil and Bob?!? - who live every day of their Summer vacation to its fullest. Through sophisticated computer technology, and a box of crayons, they manage to create every type of wild thing imaginable to have fun each day, all while their sister, Candace, tries in vain to prove to their mother that they're up to such crazy shenanigans. Meanwhile, their pet platypus, named Perry, is really a secret agent, who spends nearly every day away on secret missions against the (not so) evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz - who really should hire a lawyer and sue the agency Perry works for (OWCA) since they seem to be breaking a lot of laws by keeping tabs on every little thing he does in the guise of "stopping him from doing evil things". Is OWCA a branch of the U.S. government?!?

Music plays a big part in the series, and personally, I think the original songs they use on the show are some of the best I've heard on TV since Animaniacs. Disney, of course, made sure that the fan's desire for the music did not go unfulfilled, and that their coffers did not go unfilled. They've released several albums full of Phineas & Ferb music. The first half of the 2010 album Phineas & Ferb: Holiday Favorites contains songs from the "Phineas & Ferb Christmas Vacation" episode, while the second half is all new songs recorded exclusively for the album. While this isn't my favorite Phineas & Ferb album, and I'm very disappointed that there isn't even one Hanukkah song on it - the Isabella Garcia-Shapiro character is, as you could tell from her name, Jewish - I do think that it's a great album, overall. Much better than other cartoon series holiday albums I've heard.

My two most favorite songs from the album are "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" (performed by the cast) and "Perry Saves Christmas" (performed by Major Monogram & Carl the Intern, the two people who give Perry his missions). "Twelve Days" is the traditional song you all know and love, except that each item is tailored to what each character wants, and not the usual list of items. Dr. Doofenshmirtz changes his want on every verse.

1st Day - Phineas: A jet-powered rocket ski.
2nd Day - Candace: Two busted brothers.
3rd Day - Isabella: A sash full of patches.
4th Day - Jeremy: A silver guitar.
5th Day - Dr. Doofenshmirtz: The entire Tri-State Area / A large portion of the Tri-State Area / Two of the three states that comprise the Tri-State Area / One single state / Five golden rings / Promotion to colonel / [feels put on the spot for "one thing that I want from this mythic all-powerful gift giver who only comes once a year"] / Some almond brittle.
6th Day - Baljeet: A kiss from a girl.
7th Day - Buford: More nerds to bully.
8th Day - Major Monogram: Promotion to colonel.
9th Day - Perry: (chatters)
10th Day - Carl: A job that pays me money.
11th Day - Vanessa: My own set of wheels.
12th Day - Ferb: (spoken) One line of dialogue.

"Perry Saves Christmas" is a rewritten version of "Frosty The Snowman", with Major Monogram singing about how Perry saves Christmas from Dr. Doofenshmirtz while Carl the Intern provides occasional commentary. It's listed in the album notes as "Frosty The Snowman (Recorded as "Perry Saves Christmas")", which apparently makes that its official title. I'm guessing that there's a legal issue involved here, just like how Weird Al Yankovic was legally required to title one of his parodies, "Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies*", complete with backslash AND asterisk (source: "UHF" DVD Audio Commentary at 0:35:15).

MP3s of both songs are available below, and the lyrics for "Perry" are available on page 2. The album features the singing talents of Vincent Martella (as Phineas), Ashley Tisdale (as Candace), Alyson Stoner (as Isabella), Mitchel Musso (as Jeremy), Olivia Olson (as Vanessa), Bobby Gaylor (as Buford), Maulik Pancholy (as Baljeet), Dan Povenmire (as Dr. Doofenshmirtz), Jeff "Swampy" Marsh (as Major Monogram), Tyler Mann (as Carl the Intern), Thomas Sangster (as Ferb), Jaret Reddick, Laura Dickinson, Danny Jacob, Aaron Daniel Jacob, Jeff Gunn, Vangie Gunn, and Robbie Wyckoff.

For the complete list of Spook Central's holiday song posts from years past, click here. Thanks to Matthew Jordan for making the "Unusual Holiday Songs" title banner that appears at the top of this post.

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Ghostbusters Cast Spotlight - Tara Charendoff/Strong in Sabrina TV Movies

 By Paul Rudoff on Nov. 28, 2017 at 11:30 PM , Categories: Cast & Crew , Tags:

Welcome to a new feature here on Spook Central, the Ghostbusters Cast Spotlight. Each entry in this series will showcase a cast member of the Ghostbusters franchise - Ghostbusters 1 & 2, The Real Ghostbusters, Slimer!, Extreme Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters: The Video Game, and maybe even Ghostbusters 2016 - in a role that you may not be familiar with. Maybe it will be from a long-forgotten movie, a television appearance before they were a Buster, or some really weird bit part that I'm sure they no longer include on their resume! There is a HUGE SPOILER WARNING if you read this article, as I am highly likely to go into plot details. This first Ghostbusters Cast Spotlight will be a double-length double feature focusing on the two late-1990s Sabrina The Teenage Witch TV movies featuring Tara Charendoff (voice of Kylie Griffin in Extreme Ghostbusters) as "Jellybean Queen" Gwen.

This article is dedicated to Doreen Mulman, one of my best friends, and the creator of the original TOTS: The Official Tara Strong website. Writing about these two movies takes me back to that great period of time in the late 1990s when we first met. Extreme Ghostbusters is what brought us together, but it was our shared loves of animation, voice actors, and horror movies - gotta love any woman that "gets" Elvira! - that made us friends. We would constantly tell each other about the latest appearance of Frank Welker or Tara Charendoff on TV, not least of which was because she ran both of their official websites, which I loved to help with. After Sabrina Goes To Rome aired back in 1998, I actually did two dozen VHS framegrabs and a few audio samples for The Sights and Sounds of Tara section we worked on together. (I never did get around to doing multimedia from Sabrina Down Under, which this article you're reading will rectify.) Doreen gave me the nickname Tiger, which I guess makes me Shiva to her Queen Ezekiel. An appropriate analogy given that we both loved The Walking Dead, and Ezekiel is portrayed by a voice actor (Khary Payton, aka Cyborg on Teen Titans - which also stars Tara).

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Ghostbusters Loot Crate October 2017 Unboxing

 By Paul Rudoff on Nov. 13, 2017 at 11:30 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, Clothing, Toys

If you've been following the Spook Central Facebook page - and if you're not, why? - you'd know that last month Loot Crate, the subscription box service that provides monthly boxes of geek and gaming related merchandise, had lots of exclusive Ghostbusters items. The kind folks at Loot Crate sent me a few of the items, which I will document in an "unboxing" article, as I have done in the past with other mystery boxes.

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In Loving Memory of Joel Richard Rudoff (July 28, 1944 - January 20, 2014)

In Loving Memory of Linda Joyce Rudoff (July 12, 1948 - November 29, 2015)

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