The Caper of the Golden Bulls / The Perils of PaulinePercepto Records
Format: CD (73 min)
The Ghost and Mr. ChickenPercepto Records (PERCEPTO-015)
Format: CD (36 min)
Review: Vic Mizzy - Suites & Themes
4 / 5 Stars
Ok, I'll admit it. My only real knowledge of Vic Mizzy was that he had done a bunch of classic television themes ("The Addams Family", "Green Acres") and some old B-movies I hadn't really heard of that involved people like Don Knotts and Phyllis Dyller. But then I got my hands on "Vic Mizzy: Suites & Themes" and while I still don't know that much about Mizzy, I certainly have a greater appreciation for his work.
This special promotional album covers a large swatch of Mizzy's career, including 13 films and 15 television shows. Beginning with the oft-requested The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, a rather jazzy and kickin' tune, I immediately got a sense of what this album was all about. This isn't a compilation album of your average film composer; this is a compilation album of a whole subgenre of the film industry. Mizzy appears to be a master of thematic material, and every track - yes, every track - is hummable. I even found myself trying to make up words to some of the cues. I don't know why, but it just felt like I could do that.
There are plenty of different styles presented on the album, but all of them have a distinct style that could only be called Vic Mizzy. From the ballroom stylings of A Very Special Favor ("Main Title") to the swingin' 60's sound of The Love God? ("Main Title"), this album has it all. Using harpsichords, organs, guitars, accordions and even typewriters, Mizzy has found a way to get exactly the sound he wants. The "Motion Picture" section ends with a wonderful recording of the "Main Title" from How to Frame a Figg. It's uplifting and has a great beat that you can't help tapping your feet to.
The "Television" section is just as great. Starting with the classic "The Addams Family" and "Green Acres" themes, we suddenly find ourselves with lots of themes from shows I never knew existed. I don't think even TVT Records (in their Tee-Vee Tunes series) had most of these on their albums. I don't think I'll ever forget the music (let alone the title) to "Shakespeare Loves Rembrandt". "Terror on the 40th Floor" is a slightly ominous cue with a lovely romantic type of theme. The album ends with a bonus track: "The Haunted Organ" from The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. It's a very cool creepy version of the main theme, but it just cuts off and lets the album end on a rather abrupt note.
Considering the source and age of many of the recordings on this album, I'd have to say that a lot of care went in to preparing this release. The sound is quite good, and ranges from mono to stereo depending on the track. Even if any of these cues did show up on a previous album somewhere, I seriously doubt that it sounded as good as it does here. A hearty and informative 23-page booklet is included, and provides an enjoyable history of Mizzy's career. The only qualm about the booklet is that when it opens to the middle (where the staples are), you tend to find yourself staring at a poster of Phyllis Diller in Did You Hear The One About The Traveling Saleslady?- with the tagline "It's As Wild As Her Hair!" Truly frightening! The album is available exclusively through Percepto Records at http://www.percepto.com, and I have to insist that you get this album right away. Otherwise, we'll turn Diller loose on you!