During my second grade year I discovered an album in the play area of the classroom called “Scary Spooky Stories.” I’d spend any free time we had in class at the record player, giant headphones on and eyes closed in a bean bag chair, listening to the six, (as advertised) scary, spooky stories. This was my first exposure to commercially produced, audio-only driven horror…and it ignited a love of ghost stories and other horrific, campfire tales in me.
“Scary Spooky Stories” is a 1973 children’s story album adapted by Cherney Berg for the Troll Associates label. The six stories contained sound effects by Barbara Wood and Hamilton O’Hara, with music provided by Jim Timmens. Ralph Bell (you may know him as the Commissioner in WOLFEN), Robert Dryden, and Dan Ocko took turns narrating. While the tales are beyond tame by current standards, I truly loved listening to the album over and over as a kid.
A1: “The Dare” (Narrator – Ralph Bell)
In this tale a kid gets more than he bargained for when he accepts a dare to sit on a specific grave at midnight. When the kid doesn’t show up at school the next day, his friends go to the cemetery to investigate.
A2: “Dark, Dark, Dark” (Narrator – Robert Dryden)
This track is a kind of silly exploration of how your mind can play tricks on you in the dark…or does it?
A3: “Big ‘Fraid, Little ‘Fraid” (Narrator – Dan Ocko)
A father’s attempt to “scare his unruly kid straight” backfires on him.
B1: “Wait ‘Til Martin Comes” (Narrator – Ralph Bell)
A traveler wrecks his car on a stormy night, and seeks assistance at an old, rundown house.
B2: “The Skinny Toe” (Narrator – Robert Dryden)
In a tale that will be familiar to many, especially if you love “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”, a woman finds a skinny toe in her garden, and regrets taking it when the toe’s owner returns for the severed digit.
B3: “The Thing At The Foot Of The Bed” (Narrator – Dan Ocko)
In a nice bookend to the album, a skeptic reexamines his beliefs when he accepts a bet to sleep in a supposedly haunted house.
I know I’m not the only one who remembers this collection of stories, as the album can be found on eBay for sale between $80.00 and $100.00. If anyone would like to listen to them, for the first time or again for the nostalgia fix, the entire album can be heard here:
“The Dare” and “The Thing at the Foot of the Bed” were always my favorites of the bunch. Growing up my friends and I enjoyed telling scary stories, and I’d recount both of those tales. At first it was word for word off the album, and over time I’d change them here and there, slowly making them my own. This helped me hone my own story telling skills, which came in handy when I saw my own unexplained, scary, spooky things years later…
but those are tales for another time.