Tapioca Tundra

In honor of the recently departed Michael Nesmith, one of the Monkees' weirder songs.

Reasoned verse some prose or rhyme
Lose themselves in other times
And waiting hopes cast silent spells
That speak in clouded clues
It cannot be a part of me
For now it's part of you
Sunshine, rag time, blowing in the breeze
Midnight looks right standing more at ease
Silhouettes and figures stay
Close to what he had to say
And one more time the faded dream
Is saddened by the news
It cannot be a part of me
For now it's a part of you

Posted By: Paul - Sun Dec 12, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Fey, Twee, Whimsical, Naive and Sadsack, Music, Surrealism, 1960s

The Onstage Death of Leonard Warren

Article source: Wilkes-Barre Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) 05 Mar 1960, Sat Page 2

As his Wikipedia page summarizes:

on March 4, during a performance of La forza del destino with Renata Tebaldi as Leonora and Thomas Schippers conducting, Warren suddenly collapsed and died on stage. Eyewitnesses including Rudolf Bing reported that Warren had completed Don Carlo's Act III aria, which begins Morir, tremenda cosa ("to die, a momentous thing"), and was supposed to open a sealed wallet, examine the contents and cry out "È salvo, o gioia" (He is safe, oh joy), before launching into the vigorous cabaletta. While Bing reports that Warren simply went silent and fell face-forward to the floor,[3] others state that he started coughing and gasping, and that he cried out "Help me, help me!" before falling to the floor, remaining motionless. Roald Reitan, singing the Surgeon, was on stage with Warren at the time of his death, and attempted to render aid.[1]

Posted By: Paul - Sun Dec 05, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Death, Music, Noises and Other Public Disturbances of the Peace, 1960s

Tinkerbell’s Mind

Bob Crewe had a master plan for the group, 'the Glitterhouse', who had been on his payroll for almost a year at the time that their first recordings came out. Crewe envisioned a one-two punch! Hit them with the 'Barbarella soundtrack album and then two months later, the Glitterhouse album, 'Color Blind'! Superstardom was surely around the corner at last for the now warehoused Glitterhouse. Big hits and big concerts? Barbarella' the single, did not happen for the Glitterhouse. The soundtrack album had some success but didn't seem to translate into any recognition for the band. The presence of the Glitterhouse was downplayed on the record and it seemed mostly a showcase for Bob Crewe and Charles Fox. The release of 'Color Blind - First Edition' was quick & quiet. A single from the album, 'Tinkerbell's Mind' made the top 50 in NYC, but died elsewhere. Any publicity was small indeed, and the band was never put out on the road or to play live. About four weeks after the release of 'Color Blind', when it was clear that the single had bombed, the Glitterhouse were taken off their meager salary, given no gigs and told to make do. Crewe had the band do some new demo's but there was also tension in the band. So, the Glitterhouse, attacked from without and within soon broke up and were readily released from their record label. One can only theorize about why the Glitterhouse were treated so shoddily by Crewe and his label. The Glitterhouse were a great live band that was never given an opportunity to play live. Crewe's company also managed them. Perhaps the label couldn't deal with a white sounding pop band fronted by a Black man. Who knows?

Posted By: Paul - Fri Dec 03, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Forgotten Figures and Where Are They Now?, Music, Psychedelic, 1960s

Crazy People

Could be the WU theme song.

Info from wikipedia:

The Boswell Sisters were an American close harmony singing trio of the jazz and swing eras, consisting of three sisters: Martha Boswell (June 9, 1905 – July 2, 1958), Connee Boswell (original name Connie, December 3, 1907 – October 11, 1976), and Helvetia "Vet" Boswell (May 20, 1911 – November 12, 1988). Hailing from uptown New Orleans, the group was noted for their intricate harmonies and song arrangements featuring numerous effects such as scat, instrumental imitation, ‘Boswellese’ gibberish, tempo and meter changes, major/minor juxtaposition, key changes, and incorporation of sections from other songs. They attained national prominence in the United States in the 1930s during the twilight years of the Jazz Age and the onset of the Great Depression.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 13, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Music, 1930s

“Sweet Blindness:”  Your Choice

Which version do you prefer? Nyro's original bouncy and exuberant one? Or Minelli's "improved" manic and hyper non-stop whirlwind one?

Posted By: Paul - Sat Nov 13, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Music, Television, Homages, Pastiches, Tributes and Borrowings, 1960s

The man who could read record grooves

Dr. Arthur Lintgen had an unusual talent. By looking at the grooves on a vinyl record, he could identify what the recording was. Within limits. It had to be classical music (no rock 'n' roll), preferably from the time of Beethoven up to the present. And it had to be a complete recording. Not an excerpt. But within those parameters, he was pretty much flawless.

You can see him in action in the clip below.

Some more info from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Aug 5, 1980):

Is it possible for a man to look at the grooves of a long-playing record and tell you what the music is?


My editor broke out in laughter. Colleagues howled with scorn. I just smirked a little.

Laugh no more, lest Arthur B. Lintgen M.D. make you chew on your ridicule and swallow every smirk. Lintgen indeed possesses this astonishing talent. Its value, granted, is dubious in terms of mankind's future — nothing like a cure for cancer or a peace formula for Palestinians.

But if you cherish astonishment for its own sake, then watch Lintgen first as he fondles a record, holding it perpendicularly at nose level, frowning at its surface, and then as he looks up smiling brightly: "Why, yes. This is a favorite of mine, the Rachmaninoff Second Symphony."


[Lintgen] shies away from the pressures of a betting situation, preferring to keep his "eccentric hobby" an affair for friends and family. He is also quick to point out that his prowess is not universal, and that there are ground rules and limitations to what he can do.

First, the music must date from the time of Beethoven up through the present, the avant-garde excluded. Lintgen cannot precisely identify music he does not know or has no sympathy for. Secondly, no solo instruments or chamber music — where groove patterns, he says, fluctuate too widely to be read. Thirdly, he must know if the recording is a complete work with a fixed number of movements. No excerpts, please.

What then follows seems to be a combination of musical and technical erudition, some inspired deductive reasoning, and something else I am at a loss to isolate — perhaps a gift not unlike the sense of perfect pitch possessed by many gifted musicians.

The Haydn Symphony, No. 100 is outside Lintgen's prescribed ground rules (too early), but we asked him to look at it anyway. The process was illuminating.

• The four bands on the record surface suggested to him the four movements of the classical symphony. This was reinforced by the patterns on band three which indicated to him the A-B-A minuet form of this genre.

• The mirror-like ⅜-inch beginning the side told him "slow, quiet introduction" for which Haydn symphonies are noted. Grooves reveal to Lintgen nothing about pitch, but they do seem to tell him a great deal about volume, timbre, and movements. "Haydn," he determined finally. "I don't know which one."

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 11, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Human Marvels, Music, 1980s

The Gramocar or Record Runner

The Gramocar has gone under a variety of different names: Chorocco, Record Runner, Soundwagon, and Vinyl Killer. But I like Gramocar the best.

It was invented in the 1970s by a team at Sony who had the idea that instead of playing a vinyl record by spinning the disc and keeping the needle stationary, it would be possible to keep the disc stationary and move the needle. They designed the moving needle as a miniature VW van, with built-in speakers, that drove in circles around the surface of a record.

Sony got a patent on the invention (US4232202) but was initially reluctant to manufacture it, saying, "We are a hi-fi company, not a toy company." But they changed their mind, and some were sold in Japan. In that way, the Gramocar gained enough of a following that other manufacturers eventually began making them. And you can still buy one today at

More info: New Scientist - Feb 5, 1981

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 08, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Music, Technology, Patents, 1970s, Cars

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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