Tag Archives: The Comedy of Terrors

Almanac – March 14

1471 – Sir Thomas Malory died.  English writer, the author or compiler of Le Morte d’Arthur.

Since the late nineteenth century he has generally been identified as Sir Thomas Malory of Newbold Revel in Warwickshire, a knight, land-owner and Member of Parliament.

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1869 – Algernon Blackwood born.  English short story writer and novelist, one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories in the history of the genre. He was also a journalist and a broadcasting narrator.

S. T. Joshi has stated that “his work is more consistently meritorious than any weird writer’s except Dunsany’s” and that his short story collection Incredible Adventures (1914) “may be the premier weird collection of this or any other century”.

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1922 – Les Baxter born. American musician and composer. He composed and conducted scores for Roger Corman‘s Edgar Allan Poe films and other horror stories and teenage musicals, including The Pit and the Pendulum, The Comedy of Terrors, Muscle Beach Party, The Dunwich Horror, and Frogs.

Baxter, alongside Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman, is celebrated as one of the progenitors of exotica music.

In his 1996 appreciation for Wired magazine, writer David Toop wrote that Baxter “offered package tours in sound, selling tickets to sedentary tourists who wanted to stroll around some taboo emotions before lunch, view a pagan ceremony, go wild in the sun or conjure a demon, all without leaving home hi-fi comforts in the white suburbs.”

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Almanac – January 15

1919 – Boston Molasses Disaster: Also known as the Great Molasses Flood and the Great Boston Molasses Tragedy, occurred in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts .

A large molasses storage tank burst, and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 mph (56 km/h), killing 21 and injuring 150. The event has entered local folklore, and some residents claim that on hot summer days, the area still smells of molasses.

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1923 – Ivor Cutler born. Scottish poet, songwriter and humorist. He became known for his regular performances on BBC radio, and in particular his numerous sessions recorded for John Peel’s influential radio programme.

The hallmarks of Cutler’s work are surreal, bizarre juxtapositions and close attention to small details of existence, all described in seemingly naive language. In performance his delivery was frail, halting and minimally inflected. His writing sometimes edged into whimsy or the macabre. Many of his poems and songs are in the form of conversations delivered as a monologue.

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1941 – Captain Beefheart born. American musician, singer-songwriter, artist and poet . His musical work was conducted with a rotating ensemble of musicians called The Magic Band, active between 1965 and 1982, with whom he recorded 13 studio albums.

Noted for his powerful singing voice with its wide range, he also played the harmonica, saxophone and numerous other wind instruments. His music blended rock, blues and psychedelia with avant-garde and contemporary experimental composition.

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1996 – Les Baxter died. American musician and composer, he worked on movie soundtracks for B-movie studio American International Pictures where he composed and conducted scores for Roger Corman‘s Edgar Allan Poe films and other horror stories and teenage musicals, including The Pit and the Pendulum, The Comedy of Terrors, Muscle Beach Party, The Dunwich Horror, and Frogs.

Howard W. Koch recalled that Baxter composed, orchestrated and recorded the entire score of The Yellow Tomahawk (1954) in a total of three hours for $5,000.

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