CineSavant Column

Tuesday May 9, 2023



More digressions into strange movie lore from advisor Gary Teetzel:

Herman Cohen’s 1961  Konga  has everything: the subtle, nuanced thespian stylings of Michael Gough; memorable dialogue; the miracle of Spectamation; a giant ape; killer flora.  Only one thing is missing: a song!  Musical sidebar padding often popped up in American-International Pictures of the era. More than a few horror movies just stopped cold to allow some ‘teenager’ to warble a forgettable ditty to be sold on 45’s at your local record store. Who could forget the toe-tapping  “You Gotta Have Ooo-Eee”  from How to Make a Monster, or the soulful  “Eeny Meeny Miney Moe”  from  I Was a Teenage Werewolf?

Konga  originally had just such a number, to be sung by the Jess Conrad character Bob Kenton. It’s a loving ode to Bob’s favorite sweater, and its tender lyrics enumerate the reasons why he wears it constantly in the movie. It’s colored baby blue, you know, like Bob’s eyes. Some people that have closely examined the photo above have been able to pick Bob out of the crowd. It’s because he projects that dynamic ‘James Dean’ quality.

Thanks, Gary.  Although cut from the film, the song was released on record. Listen if you dare:

Jess Conrad: Pullover

Not enough punishment for you?  Here are American-International’s dire rock’n’roll tie-in singles for
Horrors of the Black Museum  and  The Headless Ghost.  Dozens of film tie-in songs — some are pretty good — are linked back at an old CineSavant Column from February 16, 2019.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson