In 1963 Syracuse television station WNYS asked local audio tape genius Mike Riposo to write and record a pop-flavored jingle — a la The Monster Mash — for the station’s first-ever breakout star, Baron Daemon. Daemon's show was ahorror series built around WNYS’ recent acquisition of a package of syndicated films that included some American International B-level horror flicks.
Riposo hired local group Sam and The Twisters to sing the song and the Bigtree Sisters to back them up. The problem was the girls, who were Mohawk Indians by birth, had never sung rock and roll before in their lives.
The youngest sister, Sandy, was so little she had to stand on a box to get up to mic level.
(My friend Thomasina passed this story along to me and she tells me that the Bigtree sisters were a big deal in Syracuse and Sandra became a rock and roll singer with her own band and worked in theatre in NYC and was a positive influence on young people during the turbulent 60s)
The Transylvania Twist became a local smash hit and the largest-selling local record in Syracuse history and still rises from the dead once a year to kick the Monster Mash’s ass.
"A pound of flesh for 50p"is a sculpture by artist Alex Chinneck. It is a two-storey house built of 8000 wax bricks that was designed to melt over 30 days. the piece celebrates the history of an old candle-making factory situated in the area for a few hundred years.
I love this 3-D pop-up menu that paper engineer Helen Friel designed and constructed for the Art Deco Beaufort Bar at London’s Savoy Hotel. Turning the pages reveals an example of each cocktail offered at the bar.
I remember the paintings of the children with the huge sad eyes that were ubiquitous in the 1960s. Walter Keane was feted for his sentimental portraits that sold by the million. But in fact, his wife Margaret was the artist, working in virtual slavery to maintain his success. She tells her story, now the subject of a Tim Burton biopic. It's fascinating.
Margaret and Walter pose with a selection of paintings in 1965.
Photograph: Bill Ray/The LIFE Picture Collection/Gett