Loaded with new, informative articles on the coolest and strangest music you never thought you'd hear about, this issue features a 4-color cover, lots of high-quality photos, tons of new wacky and weird CD reviews, and it's more fun than teaching your parrot to sing "Springtime in the Rockies!"

This issue features:


    Our cover feature is a man mostly recognized as the voice of Bugs Bunny, in addition to a long list of cartoon characters that includes Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, the Tasmanian Devil, Woody Woodpecker, and Barney Rubble.

    Besides his ubiquitous voice work for animation, Mel Blanc recorded a number of novelty and children's records throughout his lengthy career. He also collaborated with such Cool and Strange luminaries as Billy May, Spike Jones, and Mickey Katz.

    Walt Mitchell treats us to an illuminating interview he did with Mr. Blanc in 1978, discussing everything from Mel's early days in radio and the dawn of children's records to the various rare promotional recordings and adult releases. It's a fascinating talk with the Man of 1000 Voices!



    While MAD Magazine is infamous for plumbing the depths of humor on the printed page, "the usual gang of idiots" were known to occasionally project their wild satire onto record as well.

    From the late 1950s through the early '80s, a variety of wacky releases brought Alfred E. Neuman to your stereo. Although there were a few full-length LPs, the bulk of the MAD sounds came in the form of cardboard and flexi-disc singles which were included as promotional supplements to the magazine's annual anthologies and quarterly Super Specials.

    Gary Weinraub explores the history of these collectable novelties, and even takes us behind the scenes for one of the last recording sessions, "The MAD Laugh Record," in 1981!


    For over three decades, bootleggers have been offering up rare and unreleased audio treats to eager music fans. Ranging from creatively packaged collections of live concert recordings, demos, and studio outtakes to unauthorized CD editions of out-of-print vinyl LPs, these illegal curiosities have become an intriguing genre of their own.

    Delve into the colorful history of black market releases with Robert Koenig, as he examines not only the intriguing variety of material, but the strange and beautiful cover art that often accompanies them as well.


    Between 1976 and '77, Langley Schools Music Director Hans Fenger took a radical new approach to teaching his students. Rather than utilize traditional children's music, which is often simplistic and con-descending, he chose to introduce them to more complex material from contemporary acts like the Beach Boys, the Beatles, the Eagles, and David Bowie.

    The children's unique performances were recorded by Fenger, who then had souvenir LPs pressed to give to each participant. Several years later, these recordings have found their way onto CD and listeners are discovering the strange appeal of the odd arrangements, massed vocals, and colliding percussion.

    Learn the story behind one of the most engaging releases this year, as Jeff Winner profiles this lost chapter of outsider music history.


    Best known as the hand-over-the-ear announcer on TV's Laugh In, Gary Owens has supplied manly voices for a variety of animated heroes such as Space Ghost, Roger Ramjet, and Ren & Stimpy's Powdered Toast Man. He boasts an impressive resume of work in movies, cartoons, video games, and commercials.

    Columnist Ed Kaz chats with the veteran voice man, and finds out why he's called 'The Rolls Royce of Voice.'



    Classic television lovers will always remember him as Ralph Kramden, the portly busdriver on The Honeymooners. But, Cool & Strange readers should know Jackie Gleason for conducting his lush, romantic compositions and arrangements during the 1950s and '60 on albums like "Music for Lovers Only," "Music to Make You Misty," and "Music to Change Her Mind."

    He inspired a wave of mood music albums for every occasion, and collaborated with the likes of Bobby Hackett, Charlie Ventura, Billy May, and even Salvador Dali. Giancarlo Davis takes us back to the Great One's heyday for a look at the funnyman's musical leanings

Modern Artist Profile:

    As the bubbly British voice behind the groups Lollipop Train and Death By Chocolate, Angela Faye Tillett has proceeded to carve out a unique realm of colorful fantasy pop.

    Her enchanted world is a parade of childlike imagery, bubblegum singalongs, and giddy psychedelia, like the Yellow Submarine on a detour through Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Join Mr. Otis Fodder as he peeks through the candy-colored clouds to find out how her garden grows.


   Anyone who's ever combed through a thrift store record bin has encountered at least a handful of albums bearing this man's name. Often dismissed as bland, easy listening pap, his vast catalog of releases is usually noted mainly for the album covers, which were invariably graced with photos of beautiful women.

    Conniff was a skilled arranger, though, and he perfected a formula that ensured a consistent sound and continued success. He absorbed a wide variety of material into his repertoire, from classical favorites and movie themes to novelty hits and R&B charttoppers. Such tactics helped move over 65 million albums throughout five decades.

    Brad Bigelow confesses his appreciation for Space Age Pop's long-distance runner, and reveals that there's more to a Ray Conniff album than just a pretty face!


    The Motor City has been home to a wealth of music history, so it's no surprise that it offers an assortment of retail outlets for records.

    Should your travel plans include Detroit, let Marty Winters guide you to the choice spots for Cool & Strange vinyl and compact discs.



    The last profile in our trio of famous cartoon voicemen for this issue focuses on Thurl Ravenscroft, the man who's brought life to Kellogg's Tony the Tiger in cereal commercials for over half a century. He's also done voice work for Walt Disney and Dr. Seuss, and his impressive resumé of back-up singing includes sessions with Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Rosemary Clooney, and Spike Jones.

    Meet the guy who's usually heard and not seen, as Steve Pastis chats with one of the gr-r-reats!


    Equal parts comedian and dark philosopher, Brother Theodore was a staple of New York's Thirteenth Street Theater, where he performed his one-man show for decades.

    His odd and colorful career encompassed TV appearances with Steve Allen, Johnny Carson, and David Letterman, roles in both Hollywood and Adult films, and even a bit of cartoon voice work. In a rare interview from 1984, G.S. Stewart sheds some light on this enigmatic monologist of the macabre.



    This issue's Cover-Mania! Photo Spread boasts a colorful parade of children's 78rpm covers, all featuring the talents of the Man of 1,000 Voices, Mel Blanc!

    Check out some great album art from the early days of recorded children's music. Starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker, Tweety Bird, Henery Hawk, and more!

Add to all of that a ton of CD reviews and other goodies, & you've got yourself a cornucopia of

So get on board!
It's gonna be a cool ride through
the wild, wacky and sometimes tacky
world of records!