Maraca Media-John O'Mara

Freelance copywriter and blogger, shakin' and rockin' it

Tag: halloween

Here’s Johnny with his Halloween radio Riot!

Vampires, werewolves, train rides to hell and…raving about wire coat hangers!!!!!!!

Johnny Maraca’s Rock & Roll Riot was cancelled in January of 2018 because 97.7 the Beach changed its playlist to 1970s and newer music, so my mostly ’50s and ’60s tunes were considered too old.

The one show I always looked forward to creating was my Halloween Riot. I mixed scary classics with obscure but spooky songs and, because it was Halloween, when you can stretch the boundaries a bit…some harder stuff!

And…some clips from The Haunting, Carrie, Count Floyd and The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.

This ran on Halloween, 2014

Segment One

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins–I put a spell on you

Gene Vincent–Race with the devil

Imelda May–wild woman

Chuck Berry–downbound train

Brian Setzer Orchestra–ghost radio

The Clovers–love potion #9

Little Richard–heeby jeebies

Segment Two

Carlos Casal Jr.–don’t meet Mr. Frankenstein

Blue Oyster Cult–Joan Crawford

Johnny Cash–ghost riders in the sky

Billy Lee Riley–flying saucer rock and roll

Jace Everett–bad things (True Blood theme)

Kitty in a Casket–bride of the monster

Segment Three

Alice Cooper–cold Ethyl

Los Straitjackets–Munsters theme

Rob Zombie–Halloween (she’s so mean)

Johnny Fuller–haunted house

Smiley Smith–voodoo woman

Lee Aaron–lady of the darkest night

Vincent Price…saying goodnight as only he could!


Three discs from the Maraca Collection: Chapter Three

Welcome back to another trip through the hundreds of compact discs I’ve amassed over the past 30 years or so. Where I found them, why I purchased them.

Here’s another eclectic trio (you’d be expecting that by now if you had checked out chapters one and two).

The Original Rumble by Link Wray (1990)

I discovered Link Wray, the inventor of the power chord, through two sources. Pulp Fiction, which featured a couple of Wray’s guitar instrumentals on the soundtrack, and my good friend, that drumming mad man (and like me, ad man) Sean Anderson.

Sean and his band, The Black Holes, often played The Rumble during their sets. Guitarist Tom Hilborn would rip through that one, as well as the Ace of Spades.

Mr. Anderson burned a copy of the 23-track disc for me, and I was able to play just about every track on my old radio show, Johnny Maraca’s Rock and Roll Riot.

I’ve also become Facebook friends with two of Wray’s daughters, Belinda and Beth, who work tirelessly to keep their father’s legacy alive. Check out the great 2017 documentary, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World (Wray was half Shawnee).

Touch by Sarah McLachlan (1988)

McLachlan is a gifted singer/songwriter but the tune that made me a fan was one Sarah didn’t write, Dear God.

She covered XTC’s atheist song on The Rarities collection, addressing the big man in the sky with tremendous passion and emotion. Can’t believe in you, and I believed her.

So, I worked back from there, to McLachlan’s earlier LPs Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Solace and Sarah’s debut, Touch. Vox was the single and remains one my favourite tracks by the Halifax-born artist, though I’d say Fumbling Towards Ecstasy is her best record.

Back then I was employed at CFOS and Mix 106 in Owen Sound and the record companies allowed our music director to place staff Christmas orders at reduced prices. So I likely got this one for half price. One of the perks of working in radio, the other being plenty of free food from local eateries (hugely appreciated since radio doesn’t pay so great).

And from the sweet Sarah we move on to…

Hellbilly Deluxe by Rob Zombie (1998)

During my Owen Sound days I was a railing bird at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre, cheering on our local Junior A hockey team, The Attack. My tennis buddy, Gary Morrison, and I bought tickets but chose to stand at the top of the section. Better view, I think.

The Attack warmups were always accompanied by songs chosen by the team and since the players were 16 to 20 years old, that meant current rock. Likely more hip hop these days but I moved to Wasaga Beach in 2007.

When they hit the ice and the menacing sound of Rob Zombie’s Dragula shook the arena speakers I thought, “Wow, what is that?” Off to Music World I went to purchase Hellbilly Deluxe.

It was Zombie’s first solo album after splitting from White Zombie. It had 13 tracks…of course! Superbeast, Living Dead Girl, Meet the Creeper!

My radio show was cancelled in January of 2018 which means I won’t get to create my annual Halloween edition this year. Dammit. Since the program ran on an adult contemporary/soft rock station I resisted the temptation to throw in Dragula.

Too heavy for folks used to hearing Adele and Ed Sheehan…though I did sneak in Rob Zombie’s Halloween (She Gets So Mean) from a collection called Halloween Hootenanny.

Hey, I didn’t call it the Rock and Roll Riot for nothing!

I shall return soon with another chapter. Thanks for reading.




So welcome where the sun won’t shine….

…at the castle of Frightenstein.

If you grew up in southern Ontario in the ’70s you may have caught a quirky sketch comedy series called The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.

I loved it.

Last night, radio listeners on 97.7 the Beach heard my Halloween edition of Johnny Maraca’s Rock and Roll Riot, and I closed the episode with a clip of Vincent Price’s weekly farewell.

“The castle lights are growing dim. There’s no one left but me, and him (the Frankestein/Frightenstein monster)…

When next we meet in Frankestone…don’t come alone.”

frightenThe series was produced at CHCH-TV in Hamilton and ran for 130 episodes, starting in 1971. So I would have been 9 or 10 when I met the man who portrayed Count Frightenstein and many other characters on that show.

I was at the Canadian National Exhibition with my parents when my Mother exclaimed, “Look who it is!”

She grabbed me by the arm, rushed me towards Billy Van and told him I was a big fan of Frightenstein. I’m surprised Mom recognized Van because the actor was usually wearing makeup and ghoulish costumes on the show.

billyAnd he did play just about every role.

Count Frightenstein. The DJ known as the Wolfman, Doctor Pet Vet, Bwana Clyde Batty, Grizelda the Ghastly Gourmet. Van had a gift for impressions and that’s what elevated HHOF above the usual low budget local TV fare.

Horror film icon Vincent Price filmed 400 segments over a 4-day period for a fee of $13,000. His presence made the series even cooler. I mean, House of Wax, The Fly, and all those ’60s adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe stories!

Producer John Bradford had this to say about Price’s days on the set:

price“He would read the script to himself, put his head down for a few seconds and do a single take read on-camera. Next! At one point the crew was exausted by his pace and he suddenly disappeared. Everyone thought he MUST have gone to collapse somewhere. He had hailed a cab, gone to the local beer store and brought a couple of two-fours into the station. We all sat cross-legged in the studio and listened to his stories of Hollywood and Cecil B. DeMille.”

Price said he signed on because he wanted to do something that appealed to kids.

It sure did, especially to fans of monsters and ghosts like yours truly. I was always Dracula on Halloween, and Mom never understood my vampire fixation.

giphyBilly Van was a regular on another CHCH production, Party Game. Basically a TV version of charades. He was also a sketch performer on variety shows hosted by Sonny & Cher, Bobby Vinton and the Hudson Brothers. He died from cancer in 2003 at the age of 68.

Thank you, Mister Van! I will always fondly remember the Hilarious House of Frightenstein and your incredible versatility in creating that weird and wonderful cast of characters.

Happy Halloween to all…may your home be visited by dozens of little monsters, witches and vampires (I live in a condo. We never get trick or treaters but I buy chocolate bars just in case).






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