Thursday, October 28, 2010

Al Caiola: Experiment In Terror

Today’s post might not mean much to anyone who lived outside the Greater Pittsburgh area; however, anyone who happened to live in the Steel City between 1963 and 1983 will remember Al Caiola’s interpretation of Henry Mancini’s “Experiment in Terror.” During those years, Bill Cardille utilized the song as the theme for his ever popular Saturday night creature features called Chiller Theater.

Last year at this time, I featured some clips on Chilly Billy and his cast of regulars from a 1993 reunion show. If you missed these last year, you’ll find them posted here. It is because of this two pronged connection – the odd; the macbre; the downright silly antics on WIIC – the ones to watch in Pittsburgh, that we have a Halloween feature on TV Thursday.

Henry Mancini’s Original

For continuity’s sake, I am including Henry Mancini’s original version of “Experiment in Terror.” Mancini also had Pittsburgh connection, as he grew up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Aliquippa. The original version came from the 1962 movie of the same name and is slower and more eerie than Al Caiola’s guitar and King Curtis’ saxophone that conjures up images of maniacal laughter.

With the exception of the string arrangement that is reminiscent of a late 50s or early 60s detective drama, the remainder of Mancini’s instrumentation, especially the prepared piano and baritone guitar, makes his version a little more frightful.

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