DEAR JERRY: In the early 1960s, in Long Beach, Calif., there was a Wal-Mart type store named Dooley's Hardware, that carried a little bit of everything. The draw for me was they sold brand new 45s for just 25-cents each.
They were so cheap because they were not current hits (those were 89-cents), but leftover ones from past years. Some were familiar oldies and some were totally unknown.
One in the latter category is a two-sided novelty, but not a break-in. All of the music used is original.
Among the characters I recall are Sherlock Holmes, Paladin, Dracula, and a monster. My searches using these common keywords turn up countless results, none of which help.
Is there any way to locate this record?
Don Sardelli, Norwalk, Calif.
DEAR DON: Stores such as Dooley's were a great source for crisp new records on original labels, at a price that made taking a chance on an unknown tune a low risk adventure.
Obviously you no longer have this single, but here's everything you need to know to replace it.
The artist credit reads Buchanan and Ancell - Cast of Thousands, and the A-side title is "String Along with Pal-O-Mine."
Most if not all of that cast of thousands are voiced by Bill Buchanan and Bob Ancell.
Buchanan, previously with Dickie Goodman, sold over a million novelty break-ins in the '50s, thanks to their zany "Flying Saucer" series.
Cella (Ancell), teamed with Buchanan in 1957 for another charted break-in, "The Creature (From a Science Fiction Movie)." In a drastic departure from that format, "String Along with Pal-O-Mine" is a three-act comedy.
It is doubtful Bill and Bob's creation ever made it to the airwaves in 1959. Clocking in at over eight minutes was a longer running time than Top 40 stations would consider playing, no matter how entertaining it might be.
In this case, editing was not a sensible option. Clipping any part of the program would do more harm than good.
So why would ABC-Paramount invest so heavily to produce a record that had virtually no chance of being played?
Perhaps they were influenced by the recent success (December 1958) of Stan Freberg's "Green Christmas," which runs nearly seven minutes.
Maybe they felt broadcasters were ready to program other longer singles, which we now know they were not. Eventually, though, radio came around as we know from two tunes in 1968: Richard Harris' "MacArthur Park" (7:20) and the Beatles' "Hey Jude" (7:11). Despite their length, both were monster hits.
Speaking of monsters …
Side 1 is "String Along with Pal-O-Mine" (Act 1), the flip has "More String Along with Pal-O-Mine" (Act 2), and "Still More String Along with Pal-O-Mine" (Act 3).
Pal-O-Mine is a parody of TV's Paladin, played by Richard Boone in "Have Gun, Will Travel," one of the three most popular shows in the late '50s. The other two are also westerns: "Gunsmoke" and "Wagon Train."
The Transylvania townspeople called for Pal-O-Mine because "that crazy monster is on the loose again." Joining him on the case are Sherlock Homely, his assistant, Dr. Witless, and Igor Bentneck, the monster's best friend.
Since I'm sworn not to reveal the ending, there's no need here for a spoiler alert.
Finding this record (ABC-Paramount 10,003) online one day is likely, though I can't find a single one for sale at this time.
One is bound to be on the market soon, though not at Dooley's for a quarter. Now you can expect to spend $10 to $20 if you want to string along with Pal-O-Mine.
Listen to "String Along with Pal-O-Mine" here
DEAR JERRY: Since I bought his first record, Jack Scott has been one of my favorite singers.
On some of those early records, Jack sang with a backup group, but I can't remember their name.
Do you know who they are?
Jon Wiganowski, Sheboygan Falls, Wis.
DEAR JON: As a fan of Jack's, you probably know he is a Canadian, whose hometown is Windsor, Ontario.
There in early 1958 he hooked up with the Chantones, a Windsor quartet fresh off their own smash hit, "Anne Marie" (Sparton 491).
The Chantones Jack Grenier (lead); Larry Desjarlais (tenor); Jim Nantais (baritone); and Roy Lesperance (bass) back Jack Scott on most of his hits, though are not always credited on the labels.
Here are some of his well-known songs on which the Chantones are heard:
"My True Love"; "With Your Love"; "Geraldine"; "Goodbye Baby"; "Save My Soul"; "I Never Felt Like This"; "The Way I Walk"; "What in the World's Come Over You"; "Burning Bridges"; and "It Only Happened Yesterday."
Of course they also appear on Jack's albums, but are most prominently credited on "The Spirit Moves Me" by "Jack Scott and the Fabulous Chantones (Top Rank 348/648).
IZ ZAT SO? As Jack Scott moved from one label to another, the Chantones not only continued working on his sessions, but their own label affiliation usually kept pace with Scott's.
In 1958, while Jack was with Carlton, the company issued the Chantones' "It's Just a Summer Love" (Carlton 485).
The Chantones' "Don't Open That Door" (Top Rank 2066) came out in 1960, while Jack was selling millions of records for Top Rank.
In 1961, Scott signed with Capitol, and so did the Chantones. The Capitol studio is where the quartet recorded perhaps their best tune, a doo-wop flavored rendering of "Stormy Weather" (Capitol 4661).