|It was 1962 and teen-age America still did the Twist
when Bobby Pickett emerged with the Boris Karloff spoof that has since
become the rock 'n' roll anthem of Halloween:
He did the Mash. ("He did the Monster Mash!")
He did the Mash. ("It was a graveyard smash!")
He did the Mash. ("It came on in a flash").
For over 46 years since, Pickett's goulish glee club has
risen annually from the crypt of Golden Oldies with a fleeting bit of airplay
for the ghosts, goblins and spirits of Allhallows Eve.
Over the years, Monster Mash has sold about 4 million
copies, easily one of the most popular novelty records of all time.
His Karlovian imitation for Monster Mash was born when
Pickett was 9 years old and spent time at the movie theater his father
managed in Somerville, Mass. "I always did Boris," he said.
He used Karloff in his nightclub act in Hollywood in
1959 and 1960. And when he was part of the the group, the Cordials, he'd
often slip in a few impersonations between songs. Boris was the crowd favorite.
So one Saturday afternoon, he and friend Lenny Capizzi decided to write
a song and they incorporated the Karloff impression into music.
They took the song to Gary Paxton, the
former lead singer on "Alley Oop" and Flip of Skip and Flip (Cherry Pie),
who at the time was one of the hottest young record producers in Hollywood.
He coined the name of Bobby Boris Pickett and The Cryptkickers for the label credit.
Monster Mash was released three times.
It reached No.1 on October 20, 1962. It re-entered the
Hot 100 eight years later, on August 29, 1970, and peaked at 91. Almost
three years after that, on May 5, 1973, it made a third re-entry, and this
time went all the way to number 10.