Thriller (1961) “Papa Benjamin”

Boris Karloff

Boris Karloff (Photo credit: twm1340)

‘What brought you there, Eddie

‘The music.  What else?

And am I gonna use it.


‘Statts, you don’t believe in that coca-doodle-do…

‘As much as whatever you believe in.

‘You’re just down.  And you’re looking for something to believe in…maybe…because of Anne, but not Voodoo, no one can commune with spirits.  The dead are dead.

‘Are they?  You don’t have to believe it, but Eddie…don’t knock it.

‘I’m not knockin’ it.  I just don’t believe in it.  But I do believe in that sound.

‘Now, I’m warning you.  That music is sacred.  To those people, that music is sacred.  Don’t touch it!’

Thriller was a series hosted by Boris Karloff presenting mystery/crime stories and later more gothic/horror.  There was a song of the same name too.  If I recall correctly.  It was marginally popular a long, long time ago.  In a galaxy far, far away.

That song has nothing to do with any of this.  Except that you’re humming it in your head now.  Which is fine.  It’s kind of catchy.  And Vincent Price speaks.  And zombies dance.

Ahem.  Where were we?

Ah, yes, this television show I was watching.

Let me assure you my friends, this is a thriller!

The episode I just watched surely was (thanks to MeTV).  Entitled, “Papa Benjamin,” the episode follows the trail of a man dabbling in things he doesn’t understand.  A musician takes the cheap and easy route.  He’ll be sorr-rreeeeeeee!

Of course he was warned.  They always are.  They never listen.  There is always a cost.  Always.

Nevertheless, John Ireland does what he’s gotta do.  Down the rabbit hole he goes.

The music is powerful.  I don’t think he was ready.  Or perhaps he knew what he was doing all along.  You’ll have to watch for yourself.

SPOILER SCENE! Don’t say I didn’t warn you, but you’ve had since March 21, 1961 FFS.

Besides, we know this story already.  Don’t we?  It’s all in the telling.

This version has great classic American gothic elements.  It’s like Jennifer’s Body meets Inception in the bowels of a great Jazz joint.  OK, maybe not.  Maybe so.

Just groove with it, baby (sorry about that embedding thing….*youtube rant*)

From the YouTube description:

VOODOO RHAPSODY composed by PETE RUGOLO. From the “Papa Benjamin” episode of THRILLER (1961) starring John Ireland and Jeanne Bal. VOODOO RHAPSODY features Latin percussion; Milt Bernhart (trombone), Bud Shank (flute) and Bob Cooper (tenor sax) solos; and brass work (dig that George Roberts bass trombone!) reminiscent of Pete’s years with STAN KENTON. [The THRILLER soundtrack album has a different arrangement of this chart called VOODOO MAN]

About I.M. Pangs

digital verbal smog creator
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