Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1950′s Record Coasters

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These little hard plastic record coasters were all the rage in the 1950′s and 60′s when 45′s and 33-1/3′s were blasting from hifi’s all over the world and Tom Collins, Manhattans and Hi Balls were resting on them as everyone did The Jitterbug and Stroll, topping it off with The Twist.   Some of the coasters were just cheesy versions of records featuring hit drinks:

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Others used them as an advertising tool:

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All of them came in handy little record jackets:

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They were cute and practical as water rings no longer ruined blond wood kidney shaped tables and other groovy Atomic furniture the drinks were set upon.

I had a set of these last night with me in the recording studio so I didn’t leave rings on the mixing console. Although we’re not holding our drinks or displaying our coasters they were there in full force. I wanted my mind in peak enjoyment mode as I got to hear/produce Fantasia recording my song, “I’m Here” from my musical, The Color Purple, LIVE with a 40 piece orchestra.

fantasia,aw,im-here_6984(L-R) Frank Filipetti (engineer), Brenda Russell (my co-writer/ co-producer), Stephen Bray (co-writer/ co-producer), Joseph Joubert (arranger, conductor), Fantasia, Greg Phillinganes (keyboard player extraordinaire) and me (co-writer/ co-producer).

I’ve been collecting these coasters long enough that I could have brought one for everyone but the night was about making music and not decorating so the bulk of my stash stayed safely at home awaiting the next cocktail, Slurpee or Vernors to be placed upon it.

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Categories: Advertising/ Promotion, Drink, Furniture and Housewares, LPs, Memorabilia, Music, Songwriting, The Color Purple

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THE COLOR PURPLE coming back to LA. Feb. 10-28

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Fantasia as Celie. Fantastic cast, many from the original Broadway production. Five years of my life into the making of this baby. I’m very proud of it. If you’re in LA come to the Pantages.

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Categories: Afro, Art, Awards, Book, Celebrity, Civil Rights, Creativity, Dance, empowerment, Hats, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Los Angeles, LPs, Music, Nature, Self expression, Songwriting

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Maya Angelou, “Miss Calypso”

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Right, the first thing that hits your lips when you think of Maya Angelou is that she’s “Miss Calypso”. But in her early days the prophet poetess was a chanteuse in a slinky red dress back-bending under the limbo bar. This Liberty LP was recorded at The Keyboard club in Hollywood in 1956. Angelou’s Afro-Cuban-with-a-pinch- of -Blues-and-Jazz standards include “Scandal In the Family”, “Mambo In Africa”, “Donkey City” and “Stone Cold Dead In The Market”, the first two of which she wrote.

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Categories: Afro, Celebrity, Dance, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, LPs, Music, People, Self expression, Songwriting

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – “Karatist Preacher” Deals God’s Power In One Mighty Blow

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Man of greased-Beatles-bowl-haircut and beauty-parlor-cape-karate suit chops styrofoam looking concrete blocks in efforts to deliver the mighty message of God. But 14 slices of prime LP cheese in the name of the Lord later, Crane is the real deal, a Preacher and master of Kung-Fu and Karate for 45+ years with a 10th degree black belt equivalency. 
Called ‘the hard-headed preacher’ for his talent of breaking things like 1,950 pounds of ice using only his body, Crain is also famous for his “Human Sandwich of Death” feat in which he broke a 1,675 pound concrete slab with a 20-pound sledge hammer while laying between two beds of nails with the concrete on top. But the Karatist Preacher is perhaps best known for his samurai skills, sending Michael Jordan to the hospital for three stitches after his sword slipped while slicing a watermelon laying on Jordan’s stomach. No lie. 
In the ultimate master business plan Crain uses Kung-Fu and Karate to attract an audience to the church sponsoring him and then follows his martial arts demonstrations by preaching the Gospel that started with this amazing LP.

Man of greased-Beatles-bowl-haircut and beauty-parlor-cape-karate suit chops concrete blocks in efforts to deliver the mighty message of God. But 14 slices of prime LP cheese in the name of the Lord later, Crane is the real deal, a Preacher and master of Kung-Fu and Karate for 45+ years with a 10th degree black belt equivalency. 

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Categories: Cheesy LPs, empowerment, Forgot to Categorize, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, LPs, Music, Religion

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Michael Jackson Beat It Doll

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I only met Michael Jackson once. It was 1980 and I was at Hollywood Sound recording with Earth Wind & Fire and he was working in the room next door. This was before Billy Jean shot him into the stratosphere but Michael Jackson was still a music God. He walked over to me but as he gave me a big grin and very gentle almost-handshake someone burst into the studio and said Richard Pryor had set himself on fire. Everyone just froze and I quietly slipped out of the room. Those old school recording studios are as soundproof as tombs but I could hear all the commotion in the lobby as he ran out.

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Categories: Afro, Art, Bubbles the artist, Celebrity, Creativity, Dance, Games, Holidays, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Los Angeles, LPs, Memorabilia, Music, Party

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Beautiful Outfits For A Sunday Morning

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Not sure what kills me most about this Christian Crusaders LP cover: The guys’ matching shirts, ties and Good Humor pants, how the spaghetti-thin flip-adorned female’s 70′s rug-like skirt misses the color scheme completely, the arrangement of flesh under the large guy’s pants, the twists and turns of his greased hair helmet and pork chop sideburns, the mystery of the exact size of the scrunched up guy on the ledge or that this religious LP features “The Monkey Song”. If the Christian Crusaders and Al Davis sound anywhere as good as they look we’re all in for a joyful noise!

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Categories: bad art, Cheesy LPs, Clothes, Hair, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, LPs, Music, Religion

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Geraldine & Ricky “Trees Talk Too!” LP

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Long before I co-wrote the musical The Color Purple, in which trees are a powerful symbol, I believed these lumber providers were among nature’s most powerful species. But I never knew they could talk. Geraldine Murray, who claims God delivered her the gift of ventriloquism while she was asleep at age 14, apparently felt differently. Her wooden friend, Ricky’s, voice could make your ears bleed, perhaps causing the tree, well actually shrubs, they’re sitting in front of to creak loud enough for Geraldine to interpret it as speaking.

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Categories: Cheesy LPs, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, LPs, Music, Nature, Religion

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Be The Beatles!

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The only thing cheesier than the background vocals on these Beatles-meet-Lawrence Welk soundalike tracks is the shape of the wigs and amount of arrows that are used to lead your eye across the overcrowded cover. What plus what equals what? Pre-karaoke at its best.

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Categories: Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, LPs, Memorabilia, Music

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