FRIGHT FROM THE BINS
Co-Star — The Record Acting Game
Before interactive media, before people thought of yelling at TV and movie screens, before fans stalked celebrities for fun and profit, you had curiosities like Co-Star — The Record Acting Game, which allowed you to drop a needle on an album and act out scenes opposite the last tier of stars from the Hollywood studio system, like Fernando Lamas, Virginia Mayo, June Havoc and Arlene Dahl. Each album was bundled with a script and each record was filled with a lot of dead air over which you, our would-be thespian, would read your lines.
On this audio Acting 101 — the first in a series of 15 albums which also included future Egghead Vincent Price — Cesar Romero went against Latin-lover type by portraying a boring old man putting the moves on a lady barber, a boring dad teaching his son about gun safety and a terminally ill and terminally boring hospital patient. You can't help but wish you were acting opposite Romero in his greatest role as the clown prince of crime — a role he wouldn't even shave off his trademark mustache for: "Nawww, we'll just hide it under a pound of clown white, no one will notice." It's that genius attention to detail, that con artistry that's most sorely missing here. Too bad for you, nowhere in the script do you even get one line as good as "I took the liberty of neutralizing your funny gun with my Bat-Ray!" With hindsight, it's easy to see how every mundane matinee on this platter could be vastly improved with the insertion of a lethal hand buzzer and some maniacal laughter.
And what of the thrift shoppers who snapped up all of these Co-Star albums without the all-important scripts? Think what an empty listening experience this must be for them. It's a lot like psychoanalysis, a lot of uncomfortable silence followed by such non sequiturs as, "Lupe! I thought you were asleep," "You know I keep an open mind" and "You have a gun, you're gonna want to use it." That last one is what could be classified as a breakthrough. —Serene Dominic
DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEK
"State of Emergency"
The Coast Is Clear
Rising Detroit trio MidCoast Most auspiciously evokes Masta Ace while "State of Emergency" spits at national, municipal and social tribulations. Fists in the air. The Coast Is Clear drops June 11 (Pike Room with USM and SelfSays in the house.) See midcoastmost.com.