Happy Birthday, Motherfucker!





:: The Magic Train ::

:: What's My Name ::

:: Lazy Mary ::

I recently bought this and a few other "Funtime" records (as pictured on the back cover) because 1) I like children's records and 2) the fact that I actually owned one or two of these records when I was like 4. As soon as I saw the whimsical illustrations, a flood of memories washed over me and I felt like I needed to take a nap.

At the time, the illustrations (which, to be honest, are the best things about these "Funtime" records) were fascinating to me, but did I "get" the adult aspects of the humor? I think I did. I definitely understood that the characters on the Happy Birthday cover were middle aged, and that it was funny because of that.



In any case, each one of the illustrations on the back cover are eerily familiar to me, and looking at them now makes me want to learn more about the people behind these "Funtime" records. Alas, there is not much to learn. The illustrator's name is Stauffer and it says the cover design is by Hobco Arts, Inc. A quick web search turned up a phone number for Hobco Arts in El Segundo, CA, but fuck, it was disconnected. There are some illustrators named Stauffer, but obviously not this guy.

So we're left with the music. From what I can tell, these records were basically comps of stuff that couldn't have been sold otherwise. There were no copyrights in question and no royalties owed. Releasing these unwanted, leftover children's recordings with the irresistible cover art courtesy of Hobco Arts was a no risk money making venture for Funtime Records, a subsidiary of Broadway whatever.

Whoever the performers were on "The Magic Train", they were definitely the same folks (and probably the same session) that produced "The Chocolate Train" , so you can imagine my delight in discovering this "bonus track". The other songs on this LP are by who knows who?, and are probably best left that way.



I find it somewhat humorous that the headquarters of Funtime Records were located at 901 E. 108th Street in L.A. which is basically in the middle of Watts. Hard for me imagine a white bread record company existing in that neighborhood. But hey, this was at least 5 years before the Watts riots, so who knows what kind of Whitey enterprises were going on in that area at the time. I'd like to think that this is the kind of thing that caused those riots back in '65. Then again, maybe if there were more Funtime type companies in that area, it might have resulted in a whole lot of Peace and Love. And Fun. Yeah right!


Mike
« Home | Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »

Monday, July 17, 2006 6:54:00 PM

You couldn't have waited until my actual birthday on Thursday, Mike? For shame!    



Monday, March 05, 2007 6:25:00 AM

The image on the front of the record cover from "Happy Birthday" is my father and his friends. Hobco was my dad's company when I was a kid and I have a few copies of this record cover myself. The image on the cover is a comical portriat of all the guys who worked at Hobco - I remember some of their names. The one sitting is Norm, he was the accountant, the one with the beanie was Howard 1/2 owner and the one holding the jack in the box was Art the other 1/2 owner. I think the short fat guy is Tom - but not sure. These guys were always joking and were able to play with this record cover and get their images on it.    



Monday, March 05, 2007 11:55:00 AM

Thanks for the info, Anonymous. Tell me more: What kind of business was Hobco? Who was Stauffer (the illustrator)? And most of all, who's the "Brack!" guy?

Mike    



Wednesday, July 04, 2007 11:55:00 PM

Hobco stood for Howard Bierman Company. It was a graphic arts company. I don't remember the name Stauffer, probably an artist my dad employed is my guess. Not sure who you are referring to as the "Brack" guy.    



Thursday, July 05, 2007 11:58:00 AM

That would be the guy whose head is springing out of the box. BRACK!

Mike    



» Post a Comment