Mr. Mixtape-ptlk, Track #10: You Can Get Him – Frankenstein by The Castle Kings (1961)


There's nothing like an old school, rock 'n' roller about monsters battling it out to get everyone movin' on the dance floor. Well, except for me, of course, because hitting the dance floor is just not my style. But I don't mind spinning the platters for you at Halloween.

You Can Get Him – Frankenstein, a single released in 1961 by the Castle Kings on Atlantic Records, is a great party tune with a chorus made for singing along. The people behind the record certainly had a knack for such tunes. Two of the song's published co-writers were Phil Spector and Ahmet Ertegun. Neither one should need any introduction to anyone by this point, but just in case you've had your head locked in a box, Ertegun co-founded Atlantic Records and was responsible for discovering and launching scores of artists over a 60-year career. Spector, besides being a murderer and a nutcase, is quite simply one of the most innovative and important songwriters and record producers in history.

More importantly to our purposes here, the third songwriter, Ed Adlum, went into the movie business after his band, the Castle Kings (for whom he played guitar), broke up after releasing only two singles with Atlantic. In 1972, he co-wrote, produced, and directed Invasion of the Blood Farmers, which is just about as appetizing a film as its title makes it sound. But that film is equalled by his next film, Shriek of the Mutilated, in 1974. While Adlum only produced and co-wrote Shriek, I like that terrible film just a little bit better than Blood Farmers because of one factor: the all-important monster quotient. Shriek of the Mutilated has a Yeti. A man in a really horrid looking Yeti costume, but a Yeti nonetheless.

You Can Get Him – Frankenstein definitely fulfills the monster quotient as well. But before we dig into that, let's listen to the song and check out the lyrics below...



You Can Get Him – Frankenstein by The Castle Kings
(Ahmet Ertegun, Ed Adlum, & Phil Spector)
Atlantic Records 2107

"Well, you can get him, Frankenstein
You can get him, Frankenstein
You can save that girl of mine
You can get him, Frankenstein
Ohhhh, you can get him, Frankenstein

Well, here comes my baby walkin' down the street
She looks so pretty and she looks so neat
A Wolf Man comes from behind a tree
A Wolf Man howling, "Ahhh-weee!"
I ran to the phone and I put in a dime
I called my good friend Frankenstein

Well, you can get him, Frankenstein
You can get him, Frankenstein
You can save that girl of mine
You can get him, Frankenstein
Ohhhh, you can get him, Frankenstein

Well, my baby called me up in the middle of the night
Dracula was messin' in the pale moonlight
Vampires, bats and rats and all
She said, "Help, help", that's why I called
She said, "You'd better call Transylvania 999
And dig my good friend Frankenstein"

Well, you can get him, Frankenstein
You can get him, Frankenstein
You can save that girl of mine
You can get him, Frankenstein
Ohhhh, you can get him, Frankenstein

[Sax solo]

Well, I called my baby on the telephone
Her mama said she was not at home
I called Transylvania 999
I got no answer from Frankenstein
I switched on the TV to Channel 9
There was Frankie and Susie doin' the pony time

Well, you done got her, Frankenstein
You done got that girl of mine
You done got her, Frankenstein
You done got that girl of mine
Frankenstein (Frankenstein)
Frankenstein (Frankenstein)
Bring me back that girl of mine

Hey, Frankenstein, bring me back that girl of mine"

I have always found it interesting that in a lot of the Universal Monster mashups, there was often an attempt to allow the viewers to connect to at least one of the monsters in an emotional way. Early on, the easy connection was the Frankenstein Monster, most likely to the humanity imbued in the characterization via the talent of Boris Karloff. Once other actors, such as Bela Lugosi and Glenn Strange, took over the role of the Monster, the torch of identity was passed to Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Wolf Man, who at least turned into a guy you could have a conversation with part of the time. In Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein, his Wolf Man is practically the hero of the film in combatting the combined evil of the others in the film.

In this song, the Frankenstein Monster (referred to as simply Frankenstein) is, at the outset of the lyrics, the hero of the day according to the singer (Frank Tinelli of the Castle Kings). Situations crop up involving both the Wolf Man and Dracula in which the singer's girlfriend is threatened, and both times he gets on the phone to call up Frankenstein to rescue her. (I like the visual image of Frankenstein's Monster sitting around waiting for phone calls to rescue her.) But maybe he calls him to the rescue one too many times, which is the lesson to be learned from the song. On the third verse, he calls his "baby," but she isn't home, and a follow-up to the monster finds him unavailable as well. In a humorous twist ending that ties into a popular teenage trend of the day, it turns out the girl and the monster are both dancing together on a local show on television. So, by the end of the song, Frankenstein has gotten her, and not him, after all.

Frankenstein may be able to get him and/or her all he wants, but what I can't get is enough information about the Castle Kings, outside of the scant details to be found online. Apart from the "B" side to this song – a rockin' raveup version of Loch Lomond – the group only released one other single, The Caissons Go Rolling Along/Jeanette, the following year (1962), before disappearing from the recording world. Adlum worked as an editor for Cashbox magazine before getting into film briefly. The other Castle Kings were Frank Tinelli, Jimmy Walker, and a fourth member that I have identified in an autographed photo that I found on the Discogs site as Billy, but with no last name.

I tried calling Transylvania-999 but didn't get anything. If only I had Frankenstein's latest phone number to help rescue me from this dilemma...

RTJ

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