1/4/16

Vinyl Dynamite #51: Benji


Remember those story records?  You'd sit by your crummy kiddie record player and listen to the stories unfold: whether it was an awesome Six Million Dollar Man adventure or an awful Grimm's Fairy Tales recited by Danny Kaye, it was a wonderful experience for a 70s kid.  Even better if it had a storybook to follow along with.


It is my sincere belief that, if you grew up in the 1970s, there is a 100 percent chance that you saw Benji in the theater.  I'm not sure why; it's not an exceptional film by any stretch.  Perhaps it was because it was a family friendly film at a time (1974) when family friendly films were in short supply.  It wasn't like today when your local mega-plex is brimming with kid-centric CGI fare.  Back then, Boomers ruled the land, and your theaters often only showed 1-2 movies per week.

Not only were kids movies few and far between, but the sparse offerings were often total garbage. Other than a Herbie movie, maybe the Shaggy DA, The Bad News Bears and Escape to Witch Mountain, there just wasn't much to appeal to your average kid.  Not until '77, when the mighty Star Wars stormed onto the scene, did kids films have much of a place in your local cineplex.

Add to this fact, it seemed like Benji was playing at matinees for literally years after Benji's initial release; thus, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that every 70s child, without exception has seen this wholly unexceptional film.

And so, here is the record adaptation.  It's not a soundtrack, but rather the aforementioned follow-along story variety (although, at the end of side B is the song "I Feel Love" - no, not the Donna Summer song, but the delightfully cheesy Jesse Davis song.) Also below are most of the pages from the accompanying book. Have a listen, and take a trip back in time....

Side A

Download

Side B

Download

"I Feel Love" by Jesse Davis

Download












8 comments:

  1. My folks wouldn't let me watch Bad News Bears as it was most certainly not kid-friendly fare, despite it being about kids.

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  2. 100 percent chance is right! We all saw this one. In fact, the dog I got around this time ended up being called Tiffany. I can remember seeing every movie you mentioned in the theaters with my parents. Freaky Friday was another one you probably took in as well. Our shared '70s pop consciousness. Why did we all go to see these unremarkable films? My personal explanation is that I don't think my folks knew how to stimulate the imagination of a kid my age. Being able to take me to the movies was probably a great relief for them. I know it was for me. Whew!

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  3. It seems that the side B links to the same file as side A. Can you fix that please?

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    Replies
    1. Woops. Fixed.

      I also noted that Sides A and B won't stream on my phone, but the single track (I Feel Love) will. I think the files are just too big.

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    2. Thanks! Arg, now it has the "too many people looked at this file" error. I'll try again tomorrow.

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    3. Changed from Google Drive to Zippyfile. Shouldn't be a problem.... until zippyfile is shut down

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  4. I didn't see this movie until the late 80s on video tape. My dog Ginger looked a little like Benji. My Aunt Dorothy got me the Benji stuffed animal in the early 80s because of this.

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