Usually, I would save the big one for last, but somehow, it seems only fitting that I start with the mother of all pant load inducing tunes. If you were around anytime in the 80's then you undoubtedly know it. Yes, I am of course talking about Unsolved Mysteries. All I had to hear was the first bar of music and I turned pale, started sweating and just about dove under the coffee table, trembling. That music meant that in a few seconds, Robert Stack was going to be standing in the middle of a graveyard, or broken down warehouse in the bad section of town at about three in the morning, telling me about people who have vanished without a trace, serial killers who haven't been caught, ghosts and......*GULP* ALIENS! Awww fuck a duck, not ALIENS! If you've been around the ol' Midnight Cinephile abode for long, you know how I feel about aliens.
To this day, that soul destroying bit of 80's synth-pop sends a shiver down my spine. To be perfectly honest, I would still think twice before listening to that music if I was home alone. My wife would come home to find me huddled in the closet with the cats. Damn you Robert Stack.....and your trench-coat!
Okay moving right along, we come to another source of childhood terror. I can remember VERY distinctly the first time I heard Dr. Who's theme song. Starting with what I always called The Space Scream, it moved quickly into a synthified theremin that if I was to put down into words in an onomatopoeiatic fashion (yes, I know onomatopoeatic isn't a word, but this is my damn space and I'll make up words if I please, thank you very much!) it would be the all to familiar: Ooooooooo-Eeeeeeeeeeee-Oooooooooo.......Oooooooo-Eeeeeeee-Oooooooooooooooooo..........And you KNOW what I'm talking about! Usually as soon as I heard The Space Scream, my ass was behind the couch and peaking out with my hands clasped over my ears. While we're talking Who, I might as well confess that The Daleks scared the shit out of me too. If you wanna give me a heart attack, sneak up on me while I'm sleeping and blare a recording of a Dalek screaming "EXTERMINATE!!!!!!"
Oooh, those creepy bastards.
More than once, I've mentioned my love of Tales from the Darkside. The series that was originally conceived by George Romero as a Creepshow TV series! Anyway, I used to watch it religiously when it was airing on WNDS (The Winds of New England....comin to ya out of Derry, NH). Being a young pup, I used to think that TV stations made their own shows....so I thought that TftD was made in New Hampshire. As it so happens, my Aunt lived in New Hampshire at the time. When I'd go to visit her, I would look out the window and wonder if the woods I saw in the intro were nearby. That thought panicked me. Perhaps it was the insanely creepy music accompanied by the even creepier narrator informing me that I lived "in the sunlit world of what I believed to be reality". So I was pretty much convinced that the woods of New Hampshire were a portal to hell. I'll tell you what, I can't drive up Rte 31 without that intro running through my head....and I still find myself looking out the window, looking for that cropping of birch trees.
Okay, time for me to really embarrass the shit out of myself. This one isn't an intro....but a commercial bumper. Not just any commercial bumper though......it was none other that A Current Affair. That sharp synth chord was like an icy stake going through me. Why? Fucked if I know.....I'm guessing it reminded me of Unsolved Mysteries. It was another case of "Hear that sound? That means that something bad happened to someone!" I think they only used it when they were covering murder or disappearance stories and such....
I'm thinking that Childhood Trauma Flashback may become a semi regular series here, so I think here is a good place to stop for now. Don't worry though, I've got plenty more embarrassing confessions to make about my scaredy cat childhood. Stay tuned!