The following post comes to us from reader Bruce Lagerquist, a tenacious researcher who emails me with some regularity regarding odd facts about some of the obscure records and singers whose music I've posted here. Don't try to give him the slip, he'll find you. / Greg
Allan Copeland and his Hot Rodders - Crack The Whip
Whatever you do, don't follow the advice found on this 45. I did and I now wish I hadn't. I bought a whip, and just like Allan told me to I used it. I had problems with the girlfriend - CRACK....SLAM, she's gone. The dog wouldn't stop barking - CRACK...CHOMP, part of my leg is gone. When my Mom wouldn't stop talking, CRACK...WHAM, I have a purse imprint on my face and I'm no longer in the will. Luckily, I have no children or who knows what might've happened. So much for the whip, it's bad advice so don't follow it. Who the hell came up with the advice anyway? With my life in ruins and vengeance in my heart, I turned to the net and started to search. Here's what I found.
Arwin Records - The name comes from combining the names of two publishing firms, Artist Records and Daywin Music. The outfit was owned by Doris Day and her husband and (mis)manager Marty Melcher. If Arwin rings a bell, it's probably because it was the original home of those squeaky clean surf kids Jan and Dean, still known as Jan and Arnie at that point.
The Frank Comstock Orchestra - Frank was not only the composer of the Rocky & Bullwinkle theme, making him a god amongst men, but was also responsible for composing and arranging music for Adam-12, Dragnet, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Ensign O'Toole, McHale's Navy, F-Troop, Pete Kelly's Blues, The D.A.'s Man, Temple Houston, and The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. I'm currently working on deciding the best place in my house to build a Frank Comstock shrine. On top of everything else, Comstock worked as an arranger for the Les Brown Orchestra, arranged, orchestrated or conducted music for many Warner Brothers' films, including The Jazz Singer, Some Like It Hot and Hello Dolly. He even scored four Mr. Magoo theatrical animated shorts, and when Disney came calling he signed on to arrange music for their theme parks. My theory? He never slept; no one can do that much in a regular lifetime.
Allan Copeland - Copeland, who generally used only one "L" in his first name, got his start as a choir boy in the Robert Mitchell Boys Choir before moving on to acting. He appeared in such classics as Angels With Dirty Faces, Going My Way, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, and Yankee Doodle Dandy. In the early 50s, he joing the singing group the Modernairs and eventually formed his own group, the Allan Copeland Singers. Like Frank Comstock he must have never slept because he also wrote charts for Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme and was the choral director for Bing Crosby's Christmas TV shows. Here's a clip of Allan on the Bob Crosby Show. He sort of makes Pat Boone look light a tough guy, doesn't he?
The Hot Rodders - they must have been fake hot rodders. Or more likely some crack group of studio pros just as photogenic and perky as Allan himself. And I bet their hot rods were Cadillacs.
Frank Lloyd - was a veryfrequent co-writer of Allan's; they have over 600 songs registered with ASCAP. And like like all the others on this record he was a talented arranger. Lloyd wrote much of the music for Doris Day's 1967 feature film The Ballad Of Josie.
I'm betting this record was a joke, a poke at Rock and Roll, the newest craze of the moment, by a bunch of guys who didn't really care too much for it or about it. It's something they probably worked up at the end of a session for a laugh and to give Frank's group a chance to cut loose (and that's exactly what they do in one glorious instrumental break).
UPDATE - last weekend I had the chance to talk with Crack The Whip writer and singer Allan Copeland during his appearance on a radio show. Well, sort of. Let's just say it didn't go exactly as planned. Copeland appeared, along with Peter Marshall of Hollywood Squares' fame, on DJ Peggy King's big band radio show on WYYR. I was instructed to call in at a specific time to request the song. It would be quite a surprise for Allan and I'd get a chance to ask his some questions about the record, or so Peggy predicted. Unfortunately, my questions went unasked and unanswered. At the first utterance of "Crack The Whip" Allan reacted as though a bastard child from a one-night stand had shown up at the door and proclaimed "I'm here Dad!" He immediately slammed the door shut in his song's face and proclaimed "I'm not going to talk about it!" Even with the cajoling of the host (and also fellow guest Peter Marshall), he refused to speak of it and clearly wanted to move on as quickly as possible. He claimed he'd spent all of his life and most of his money trying to bury Crack The Whip. Looks like his efforts were in vain as it's now resurfaced. Evidently the grave he dug wasn't deep enough or maybe it's just too good of a song to be buried. Have a listen, you decide.