Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Rene Auberjonois (1940-2019)

Though most genre fans know the late Rene Auberjonois...
...as Odo, the metamorph from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, my first genre exposure to a very young Rene was in 1972, when the young up-and-comer played...Spider-Man!
Let me explain...
Art by John Romita Sr
LP records adapting comic strip and comic book characters into audio adventures date back to the 1940s.
The heyday was during the 1960s-70s when both brand-new adventures (often in stereo) and re-presentations of classic radio dramas competed for shelf space in record stores.
Art by John Romita Sr
But this album, from 1972, was a whole new approach to the genre...a superhero musical, loaded with genre-related talent!
Ron Dante, the voice and composer behind The Archies (remember "Sugar, Sugar"?), and his band performed the album's music as "The WebSpinners".
Besides Rene (who also voiced Dessad on both the 1980s Super Friends and 1990s Justice League animated series, and played several other characters in the Star Trek multiverse), there was Thayer David, known to genre fans as the villainous Arne Saknussenn in Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959), multiple evil roles on the 1960s gothic soap Dark Shadows. and the blackmailing villain in the 1977 pilot for the live-action Amazing Spider-Man tv series, as The Kingpin!
The script and music were penned by Stephen Lemberg, who not only did this album, but the Fantastic Four dramatic radio show and the infamous A MARVEL-ous Evening with Stan Lee at Carnegie Hall! (Nobody's perfect.)

Here's the album's gatefold interior, featuring art by John Romita Sr, which enabled you to follow the story...and yes, that's Dr Strange as both Steve Ditko co-creations battle the Kingpin!
Is that kool, or what?

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