As is often the case around here, the story to be told isn’t the story I was working on.
An old favorite sprang up in the iTunes shuffle this morning: “The Cheater” by Bob Kuban and the In-Men, featuring the voice of Walter Scott, a #12 hit in 1966, and one with a scary twist:
Walter Scott mysteriously disappeared. He was last seen walking out his two story home near St. Peters [Missouri] at 7:05 PM, December 27, 1983. On April 10, 1987, his badly decomposed, bound body was found floating face down in a cistern. Scott had been shot in the back. Scott’s second wife, JoAnn (Calceterra), pled guilty to hindering prosecution in his murder. She received a five year sentence. And JoAnn’s boyfriend (whom she married in 1986), James H. Williams Sr., was found guilty of two counts of capital murder in the deaths of his previous wife, Sharon Williams, and Walter Scott. James Williams received two life terms without the possibility of parole (affirmed by the Missouri Court of Appeals, April 4, 1995). And Walter Scott still sings, “Tough luck for the Cheater(s), Too bad for the fool-hearted clown(s).”
As the song played, I decided to run an image search for a shot of the original LP jacket on the long-dormant Musicland label, and found, to my surprise, a shot of a 3¾-ips tape box, issued by GRT. Who knew this had come out on open-reel tape?
I’d collected pre-recorded reels for a while, though the format was declining throughout the 1970s and was basically dead in the 1980s. The last keeper of the flame, specializing in high-quality classical transfers, was the comparatively-tiny — next to GRT and Ampex and such — Barclay-Crocker, and of course, I got to wondering, whatever happened to them?
The flame was apparently kept through 1986, and then after maintaining radio silence for a few years, the company resurfaced as a vendor of shaving and bath products, of all things.
If nothing else, this illustrates a point I’ve been making for years: blogging is basically a form of trigonometry. Every time there’s an angle, there’s a tangent.