May 19, 2006

Butterfly Ball: Catchy Tune, Trippy Cartoon, Camp/Classic DVD

butterfly_ball_cd.jpgSo there's an early 19th century poem by William Roscoe called "The Butterfly Ball and The Grasshopper Feast." An illustrated children's book version came out in 1973, which was accompanied/followed by a legendary [if esoterically so] album of future British metalheads, led by Roger Glover {Deep Purple] and including members of Whitesnake and Judas Priest--and Twiggy.

If these Amazon reviews are to be believed, it was a formative book for a bunch of hippy children. So far so good, except the book's long out of print.

Butterfly Ball: the album is still available, though, and it gets high praise, too, for varied, complex, and memorable music and performances from a pretty wild (in retrospect) mix of musicians.

Butterfly Ball: the concert video, meanwhile, sounds like a wacked out artifact that's either to be avoided like the plague or cherished like a piece of outrageous folk art. Glover apparently got almost everyone but Black Sabbath's Ronnie James Dio together in 1975 for a single benefit concert--with narration by Vincent Price--at Royal Albert Hall. Then some schmuck producer edited that concert footage together with a bunch of ridiculous live action re-enactments of the poem's animal party scenes. Whatever, the DVD is available in an "unknown" region format, so there's the possibility it doesn't play on Region 1 machines.

And finally, if you're not about to go buying some warped 1970's metalhead children's album kitschfest without trying it out first, there's an animated version of Dio performing a track from the album, "Love is All," on YouTube. It's trippy morphing frogs and what not, inspired--I guess--by the book. The cartoon is on the enhanced CD; it was made as part of a feature film adaptation that never made it to completion.

At one point, then, The Butterfly Ball was a significant cultural phenomenon, a multi-channel entertainment empire that was popular and influential--and which then all but disappeared, leaving nothing but memories and a scattering of products with Amazon rankings that hover around #1.5 million.

How many more things like this are there from our childhoods, I wonder? [via boingboing]

1 Comment

Surprisingly I found the tune to be actually pretty good. Need to check w/ my parents to see if I had been subjected to that video when I was a kid, could be the answer to a lot of my questions. Oh -- and when the frog grows four heads? Talk about dą©ją› vu; college flash backs. What a strange trip that was.

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