Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati” — Rose and the Arrangement (1973)

I must offer to you a confession
I like movies that give me a fright
If the subject is horror, I got to see more or
I won’t be contented all night

You may call it my ghoulish obsession
It’s a subject on which I get chatty
But the worst one it seems, haunting all of my dreams
Was the cockroach that ate Cincinnati!

So honestly, if you wanted to chart my emotional development from the ages of, say, 8 through 5 minutes ago, I would easily point to Mad Magazine, Monty Python, and perhaps more than anyone else, Dr. Demento. This says entirely way too much about me, but there you have it.

Every Sunday night from 8 to 10PM, Dr. Demento’s show was the holiest time of the week. Those were the Golden Hours of novelty songs, comedy routines, goofball pop songs from established artists, the cultural explosion of “Weird” Al Yankovic, and other wondrous nuggets of oddballity and oblique wtf’ness that delightfully warped a growing mind’s possibilities into something wholly other.

As it pertains to the Halloween season, let’s just say the Dr. Demento was my gateway drug into all things kitschy horror: 50s sci-fi, Universal classic monsters, late-night B-movies, and the like. It opened up my budding young mind to infinite possibilities outside the zippitity-doodad norm. By the time I was really warped enough to absorb things like creepy horror, dark comedy, mind-blowing sci-fi, otherworldly fantasy, and all points in between, it was partially due to years of exposure to the wonders of the Dr. Demento show.

So to honor the good Doctor, I submit The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati, the 1973 novelty classic from “Cincinnati“, or whoever. The song is a beaut that, a wondrously silly (but strangely sincere) ode to the great horror/sci-fi B-movies of the past. The kind that came on late-night TV in the golden age of pre-cable antenna-based entertainment, with local goofy hosts in full monster attire or syndicated on shows like “Creature Features” (every Saturday morning at 10:30 on Channel 6 in Miami, and if it weren’t for Mandatory Religious Education I never would have missed an episode).

So a hearty toast of frosty pumpkin ale to Creature Features, Rose and the Arrangement, Dr. Demento, old-school zany sci-fi/horror movies, and of course The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati. Revel in all those that helped weave a majestic Halloween tapestry for the madcap 10-year-old in side all of us.

Frankenstein gives me the shakes
And Count Dracula’s driving me batty
But they’re not on a par with the worst one by far
The cockroach that ate Cincinnati…

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