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I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Kuniaki Haishima -- Garamon Song(ガラモン・ソング)


Gooooood Eeeevening!

Although I never caught the original "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" in its first run on CBS and NBC since the very last episode of this decade-long show ended a few months before my birth, I've seen the odd monochrome episode now and then about some sort of mystery or thriller hanging about. I certainly do remember ol' Alfred popping up at the beginning and the end with his macabre sense of humour.


Plus, there's the famous theme song for "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" which I found out was Charles Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette" originally orchestrated in 1879. To be frank, I actually heard it for the first time on an episode of "Sesame Street" when it was used to introduce a cute little turtle...not that I would ever compare one of the masters of cinema to a reptile. This is the version that was closest to what I had first heard and it was only later that I heard about it being used as the theme song for the mystery show, and it's the version that I actually prefer over the one created for Alfred.


Now the reason that I bring up that famous mystery anthology series is that it was also the inspiration for a similarly-themed show in Japan on Fuji-TV about 30 years ago from 1990. "Yo ni mo Kimyo na Monogatari"(世にも奇妙な物語...Tales of the Unusual)was something that I had once assumed was more along the lines of Rod Serling's classic "Twilight Zone", but I would find out that "Yo ni mo Kimyo na Monogatari" wasn't filled with too much science-fiction and tended toward the mysteries that the Japanese have always loved.


Hosted by veteran entertainer Tamori(タモリ), who seems to have pretty much emceed just about every genre of show known to Japanese TV viewers in the last 30+ years, "Yo ni mo Kimyo na Monogatari" also has a well-known theme song. But unlike "Funeral March of a Marionette", this song was a contemporary piece made specifically created for the show called "Garamon Song" by Saitama-born songwriter and arranger, Kuniaki Haishima(蓜島邦明), who has made music for a number of other shows in other fields such as anime and commercials.


Compared to the whimsical "Funeral March", "Garamon Song" definitely has more of a spookier edge as if it needs to be listened to while the room is dark and silent. Plus, that main melody takes listeners on quite the roller-coaster ride before it gradually settles down into...something with a haunting chorus behind your back before the ride picks up again. As I listen to it, I usually imagine some heinous goings-on in a huge mansion somewhere...kinda Gothic.

"Garamon Song" is a tune that I would connect with "Yo ni mo Kimyo na Monogatari" but not particularly with Tamori himself. The man has hosted so many programs since the 1980s that I don't think any theme song would really stick with him in the way that "Funeral March" has with Hitchcock.

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