From Nilsson’s brilliantly sung end credits for 1968 cinematic bomb, Skidoo, we learned that the film’s director, Otto Preminger, once essentially paid $7,600 to appear on an episode of TV’s Batman. How interesting then to learn that Cincinnati’s King Records has its own – albeit indirect – connection to television’s Caped Crusader: Frank Gorshin‘s 1970 King single, “Turn Around, Look at Me.”
Gorshin, who played Batman archenemy, The Riddler, playfully voices numerous stage and screen characters in the course of laying down his vocal track, the highlight easily being his classic “you dirty rat” villainous gangster — click here to dig the groovy sounds.
archnemesis — and King recording star
“Turn Around, Look at Me” was composed by Jerry Capehart – probably best known for having written “Summertime Blues” and “My Way” for Eddie Cochran – and was originally a Top 100 hit for Glen Campbell in 1961. The following year, The Lettermen (who, as Jay Warner points out, “would earn the dubious distinction of amassing more records that hit the Billboard ‘Bubbling Under’ chart without crashing the Top 100”) would just bubble under at #105 with their version of the song. However, six years later The Vogues would revive the song and hit the Top 10 with their 1968 remake.
Ruppli’s 2-volume King discography points out that Gorshin recorded several other songs for Starday-King (such as “Love Slave” and “Part of My Life for Awhile”) that remain in IMG’s vast vault of master recordings. Five years after Frank Gorshin’s attempt to mine new commercial territory with the song, Esther Phillips would release a version on Kudu, the “soul jazz” subsidiary for Creed Taylor’s CTI label.