The “Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

Main MenuConcept Refinement The Author..Wayne JancikGolden Age Of The 50sGolden Age Of The 60s1970s and There After





(Robert W. Lorbert)

Ranwood 840

No. 13   August 2, 1969



Charles Randolph Grean, to those in the know, wrote “the novelty song of the 20th century,” Phil Harris

recorded it, “The Thing”–the tall tale of a mere male and his find of an incredible “thing” on the beach­

became one of the blockbuster hits of 1950.   Grean arranged/conducted Nat “King” Coles’ “The Christmas

Song,” Vaughn Monroe’s “Riders in the Sky” and for a few years with Steve Shoals headed RCA’s pop

division but remains a shadowy behind-the-scenes legend.


Charles Grean (b. Oct. 1, 1913, New York City) was  a music major for two years at Wesleyan University.   For

a decade, Grean played bass with various orchestras and combos; fronting his own dance band in the mid­

’30s, and working the cruise ships.   In the early ’40s, he gained a spot playing bass with the NBC house band

and freelanced as a copyist; often for the Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw Orchestras.   After a stop with the

Kraft Music Hall, Grean became an A & R man and music conductor with RCA Victor.   As such, he recorded

with Eddie Arnold, Perry Como, Elton Britt, Pee Wee King, Freddie Martin, Dinah Shore, Hank Snow, the

Sons of the Pioneers … For awhile Grean played bass with Chet Atkins’ group, the Country All-Stars.


Grean managed and was married to pop lark/multi­-hit artist Betty Johnson; best known to pre-baby­

boomers for “The Little Blue Man,” a tall tale of a short, cute, though annoying, stalker that our heroine,

John­son, eventually throws out a high rise window.


“I think my mistake was that I met Betty;’ said Grean to DISCoveries’ Mike Streissguth. “I fell in love with

her, started working with her exclusively, and just sacrificed everything else that I had ever done…. You

can’t work together and be married.   You can’t separate it.   If something goes wrong, it affects your

marriage, not only your business relationship.”


Grean reports he started all over again, copying lead sheets for Trinity Music, “working for peanuts,” and

doing a lot of Muzak,”… a hack job where you go in and do 10 arrangements in three hours, just grind them

out.”   In 1966, Grean became head of the New York office for Dot Records; “discovering” the musical side of

Leonard Nimoy.   “I knew this guy was gonna be hot,” Grean told DISCoveries.   “He didn’t have to do

anything.   He said, ‘I can do something.   I sing a little bit and play guitar.’   I said, ‘Fine.   Send me a tap.’

He sent me a tape, and he doesn’t sing that well, kind of moos…”   Four Nimoy albums–Star Trek convention

staples–were issued and Grean was eager for the next happening.


On June 26, 1966. something new appeared under the sun–“Dark Shadows,” a Gothic daytime drama,

complete with a ghost, werewolves, haunted houses, and a 200-year old vampire, Barnabas Collins (played

by Jonathan Frid).   Grean’s daughter Lorin drew her dad’s attention to the creepy tummy-turner.   With

blessings from Dan Curtis the shows creator, Grean issued an album’s worth of the serial’s crispy sounds;

billing the affair “nostalgic modern music.”


Robert Cobert, who wrote and arranged “Quentin’s Theme”–originally written as a waltz for Dan Curtis’s TV

production of “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (1966)–for the December 1968 series

appearance of the ghostly character of Quentin Collins (played by David Selby, later the illegitimate son

Richard Channing on “Falcon Crest”), went on to chart big with his own album, Original Music From Dark

Shadows (#18, 1969).


Grean’s follow-up was “Josette’s Music Box.”   “Even went into business with a guy, and we made music

boxes and sold them, mail order,” said Grean.   “This music box had some musical power!” Charles

Randolph Grean been continuing to labor in the dark shadows, coping and scoring background music for

soaps, movies, and variety shows.


In January 1991, a more sexually explicit and considerably more gory prime-time remake of “Dark

Shadows,” with no original cast members, appeared for a two-month run.