Here’s another Kid Stuff record from my collection, Donkey Kong, from 1983! And little did I know there’s a connection to my hometown area with this one!
I’ve mentioned before that Kid Stuff was a sort of fly-by-night operation, licensing the hot kids’ properties of the day and making cheap records out of them. And this DK record is no exception.
The record takes the usual King Kong story and sort of turns it on its ear. Here, DK was a former animal at the Gamesville Zoo, but got sold off to a circus. When the circus comes to town, DK misses his old life and breaks out of his cage. He snatches up his old friend, Pauline, and runs to a construction site with her. His other old friend, Mario, comes to her rescue, but DK thinks Mario wants to play, so he starts tossing barrels at him (WTF?) In the end, Mario saves Pauline and DK is given the top 20 floors of the new building as the DK Zoo.
I grew up near Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. So, imagine my surprise when I discovered that the composers/producers of this album all come from Champaign! In fact, three of them, Dana Walden, Howard “Leon” Reeder, and Rena Jones, were from the band called Champaign, best-known for their 1981 hit, “How Bout Us”. The fourth producer, Patrick McBride, was a C-U native and part of the folk/rock band, The Starlighters.
McBride and Walden produced another album for Kid Stuff, The Amazing Adventures of Pac-Man, from 1982. And, yes, I have that one in my collection, too. While neither of these albums are chart-topping classics, there are songs on both albums that are quite catchy. And now I know why!