Richard Crowson: The Horror of the... Banjo?

Oct 25, 2013

Ah, Halloween. The season of goblins, witches, zombies, skeletons and banjos.

What??! Banjos??!

Yes, it is with a heavy heart that I must report that this sweet, dear little instrument, light of my musical soul, the humble banjo, has apparently been decreed an object of horror by the world’s toy manufacturers.

Credit cmiked / Flickr / Creative Commons

I was recently gifted with a mechanical, foot-tall Halloween decoration. It’s a skeleton sitting on a tombstone and playing a banjo. Then, on a visit to my neighborhood grocery store I spied a whole shelf of these apparitions. A day later, I visited a drug store and was greeted, right inside the front door, by a three-foot tall version of a banjo-playing skeleton.

Exactly when did I pass into this alternate dimension? A dimension where the joyful banjo has been deemed horror-worthy enough to be sold as a Halloween decoration? Whatever happened to scary harpsichord music as the embodiment of haunted-house moods? The Phantom of the Opera didn’t play the banjo. He played a pipe organ. The wheezing bellows of the accordion have put a chill up the spin of many a listener. Even the dreadful drone of a bagpipe can be a horrific tooth-grinding experience. But the banjo???

Ok, I’ll grant you, the movie Deliverance may have given the banjo an unsavory association with some folks who didn’t exactly live in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, but let’s overlook that, shall we? I for one am not ready to accept the banjo as an instrument of Halloween fright.

I’m calling for a Banjocare program. We must separate banjos from the stigma of horror and dread. I need someone to help me launch a Banjocare website.

Current government-contract Obamacare website builders need not apply.