Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Fun of Collectibles

Please join me in welcoming Sally Carpenter to Killer Hobbies today!  A Monkees collection.  Sounds fabulous!

What makes a person want to build a collection? For me, I enjoy the chase of finding that  elusive item, having nice things to admire, and putting my hands on a song or book whenever I want.

I began collecting records in the mid-1970s, long before CDs or MP3. A friend gave me a “Sgt. Pepper’s” picture disc (the picture is embedded in the vinyl). As long as I had one record, I may as well collect the entire Beatles catalog, which eventually included some solo works and all of George Harrison. My college town had a great record store (now gone) that I frequented. To save costs I purchased used records, but never ones that were heavily scratched. But even new records were inexpensive, making a low-cost hobby.

My collection expanded to over 300 records including Dylan, Clapton, Donovan, British and American comedy, and other artists. I switched to CDs only because vinyl was no longer produced and the local record stores closed. By then I already had most of the music I wanted anyway.

A crate of records is heavy to pick up and the cardboard sleeves are developing that musty old paper smell. But all of my records are still playable and I still listen to them. Some of the used records have minor scratches and popping but overall the sound quality is good. I keep my albums in plastic sleeves and store them upright to help preserve them.

My next collecting binge started in the late 1990s when Nickelodeon reran “The Monkees” TV show and I got hooked. I collected records, books, bubblegum cards, fanzines and the complete video boxed set of the TV episodes.

This photo is from a previous home where I had set up my collectibles for viewing.

My special items: Original London cast album of Harry Nilsson’s musical “The Point” signed by both Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz who were in the show; a signed black-and-white poster of Peter Tork; Michael Nesmith’s autograph in his novel “The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamore”; a 14-inch Monkeemobile model in a psychedelic display box, and a set of “Rare Bears,” little plush teddy bears dressed in red Monkee shirts with hairstyles to represent each guy.

What do these collections have to do with mysteries? My first novel, “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper,” is set at a Beatles fan convention, based on conventions I’ve attended. I used Beatle-ly clues to solve the murder.

“TBBC” one of three books in the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series. Sandy is a 38-year-old former teen idol making a comeback. He was inspired by The Monkees and the up-down-and-up careers of real teen idols.

Next year I’ll have a new Sandy mystery, “The Quirky Quiz Show Caper.” Sandy has to find a murderer to clear his brother’s name, appear on a fixed TV game show, help save his father’s orchestra from bankruptcy, and woo his girlfriend.

Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif.  She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. Her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition.  She also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do. She’s worked as an actress, college writing instructor, jail chaplain and tour guide/page for Paramount Pictures. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.

The Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series: “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper” (2012 Eureka! Award finalist), “The Sinister Sitcom Caper” and “The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper.”

Short stories in anthologies: “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in” in “Last Exit to Murder” and “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” in “Plan B: Omnibus.”

Blogs: and monthly at and The Cozy Cat Chronicles. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles. Reach her at Facebook or



Linda O. Johnston said...

Welcome to Killer Hobbies, Sally. Your collections sound fun--and your writing is, too, of course!

Sally Carpenter said...

Thanks, Linda, and the same for your books! And a big thank you to Killer Hobbies for letting me in as a guest. I failed to mention my latest collectible catch--a personalized and autographed photo of Burt Ward, aka Robin, the Boy Wonder. I met him at a signing event last year in Simi Valley. In person he talks and acts exactly as he does on the TV show. Holy typecasting!

Paul D. Marks said...

Fun post, Sally. I remember reading in a book put out by Rolling Stone many years (decades) ago that though people tend to make fun of the Monkees they actually put out some really good songs. Stepping Stone is up there for sure.

Sally Carpenter said...

Hi, Paul. A number of other bands covered "Stepping Stone," including the Sex Pistols, I think! The early Monkees songs used the great Brill Building songwriters, including Neil Sedaka ("When Love Comes Knocking on Your Door"). Other artists were simply jealous of the Monkees' success.