Championship Round: Classic Monster Magazine Challenge

We Started With 16 Classic Monster Magazines; Only Two Remain

FMoF-vs-MonsterWorld

We started with 16 classic monster magazines from the heyday of Monster Kid-dom.  Over the course of several months, we’ve pitted two magazines against each other and readers have selected their favorite magazine.  16 became 8 and then 8 was whittled to four.  Now, only two magazines remain and one will claim the title of Champion of the Classic Monster Magazine Challenge.

Screenshot 2017-01-23 14.53.14

Not surprisingly, Warren Publishing is represented in the championship round.  The underdog MONSTER WORLD defeated the iconic CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN to make it the the championship round against Warren’s essential magazine FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND.  So we have an all-Warren finale: MONSTER WORLD vs FAMOUS MONSTERS.

We know one Warren title will claim the championship, but which one will it be?  As always, join us on our Facebook page or Twitter to cast your vote!

Justin Ishmael’s Awesome 2-Headed Giant Vinyl Figure

Inspired by Ron Cobb’s Iconic FM 1968 Fearbook Cover

Famous Monsters 1968 YearbookGalligantus-Many-SidesGalligantus Vinyl Figure Multiple Side Views

Former Mondo creative director Justin Ishmael, who licensed Cobb’s artwork from Famous Monsters, is thrilled to announce his 12-inch tall Galligantus soft vinyl figure!

Famous-Monsters-1968-Fearbook

Galligantus is the fist Japanese vinyl piece Ishmael has released. The original sculpt is by Handsome Taro and sofubi cast is by Luke “Grody Shogun” Rook.

Jack-Giant-Slayer-FM-Fearbook-68-Vinyl-ToyGalligantus 2-Headed Giant VinylFamous Monsters 1968 Yearbook

Galligantus is the first of Ishmael’s new “Make-A-Monster” series, which is inspired by the classic model kits we all love.  Your kit arrives unassembled in a vintage-style model kit style box, filled with the nine pieces that make the 2-Headed Giant, and then you simply slot them together — possibly with the help of a hair dryer to warm the vinyl, but no glue needed at all!

Cast in glow-in-the-dark vinyl, this monstrous beast comes with a spiked ball mace on a chain and assembly instructions featuring artwork by Ken Landgraf.

FM-Giant-Pre-Order

Available now  for preorder on Justin’s website , these $200 apiece works will begin shipping in early 2017.

Classic Monster Magazine Final Four

Classic Monster Magazine Final Four BracketWho Will Be Champion of the Monster Magazines?

We took a break from the action with during the holidays but it’s time to pick up where we left off – the Final Four in our Classic Monster Magazine Challenge!

You may recall we kicked off the Classic Monster Magazine Challenge in October with 16 of the coolest (and corniest) monster magazines from the 1960s and 70s. Over the course of several weeks, readers chose their favorite magazine in daily head-to-head battles.  As the field of 16 became 8 and, now, four.

The four magazines still standing are certainly worthy of the honor:

Monster World

Castle of Frankenstein

Famous Monsters of Filmland

The Monster Times

 

All unique, all meaningful and important in their own way to us monster kids.  But only one can claim the brass ring — in the contrived world of championships, the contest must continue until only one remains.  The choice, dear readers, is entirely yours.

Be sure to Like CCM on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  We will post the head-to-head contests each day on those two social networks where you can cast your vote.

 

Saving Rudolph – Monster Kid Christmas Memories

A Most Wonderful Time of the Year!Santa and Rudolph Stop Motion PuppetsSanta and Rudolph Stop-Motion PuppetsSanta & Rudolph PuppetsSanta and Rudolph Stop-Motion Puppets

We celebrate all the things that made the 1960s and 70s a great time to be a kid.   With Halloween wrapped, our attention turned to that next great day on the calendar.  Monster Kids love Christmas and the holidays. After all, that’s when we often got some of our most cherished things! From Thanksgiving weekend through December, those of us growing up in 1960s and 70s took to the TV Guide to look for more than monster movies – we were equally excited for those once-a-year Christmas specials. The stop motion animation was familiar ground for us Monster Kids who loved the work of Harryhausen and O’Brien.

This is the story of what happened to the stop-motion puppets used to make the classic Rankin/Bass Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Turns out that, in the early 1960s, stop-motion puppets weren’t considered that important. The 9-inch tall Claus and 5-inch tall reindeer puppet that were used in the making of this 1964 Rankin/Bass production wound up spending the next 40 years under less than ideal conditions.

First NBC (which initially aired this holiday special on December 6, 1964 on its General Electric Fantasy Hour program) had these puppets shipped from Japan to New York City so that they could then be used as part of the publicity campaign for this program. Once that work was done, Santa and Rudolph were returned to Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass (i.e. the two executives who ran Videocraft International, Ltd., the production company that actually made Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer).  And eventually Arthur and Jules gifted these two puppets to one of Rankin/Bass’s longtime secretaries.

Rudolph puppet spent 40 years as Christmas decoration
Rudolph puppet spent 40 years as Christmas decorationRudolph Puppet as Christmas Decoration

“And she then made Santa and Rudolph part of her family’s holiday decorations,” explained Seamus Walsh, one of the modern stop-motion masters who now works at Screen Novelties, a Los Angeles-based animation studio which later played a key role in these puppets’ restoration. “And that secretary’s children and grandchildren then spent the next 40 years or so playing really roughly with Rudolph and Santa. Throwing that little reindeer puppet through the air pretending that he could fly and force-feeding Santa candy and chocolate.”
In the end, the Rudolph puppet wound up with a snapped neck. Not to mention a missing glowing red nose. And poor Santa lost his fluffy white eyebrows as well as half his mustache. And since that they no longer looked like the characters who had appeared in that now-classic holiday special, Santa and Rudolph were retired to the attic.

And they probably would have stayed there — alone and forgotten like those forlorn playthings on the Island of Misfit Toys — if it hadn’t been for the secretary’s nephew, who stumbled upon Rudolph and Santa up in the family’s attic in 2005. He decided to bring this stop-motion puppets on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow and find out what they might now possibly be worth.

At that time, Santa and Rudolph were appraised for $8,000 – $10,000 for the pair. The secretary’s nephew then decided to sell these holiday icons to Kevin A. Kriess, a lifelong fan of the Rankin/Bass TV specials. And Kriess’ first goal was to restore these stop-motion puppets to pristine condition.

“Which is why Kevin then reached out to us. Or — rather — my wife Robin, who handles restoration for the Center of Puppetry Arts in Atlanta,” Walsh continued. “And she was the one who then handled all of the restoration work that needed to be done on the Santa and Rudolph puppets.”

Restoring Santa Claus Puppet

Robin took an almost Hippocratic approach to this restoration project. Gently peeling back Rudolph’s tattered fur to reveal the wood & lead wire armature that the talented Japanese artists who was originally built this stop-motion puppet back in the early 1960s had created.

Restoring Santa Claus Puppet“While my wife was working on Rudolph, I got the opportunity to look at this puppet up-close several times. I mean, how could I not? This was the character that actually inspired me to get into stop-motion animation,” Seamus said. “But to be able to hold a huge piece of your childhood in your hand like that and then get a close enough look at Rudolph’s hooves to see the tiny little holes where they’d used entomology pins to secure this puppet’s feet to the set. Or to realize that Rudolph’s eyes were just these tiny pieces of leather that the Japanese animators had to then move around by hand in each shot, that was just mind-blowing.”

2012-12-24-Rudolph3

Kriess eventually sold Santa and Rudolph to noted pop culture collector Peter Lutrario. And the last time these stop-motion puppets were seen publicly was during a December 2010 broadcast of Syfy’s Hollywood Treasures show. And at that time, Lutrario told Joe Maddalena — the owner of Profiles in History auction house — that he just wasn’t ready to part with these holiday icons.

“Which is unfortunate. I mean, I’m glad that Santa and Rudolph are now in good hands and aren’t being left to rot in some attic,” Seamus explained. “But that said, I’d still love to see those stop-motion puppets to someday wind up in a place like the Smithsonian. So that thousands of people — rather than just one man — would then get to regularly see Santa and Rudolph and appreciate these puppets for the pieces of pop culture history that they are.”
We’re glad they are being well-tended to and hope that, like all private collections, they occasionally get a public viewing for the rest of us to enjoy.

(Video) Mark Hamill’s Pop Culture Quest Trailer

Less Than One Week Until This Geek Collector Series Premieres!

Contrary to public perception, collecting is a social sport.  One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a collector is being part of the larger collector community.  Thanks to social media, the proliferation of collector events and comic-cons, collectors have an abundance of options to commune over every collectible imaginable.  It’s always a treat to see pictures of other collectors’ stuff – from new finds to creative displays.  Now, we have our own TV series hosted by Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.

Turns out Mark is a collector himself and his new series will feature him visiting some majorly impressive collectors as well as taking us behind the scenes of some of our favorite pop culture creators.  The show is called Mark Hamill’s Pop Culture Quest and if debuts on November 15 on Comic-ConHQ, the streaming service owned by San Diego Comic Con.

Yep — you saw that right, Mark is going to take us for a tour of Bob’s basement with the one-and-only Bob Burns! The series’ Executive Producer and vintage monster toy collector Scott Kinney assured me that there are LOTS of monster goodies in this first season.

You have to subscribe to watch the show, but it’s free for 30 days, so binge the first season and then you decide if you want to keep the subscription.  You can subscribe at Comic-ConHQ.com

 

Celebrate October with Our Classic Monster Magazine Challenge

The Greatest Classic Monster Magazine of All Time? You Decide!

Classic Monster Magazine Challenge Bracket

It’s October.  Or, as we call it here at CCM, The 31 Days of Halloween. No matter what you call it, we can all agree it’s the most wonderful time of year and to celebrate, we’re hosting our first-ever March-Madness style competition featuring those classic monster magazines of the 1960s and 70s.

Each day for the rest of the month, we will pit  2 classic monster movie magazines against each other and you, fellow Monster Kids, will choose who goes home and who lives to fight another day. The competition will occur on  the Collecting Classic Monsters Twitter and Facebook pages.

To participate, just follow us on Twitter @CollectMonsters or Like us on Facebook.com/CollectingClassicMonsters  where we will post the daily competition,  announce the previous day’s winner and share details on each magazine title included in this year’s challenge.

In case you’re wondering why certain magazines aren’t included, here’s the criteria used for our selection:

  • originally published beginning during the primary Monster Kid era of the 1960s and 70s
  • First issue appeared prior to 1980
  • Editorial focus on Classic Monsters and Monster Kid genre films, not Horror or Sci-Fi exclusively
  • Magazines must be editorial/fanzine focused rather than comic anthologies such as Creepy or Vampirella

That said, let us know if there are glaring omissions from our list so we can include them in our next competition — there’s no grand prize here; just some fun in the digital clubhouse for Monster Kids and Collectors.

And while you’re at it, check out our Monster Magazine Archives to read up on all the past articles we’ve written about one of our favorite collectible categories!

Classic Monster Kid Ads: The Moon Monster & Horror Fan Club

This Iconic Vintage Ad Captured The Collective Imaginations of Monster Kids Everywhere!

Moon Monster 1970 Comic Book Ad

If you grew up in the 1960s or 70s, and you read comic books or monster magazines, chances are you came across this ad.  You may remember it as an ad for the Absolutely FREE Giant Life-Size Moon  Monster (which was actually a black and white poster):

Moon Monster Poster

When you look closer, you’ll notice this ad offered so much more than just the poster.  In fact, the poster is only one of the benefits of joining the Horror Fan Club! 

Look What you Get

Life Size reproduction of a Movie Monster (see above)

12 4×5 glossy photos of your favorite Movie Monsters:

Horror Fan Club glossy movie monster photos

Monster Fan Club membership card and Badge:

Horror Fan Club Membership Card 1970

Horror Fan Club Badge

Official Club Bulletin showing latest Monster Films releases complete with pictures and stories!

Horror Fan Club Newsletter 1970

Its all FREE when you join the Monster Fan Club

Membership Fee $1. 00 – No Dues or Other Charges

You’ll note that this Fan Club was called the Horror Fan Club in magazines, but the four-color comic book version of the ad changed the name to the Monster Fan Club, presumably to get around the Comic Code Authority.  While the ad was CCA approved, all the paper you got for joining the club said Horror Fan Club regardless of whether joined the Horror Fan Club or the Monster Fan Club.  Doubtless, this led to plenty of head-scratching by those who joined through the comic-book ad.

But wait! That’s not all!

Extra Bonus!  3 MONSTER MASKS

Terrifying life-like reproductions of Movie Monsters.

They’re Ghostly. They’re Frightening! 

Horror Fan Club Monster Masks

Horror Fan Club Frankenstein Mask

Horror Fan Club Werewolf Mask

Horror Fan Club Monster Mask

All of this and a Money Back Guarantee too!   Of course, what the ad didn’t specify, the masks were actually pictures of monster masks.  All in all, the entirety of the Fan Club package consisted of pieces of paper and a pin-back button, making the membership kit actually worth about the one dollar membership fee (plus postage).

I stared at this ad for hours, month after month,  year after year, but I never joined the club or knew anyone who did.  In retrospect, I’m sure I would have been disappointed in the reality of these items.  Like most of the novelties advertised in comic books and monster magazines of that time, the ads fueled my imagination and I cherish them for it.


More recently, multi-media artist Jason Willis pulled all of this nostalgic greatness together into one multi-media treat for us in one of his annual Halloween projects.  Watch his version of  a TV spot for the Horror Fan Club below and then visit his website to download your own Horror Fan Club life-like monster masks and member kit:

Moon Monster – Animated Horror Fan Club Spot (Comic Book Ad, 1970) from Jason Willis on Vimeo.

So what about you, reader? Did you ever succumb to the siren’s call of this magical Fan Club? Did this incredible life-like giant monster poster adorn your bedroom wall?  Did you found a local chapter of the Horror Fan Club in your basement? Share your memories with us in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

(Video) Relive Your 1960s Monster Kid Childhood Through FLIP

Meet Flip, a 1960s Monster Kid That Would Have Been My Best Friend

Flip a Short Film about a 1960s Monster Kid

The short film FLIP: a short film follows the exploits of a 1960s Monster Kid who, flush with birthday money from his grandmother, turns directly to the siren’s call of those wondrous novelty ads in the back of his (and our) favorite comic books.  It’s a perfect way to kick off our series focused on vintage Monster Kid advertising and gets right to the heart of being a Monster Kid during the peak years of the 60s Monster Boom and why so many of us are collectors  today.  

Flip: a short film was written and directed by Kirk Desmarais, a comic book mail order historian who is perhaps best known for his wonderful book Mail-Order Mysteries (by the way, if you don’t have this book you need to click the link and order it from Amazon now; we won’t start the film without you so hurry back).  

Welcome back! You’re really going to enjoy the book.

FLIP won the RONDO award for best independent film in 2004 and I absolutely adore it!

Without further commentary, enjoy the show:

Flip: a short film is jam-packed with some of the most memorable mail order ads from 60s Monster Kid era and is a perfect companion short to our feature focus on those wonderful vintage advertisements.  In no particular order, Flip features:

Topstone Werewolf Mask:

Topstond Werewolf Mask

Topstone Shock Monster Mask:

Topstone Shock Monster Mask Print Ad

Moon Loon Window Decal:

Moon Loon Hot Rod Decal

Monster-Sized Monsters Frankenstein’s Monster:

Monster-Size Monsters Vintage Comic Ad

Be sure to pay close attention when Flip heads into his bedroom at the 1:50 mark — it’s a vintage monster toy windfall!

The film was produced by, and guest stars fellow Monster Kid and vintage toy collector Scott Kinney, aka KidKosmic, who is producing the must-see show of the fall, Mark Hamill’s Pop Culture Questwhich will air on Comic-ConHQ.

Check out more of Kirk’s multi-media magic at his blog, SecretFunSpot and his portfolio website KirkDemarais.com

Does this bring back memories for you? Did you have experiences similar to Flip?  Share your memories of those wonderful ads, and not so wonderful products, with us in the comments section or on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CollectingClassicMonsters/

Vintage Advertising for Mattel’s Fright Factory

This Halloween, We’re Focusing On Vintage Ads for Monster Kid Toys

Mattel Fright Factory

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and we’re celebrating with a month-long focus on vintage advertising for all the things us Monster Kids love.  From Captain Company mail order pages in the back of Famous Monsters of Filmland to TV commercials, we’ve lined up a wonder-fest of nostalgia. So buckle up, Monster Kids, it’s time to step into the Time Machine and set the dials to childhood!  And we kick off our series with none other than Mattel’s Fright Factory, one of the greatest toys ever made!

Mattel Fright Factory 1966 Ad

Let’s head back to 1966, the year of my birth, and spend some time with the wonderful Fright Factory from Mattel.  Part of the Thingmaker line up, Fright Factory enabled kids to create plastic molds by pouring a substance known as “Plasti-Goop” into a professional-grade  hot plate — which could reach temperatures of 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit!  This toy line makes pretty much every Most Dangerous Toys Ever list, but kids loved it.  Toxic fumes and extremely hot metal — what more could a Monster Kid ask for?

Here’s the 1966 TV Commercial for Fright Factory:

This write-up on this wonderfully dangerous toy appeared in a 1966 issue of Jack & Jill magazine, courtesy of MagicCarpetBurn :

Jack & Jill Magazine 1966 Fright Factory Article

And since we’re having so much fun reliving this glorious toy, here’s the full instruction manual for your reading pleasure:

Fright Factory Mattel Instruction Manual

Mattel Fright Factory Instructions Page 1 & 2

Mattel Fright Factory Instructions Page 3 & 4

Mattel Fright Factory Instructions Page 5 & 6

Mattel Fright Factory Instructions Page 7

Finally, we wrap up this focus on the Fright Factory with this fabulously freaky print ad:

Mattel Fright Factory Print Ad

Do you remember these ads, 60s Monster Kids? Share your stories with us in the comments section below!

Vintage Dinosaur Toys @ the Minnesota Zoo

Dinosaur Roadside Attractions

We’re fortunate to live close to the Minnesota Zoo and we’ve taken full advantage of that proximity through the years by spending a great deal of quality family time there.  This summer, the zoo is hosting a special, can’t miss exhibit featuring almost life-size animatronic dinosaurs, including a special exhibit of vintage dinosaur toys!

As a 70s Monster Kid, it’s not too surprising that I grew up loving  dinosaurs.  In fact, as I’ve explained previously, I consider dinosaurs my gateway to classic monsters.

This cool exhibit is titled “DiNostalgia: A Stroll Down the History of Prehistory” and curated by the Zoo’s Director or Guest Experience, Jessica Madole, who is a collector herself.  In fact, many of the pieces featured in this exhibit were from her personal collection.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Jessica and discuss the exhibit, and her personal love of collecting, at the zoo earlier this summer.

Jessica Madole Guest Experience Director Minnesota Zoo

Why Vintage Dinosaur Toys?

While the Minnesota Zoo has featured life-size dinosaur exhibit several times in recent years, the decision to enhance this year’s exhibit with pop culture collectibles came about for practical reasons.

Last year, the zoo’s exhibited giant bugs! And while many of Monster Kids love our radioactive giant bug Sci-Fi movies, the zoo exhibit was a bit more educational in focus and the building was used to display the real-lifel bugs whose giant animatronic counterparts were featured in the display.  That left the zoo with a nice covered walkway with small glass-faced displays and a question of what, if anything, they could do with this space for this year’s dinosaur exhibit.

DiNostalgia Exhibit Minnesota Zoo

DiNostalgia at Minnesota Zoo

As a collector of vintage dinosaur memorabilia, Jessica had the easy answer: feature examples of dinosaurs in popular culture through the years.

The DiNostalgia Exhibit

The exhibit takes a chronological stroll through the many ways dinosaurs have appeared in mainstream American culture, beginning with roadside kitsch and gas station mascots during the mid 20th Century:

Dinosaur Roadside Attractions

Dinosaur Roadside Attractions

The tour continues with this great display of vintage dinosaur books, many from Jessica’s personal collection:

Vintage Dinosaur Books

Each exhibit included a simple but informative plaque to like this one accompanying the multiple Marx toys displays:

About Plastic Dinosaur Toys

Marx Dinosaur Toys

And the classic Marx Flintstones toy set:

Marx Flintstones Set

Jessica explained that the next bit was somewhat controversial, since the King of the Monsters isn’t technically a dinosaur (though the 2014 Legendary reboot says otherwise). Nonetheless, us Monster Kids are always happy to see our favorite atomic-breathed kaiju and the zoo took the opportunity to differentiate the imaginary Godzilla from the historical Tyrannosaurus Rex:

About Gojira

Godzilla Model Kit

I was quite impressed with the craftsmanship of the model paint job and also curious where the model was curated from.  Jessica explained that the zoo bought a later model Polar Lights re-issue and had a zoo volunteers assemble and paint the kit.  Readers will be glad to hear that I was quick to volunteer for any such future model kit assembly work that the zoo has need for!

Next up, we find a nice exhibit of comics featuring dinosaurs including this terrific copy of Savage Tales from Jessica’s collection along with some Turok and Jurassic Park comics:

Dinosaurs in Graphic Print

As a child of the 1970s, I was thrilled to see the focus on the essential Saturday morning classic Land of the Lost:

Land of the Lost

Love the vintage Viewmaster cover:

Land of the Lost products

The exhibit continued with a feature on the 1990s ABC series Dinosaurs as well as Jurassic Park which are outside the scope of this blog, but essential to the historical collection the zoo assembled. 

As Monster Kids, we are used to living outside the mainstream of popular culture and it’s always a thrill to see the things we love and celebrate get the spotlight.  My thanks to Jessica and love of vintage dinosaur stuff for taking the time to give me a tour and for championing this informative and fun exhibit.

Hurry! The Exhibit Ends Soon.

If you live in the area, I highly recommend you pack the family into he car and get to the Minnesota Zoo for this wonderful exhibit — but hurry! It’s only onen through Labor Day.

Ticket information is available on the Minnesota Zoo website.

And lest we forget, the main point of the exhibit is to excite and stimulate the young minds with a love of science and dinosaurs!

It sure worked for my kids! Plus, while they’re exploring and playing, you get more time to reminisce over your favorite dinosaur toys in the DiNostalgia exhibit!

dinosaur exhibit Minnesota Zoo

2016-06-05 13.43.19

2016-06-05 13.50.45

The Digital Clubhouse for Monster Kids & Collectors of Classic Monster, Retro Science Fiction and Vintage Fantasy Memorabilia