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

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The Twilight Zone Board Game by Ideal (1964)

This Vintage Twilight Zone Game is Rare & Highly Collectible

The Twilight Zone Board Game by Ideal

Picture if you will, 1 to 4 players spending a rainy afternoon enjoying a 1964 board game released by Ideal, the players don’t know it yet but they’ve just begun to play…The Twilight Zone.

Thanks to social media, I learned that today, is National Twilight Zone Day and,while I have no idea why it falls on May 11 (as it apparently does every year), it is a day  I was lurking around the internet this morning and stumbled upon this board game of one of the essential Monster Kid  TV series of all time., The Twilight Zone.

…but I’ve been unable to find any information in regards to how the game play actually worked beyond this description: “In 1964, Ideal released a board game, simply titled The Twilight Zone Game, at the height of the show’s popularity. The game consisted of a cardboard playing surface, 4 colored playing pieces, a colored spinning wheel and 12 “door” playing cards.”

Ideal Twilight Zone Game Inside Box Cover Instructions

If my web search for listings of the board game are any indication, this is a pricey collectible.  In fact, there was only one Current eBay listings which is at $150 mid-auction.  Recently completed sales for this game on eBay ranged from $143 into the upper $200s. At that price, I’ll be spending my collectible budget on games I actually played, but I’m curious if any readers have any recollections of playing the Twilight Zone Board Game? Anyone have this in their collection now?  I’d love to hear from you.

 

Kenner’s Coolest Controversy: 1979 Alien Action Figure

Celebrate Alien Day With The Kenner 1979 Alien Action Figure

Kenner Alien Action Figure in Box 1979Kenner Alien Action Figure 1979 Box

So, 20th Century Fox has created a new Monster Kid holiday with the  first ever ALIEN DAY on April 26th, and it’s being billed as a global celebration of the ALIEN franchise. The day will be marked by all sorts of special festivities and product releases, not the least of which is a 20-city double feature re-release of ALIEN and ALIENS – at the screening of ALIENS at New York City venue The Town Hall, complete with a  Sigourney Weaver appearance.

I was 11 eleven years old when Alien hit the theaters and, still riding the Sci-Fi high of Star Wars two years earlier, I convinced my parents to let me and my little brother see the movie at the theater.  This was a big deal — I had never seen an R-rated movie and my Mom walked us to the ticket booth, bought our tickets and gave permission to the theater employee for us to see the movie.  Then she left…. Needless to say, Alien made a lasting impression on my brother and I!

It’s impossible to talk about Alien 1979 without spending some time on one of the most controversial – and coolest – monster toys of the 1970s.   Kenner was still riding high on their Star Wars license and decided to jump on the next big Sci-Fi franchise to come along.  There was only one problem: Alien was an R-rated movie and the creature was terrifying!

Here’s Kenner’s original TV commercial:

Despite Kenner’s best efforts, and a beautifully designed toy, sales were poor.  Parents thought it was too scary and raised a ruckus.   Kids, most of whom didn’t have parents like mine, couldn’t see the movie and thus weren’t bugging parents for the toy.  Most kids didn’t even know what the monster looked like.  The result; retail sales were bad and Kenner canceled the rest of the planned Alien lineup.

Kenner 1979 Alien Action Figure Face

Kenner Alien 1979 Action Figure Instructions

Collectors Notes

This action figure is a collector’s collectible.  The simple fact that this toy didn’t sell well means there are less available to collect.  Combine that with the fact the Alien franchise has continued to grow in popularity through the years and you get the perfect combination of high demand and low supply.  Scarcity is the main driver of price in collectibles and it is almost impossible to get one of these action figure in-box and good condition for below $1,000.  Not bad considering it cost $ in 1979.  Loose figures are much more common, but even they command $500+ in good condition,

Several of these toys – both boxed and loose – are currently available at eBay, Check out Current eBay auctions here.

2014 Gentle Giant Jumbo Alien

Gentle Giant released a 24″ Jumbo figure scaled off of the original 18″ figure Kenner for Christmas 2014.  The likeness and attention to detail are terrific, all the way down to the packaging:

Gentle Giant 24" Jumbo Alien Action Figure

With a retail price of $499, this isn’t a toy, but it is probably less expensive than a 1979 Kenner Alien in good condition!  You can still get the Gentle Giant figure at retail pricing at the usual places:  EntertainmentEarth.

I found one for $283 + shipping at Amazon which is as reasonably priced as I’ve seen in quite  a while.  Click here to see it on Amazon.

With Ridley Scott‘s Alien prequel Alien: Covenant  headed our way in the near future, there is little reason to believe the Kenner Alien action figure will do anything but continue to increase in demand and value over time.

Of course, commerce is the driving force behind our new favorite holiday, so there are a whole bunch of new collectibles headed our way on ALIEN DAY.

To see some of the new merchandise, check out EntertainmentEarth’s Alien store.

Resources:

Classic Monster Trading Cards: Topps Creature Feature

You’ll Die Laughing With These Glorious Bubble Gum Cards

TOPPS Creature Feature Trading Card Deck

By now, most of you readers know I am a 1970s Monster Kid.  While Monster Mania was to end by the end of that decade, the early 70s was still a wonderland of phantasmagoric merchandise.  By 1973, I was 7 years old, well on my way to Monster Kid-dom,  and one of my favorite places in the world was the local Get-n-Go convenience store.  The comic book spinner rack was a treasure trove of excitement, the latest issue of Famous Monsters was usually on the magazine stand and then there were the bubble gum cards!   

From Wacky Stickers, to Planet of the Apes and eventually to Star Wars,  bubble gum cards held me in rapture for a decade, and in many ways they still do.   The height of that rapture was Topps Creature Feature cards.  It was like Famous Monsters with bubble gum! Each package a mystery with cards featuring pun-filled jokes and marvelous movie still from movies I had yet to see!

Topps Creature Feature Trading Cards

Released in 1973, Topps Creature Feature cards featured licensed black and white movie stills from the classic Universal Studios and American International Studios. 

Series 1 included cards 1-64:

                               Card #34:   Topps Creature Feature Card #34 1st Series   Topps Creature Feature Card Back #34 First Series   Series 2 includes cards #65-128

                                Card #66: Topps Creature Feature Card 2nd Series #66 Mole People                                 Back:Topps Creature Feature 2nd Series #66 Card Back                               Card #78:Topps Creature Feature Series 2 #78

Topps Creature Feature Card #78 2nd Series

The back of the cards used the same “You’ll Die Laughing” headline and purple illustrated border as the original 1959 Funny Monsters cards and included a marginally funny monster joke.

Because of this, all three Topps card sets, from 1959 to 1980, are often referred to as You’ll Die Laughing cards.  That title most appropriately refers to the 1959 Topps Funny Monsters cards which  featured illustrations of monsters rather than licensed movie stills.  Not only did Topps use the same headline and border in all three series, they used the same corny jokes in both 1973 and 1980 series as had originally run in 1959!

We’ll cover those wonderful Funny Monsters 1959 cards in a future article.

Topps Reissued Creature Feature in 1980

Largely a reissue of the 1973 Topps You’ll Die Laughing set with many of the same images and captions, about 33% of the 1980 cards were new images, but the primary difference is the wrapping:

1980 Topps Trading Cards Creature Features PackagingAs well as the addition of color borders to the 88-card set, which is helpful determine the set these cards belong to:

1980 Topps Creature Feature trading cards

1980 Topps Creature Feature sets included one of 22 stickers in each package  Labeled “The Monster Hall of Fame,” these  stickers are quite inexpensive and easy to track down.

Topps 1980 Creature Feature Sticker Mr Hyde

Topps Creature Features Monster Hall of Fame Stickers 1980

Base sets are affordable as well.  For collectors on a budget, the 1980 cards are a less expensive place to start collecting.

Collecting Monster Trading Cards

Creature Feature cards from 1973 and 1980 series are quite easy to find both as single cards and in lots.  It may take a bit if effort to piece together the entire series as lots often are incomplete.  But with time and diligence, assembling a full series is very doable.

Single cards usually range from $1 -$2 and sets are usually in the same per-card price range times the number of cards included in the lot.  It is common to find complete display boxes for the 1980 series, though much less common to find 1973 sealed display boxes.

Interestingly, many of the original 1973 proofs are currently listed on eBay for fixed price of $320 each.  It’s a really unique collectible, but it would obviously be quite an investment to piece together a large collection of these

Here’s an example:

Topps Creature Feature #4 Proof

Certificate of Authentic Topps Creature Feature Proof

Worth taking a look, and a really unique monster collectible for the right collector!  Click here to see all the Topps Creature Feature cards currently listed on eBay

Monster Card Collecting Resources

More more in-depth information about Topp’s Creature Feature Trading Cards and collecting trading cards in general, I highly recommend these resources:

Did you collect these cards in your Monster youth? Do you still? Share your memories – and your collections – with us!

Classic Monster Comics: Marvel Classics #20 Frankenstein

Marvel Classics Adapted Classic Horror and   Sci-Fi Literature in the 1970s

Marvel Classics Comics #20 Frankenstein

Marvel Classics Comics #20 Frankenstein (Marvel Comics, 1977)

MAN vs MONSTER The Ultimate Classic of Nightmare and Retribution told in the MIGHTY MARVEL MANNER!

Like many kids my age, I owe a debt of gratitude to Marvel for introducing me to classic literature through this series.  While the interior art isn’t anything spectacular,  the covers always worked their magic and the stories, being the classics they are, did the rest.

At 52 pages, and without ads, these were long comics compared to most.

Stan Lees Presents Marvel Classics Comics Featuring Frankenstein

  • Freely Adapted from the novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly (Shelley is misspelled throughout this comic)
  • Written by John Warner
  • Drawn by Dino Castrillo
  • Lettered by John Costanza
  • Colored by Petra Goldberg

I’ve scanned  the first 21 pages of my well-read copy for your reading pleasure (click on the each page to open a larger image for reading):

Marvel Classics Frankenstein Page 1

Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 2Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 3

Marvel Classics Comics 20 Frankenstein Page 4Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 5

Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 6Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 7

Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 8Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 9

Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 10Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 11

Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 12Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein page 13

Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 14Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 15

Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 16Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 17

Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 18Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 19

Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 20

 Inside Back Cover:Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Inside Back Cover

About Marvel Classics Comics

Between 1976 and 1978, Marvel Comics published a series called Marvel Classics Comics adapting classic literature in the vein of the long-running Classics Illustrated, which had ceased publication in 1971.

I was well immersed in the Marvel Universe by the time this series appeared, but I was also old enough (10 years old in 1976) to be reading some of the classic works of Jules Verne, HG Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs by this time.  The fact that Marvel Classics Comics included a lot of classic horror and sci-fi literature in this series drew me in and was my first exposure to many of these novels.

I still have my original copies of these book sin my comic book collection and thought it would be fun to share them with you.  While my collection includes such titles as Black Beauty and Moby Dick, my collection is overwhelmingly  focused on the more fantastic adaptations, including Dracula, The Time Machine, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and such.  I plan to feature them all here in due course.

By the time Marvel published issue #20, adapting Mary Shelley‘s novel Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus in 1977, I was quite familiar with both Universal’s version of the story as well as Marvel’s own version of the monster.  So this one surprised me a bit.  While I noted the difference in the monster’s appearance on the cover, I was already familiar with the idea that there were different versions, thanks largely to my front-to-back readings of Famous Monsters of Filmland every month.   It would be years before I would actually read Mary Shelley’s novel, so I was surprised at how different the story was.  The monster could talk! More than that. he actually plotted and tool revenge in a calculated manner — I clearly recall not likely this version of the monster, who I always found one of the most sympathetic of the classic monsters due to Karloff’s magical portrayal.

Collector Value

Current price guide values list Near Mint copies of this comic at $13.50,  and copies are readily available.  None of the Marvel Classics series has appreciated significantly, in part because it’s not original creative content. Nonetheless, they make a nice addition to any Frankenstein or classic monster collection

Multiple copies are  currently listed on eBay at less than $10.

In the early 80’s,  Fisher-Price re-published several of the Marvel Classics comics as hardcovers and included fully-produced cassette tapes featuring audio recordings of the stories complete with sound effects and music.  Intended as  “read-along” to accompany the books.

Fischer Price Frankenstein Cassette

Frankenstein was included in this series and makes a nice collectible.  You can listen to  an mp3 of that recording here courtesy of the cool website AdventureAmigos.net

What was your favorite issue in the Marvel Classics Comics series? Please share in the comment section:

Raising Modern Monster Kids: Making Monster Art

Raising Modern Monster Kids Takes Effort By Monster Kid Parents

Monster Kid Bedroom Illustration

In the 1960s and 70s, classic monsters were everywhere! On TV, Halloween costumes, model kits, toys, comics, coloring books…growing up in the “monster boom” was great. If you were a lucky monster kid, your parents supported, even encouraged your love of monsters.  Regardless, it wasn’t hard to surround yourself with the things you love.

Today’s kids have incredible access — they are growing up in an on-demand, always-on world that puts the world at their fingertips.   They have networks dedicated to cartoons, not just an after school block of time and Saturday mornings.  Gone are the days of scouring the TV Guide for anything monster-related to watch and then doing everything in your power to not miss it.  But access to so much media means that classic monsters aren’t really in the mix for today’s kids.

I read a lot of 1960s / 70s Monster Kids (and adults in general) talking about how today’s kids are spoiled and how we grew up in the good old days.  I don’t dispute that we grew up during an amazing time and we’re lucky to have done so.  But I’m not so quick to throw today’s kids under the bus.

Raising Modern Monster Kids requires effort by Monster Kid Parents.

I’m a parent of grade school kids, and while they have tremendous access to all kids of entertainment, the classic monsters aren’t really in the mix.  Sure, there’s the Hotel Transylvania movie franchise, but I’m talking about the real classic monsters.  I could simply bemoan this fact and wax poetic about how my childhood was the good ol’ days.  But that’s not how I roll.  I’m raising my kids as modern monster kids by proactively exposing them to the classic monsters I grew up loving (and still do, obviously, since I have this blog).

Recently, I scanned a printed some pages from my favorite 1970s monster coloring book, Monster Gallery, and my kids and I spent a chilly March afternoon coloring.  If you had this book as a kid, or want to learn more about it, please read my recent post and check out all every page of this fantastic coloring book:  Colors of a Monster Kid: The Monster Gallery Coloring Book 

it was great fun, and the kids picked their favorite monsters to color. My 9 year old loves the Wolf Man.  He is not a natural artist and almost never finishes a picture when he’s coloring.  But this was different.  As you can see, not only did he finish it, he did a great job and really focused on it.  He had fun doing it and it shows.  Here’s his finished art:

Wolf Man from Monster Gallery Coloring Book

My 11 year old daughter, who loves all things ancient Egypt, picked the Mummy.  Anyone who follows me on Instagram or is friends with me on Facebook knows that she is artistically talented (I’m constantly posting pictures she has drawn).  So getting her to sit down and color with me isn’t a challenge like it is with my son.

The Mummy from Monster Gallery coloring book

I can rarely pass up the Fly, simply because I like a little sci-fi with my monsters:

The Fly from Monster Gallery coloring book

I’ll continue to journal my efforts to raise modern monster kids here and share my success (and failures) along the way.  In case you missed them, here are some of my past writings on my effort to raise modern monster kids:

Related Articles:  Can Today’s Kids Still Be Monster Kids?

So, what do you think? Can modern kids still be Monster Kids?

 

 

Colors of a Monster Kid: Monster Gallery Coloring Book

This Wasn’t Your Ordinary Coloring Book

Monster Gallery Coloring Book

Monster Gallery coloring book (Troubadour Press, 1973)

Troubadour Press published  beautifully crafted coloring books that stood head and shoulders above the usual coloring book fair.  They specialized in genre content and  treated these subjects with the same reverence as the kids who these books were made for.

These 11×14″, heavy paper stock coloring books covered a wide variety of subjects and contained detailed and thoughtful descriptions opposite beautifully intricate and eye-catching line drawings.

In 1973, Troubadour published their first monster coloring book, Monster Gallery, written by Leah Waskey, Troubador’s bookkeeper, and drawn by Mark Savee,  Savee’s elaborate drawings capture a wide range of classic monsters and were a site to behold for this very young Monster Kid.

 I had several copies of this book, along with others from Troubadour, and I loved to color them and then display them as the art they truly were.  Until discovering these books, I wasn’t much into coloring.  I much preferred drawing monsters myself.  But  I spent hours studying Savee’s art and attempting to recreate as my own drawings.  I think his simple, yet detailed, style made a lasting influence on my own drawing style to this day.

If you are unfamiliar with Troubadour Press, or simply want to know mor about this influential publishing company, I highly recommend this interview with Malcolm Whyte, Troubador’s founder

Here is a full scan of this wonderful coloring book for your viewing pleasure (click on any image to see a larger image in a separate tab):

Monster Gallery Title Page

Monster Gallery The FlyMonster Gallery The Fly 2

Monster Gallery Frankenstein TextMonster Gallery Frankenstein

Monster Gallery The MummyMonster Gallery The Mummy

Monster Gallery Creature TextMonster Gallery Creature from the Black Lagoon

Monster Gallery HunchbackMonster Gallery The Hunchback

Monster Gallery Godzilla TextMonster Gallery Godzilla

Monster Gallery Cyclops TextMonster Gallery Cyclops

Monster Gallery WerewolfMonster Gallery Werewolf

Monster Gallery Abominable Snowman TextMonster Gallery Abominable Snowman

Monster Gallery Mr HydeMonster Gallery Mr Hyde

Monster Gallery Phantom TextMonster Gallery Phantom of the Opera

Monster Gallery Morlock TextMonster Gallery Morlock

Monster Gallery Vampire TextMonster Gallery Vampire

Monster Gallery Kong TextMonster Gallery King Kong

Monster Gallery Bride TextMonster Gallery Bride of Frankenstein

Monster Gallery Back Cover

Collecting Monster Gallery Coloring Book

Unfortunately, not only is Troubador out of business, their books long out of print, but it seems I wasn’t the only one upon whom these books made an impression.

Monster Gallery now regularly sells for $50+, even though a reprint exists (with a terrible cover),  which can be had for around $7.

No copies were listed oneBay at the time of this writing, but there are a number of copies available on Amazon.

Did you have this book as a kid? Do you still have it as a collector? Share your memories and thoughts with us:

Most Expensive Star Wars Movie Props Ever Sold at Auction

The Force Is Strong With These Original Star Wars Movie Props
han-solo-blaster

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a little film out called Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.  It’s already the most successful movie in film history and it hasn’t even been released for a month.  My family has helped that number, with multiple viewings to our collective credit and more planned.

Despite it’s mainstream commercial appeal, this is a film franchise for Monster Kids.  Thankfully, director JJ Abrams returned the franchise to the original trilogy roots with a heavy focus on practical effects.

To celebrate this most-welcome news, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the most expensive props and costumes from the Star Wars movies (yes, even the prequels).  The folks over at JustCollecting.com compiled this list of the most expensive Star Wars memorabilia ever sold at auction – from Stormtrooper helmets to slave girl outfits, wookie heads to “weapons for a more civillized age”.

If you’re in the market for a piece of Star Wars movie history, you’re going to need a lot of intergalactic credits…

20) Princess Leia’s ‘slave’ costume

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

This outfit was worn by Carrie Fisher in Return of the Jedi, when Princess Leia is reduced to a slave girl by the evil Jabba the Hut following her failed attempt to rescue Han Solo. It originated from the collection of Richard Miller, a 30-year veteran with Industrial Light and Magic and the original designer and sculptor of the memorable costume.

The outfit was comprised of screen-worn, production-made rubber elements, along with fabric parts recreated from existing photographs. Described as the most complete and important version of the costume to have survived in private hands, the outfit sold at Profiles in History in October 2015 for $96,000 (inc. buyer’s premium).

19) Return of the Jedi Stormtrooper helmet

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

Return of the Jedi featured more Imperial storm troopers than ever before, particularly for the battle scenes on Endor, so the production team produced around 50 new helmets based on the original molds used for those on The Empire Strikes Back.

The helmet was worn during filing by stunt performer Billy Horrigan, who also worked on movies including the original Indiana Jones trilogy. It remained in his collection for years following the production, and eventually sold at Profiles in History in July 2012 for $98,400 (inc. buyer’s premium).

18) Empire Strikes Back Stormtrooper helmet

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Prop Store)

When it came time to film The Empire Strikes Back, producer Gary Kurtz noticed the original Imperial Stormtrooper costumes from the first film were looking a little worn. Most of the helmets had been reconditioned and repainted, so a new set or around 8-10 helmets was ordered.

This example was one of the new MK II style helmets made during production. Although showing signs of excessive use, and missing its original communicator ear piece on one side, the rare helmet sold for $99,400 (inc. buyer’s premium) during a Prop Store auction in September 2015.

17) Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Cloak

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Bonhams)

Based on Ralph McQuarrie’s conceptual designs, the last of the Jedi Knights appeared as a nomadic monk rather than a great warrior. Not only is ‘Old Ben’ Kenobi’s cloak indicative of the peaceful nature of the Force, it’s also the only thing left of him after his battle with Darth Vader in Episode IV.

The iconic costume appeared in the first two original films, and then remained in storage in Los Angeles until the Bonhams auction in 2007 when it was sold for a price of $104,000 (inc. buyer’s premium).

16) Stormtrooper DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

This DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle was originally created for Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope by the British movie weapons company Bapty & Co. Based on a deactivated World War II-era German MG 34 machine gun, the rifle was one of four seen in a weapons rack in the communications room on the Death Star.

Just two of those rifles included Bakelite stocks as seen on this example, meaning there’s a 50% chance it was the rifle used by Chewbacca himself during Princess Leia’s prison break sequence. Having been restored to its screen-used appearance, this blaster rifle – the only one of its kind ever auctioned – sold at Profiles in History in July 2012 for $104,500 (inc. buyer’s premium).

15) Darth Vader helmet & shoulder armour

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

Following the end of filming on The Empire Strikes Back, Lucasfilm sent this Darth Vader helmet and shoulder armour set to be replicated by N.J. Farmer and Associates. The company then used the production-made originals to create promotional suits, to be worn at the film’s premier in May 1980.

The helmet then spent almost two decades in storage with the company, before being rediscovered, and sold at a Profiles in History auction in July 2012 for $110,700 (inc. buyer’s premium).

14) X-Wing Fighter production miniature

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

As the Star Wars effects unit filmed the final climactic attack on the Death Star, they realised they were blowing up miniature X-Wing and Y-Wing fighters faster than they could make them. To save time, they started reusing parts from exploded models to create more cannon fodder for the Imperial guards (sorry Porkins).

This unpainted X-Wing filming miniature was created from a variety of screen-used components which survived the effects team’s pyrotechnics. It was the first X-Wing production model ever offered at auction, and sold at Profiles in History in 2010 for $112,100 (inc. buyer’s premium).

13) Darth Vader’s helmet from The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

The second Darth Vader helmet to appear on the list was also used in the production of The Empire Strikes Back. It was created for use during the climactic fight scene between Vader and Luke Skywalker, during which Vader reveals (spoiler alert) he is Luke’s father.

The helmet featured transparent cheeks and a modified grill, which enabled the Olympic fencing champion Bob Anderson a much clearer view whilst performing the fight sequences with Mark Hamill. It was sold at a Profiles in History auction in April 2003 for a price of $115,000 (inc. buyer’s premium).

12) Darth Vader’s Lightsaber from The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

Here’s one of the most feared weapons in the galaxy – Darth Vader’s lightsaber. This screen-used prop was used by David Prowse during production on The Empire Strikes Back -most notably in the climactic fight scene in Cloud City, in which the Skywalker family reunion goes slightly awry. Luke gains a parent and loses a hand, as Vader slices it off with this very weapon in one of the worst examples of father-son bonding in cinema history.

Originating from the personal collection of producer Gary Kurtz, this rare original trilogy lightsaber sold at Profiles in History in 2005 for $118,000 (inc. buyer’s premium).

11) C-3PO’s head

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

This original C-3PO helmet was worn on-screen by Anthony Daniels in his role as the faithful protocol droid throughout Return of the Jedi – whether it was translating threats for Jabba the Hutt, or being worshipped as a golden god by the Ewoks on Endor.

The helmet originated from the collection of Brian Lofthouse, who worked as prop supervisor on the original Star Wars trilogy and oversaw all elements of Daniels’ complex C-3PO costume. It was sold by Profiles in History in December 2008 for $120,000 (inc. buyer’s premium).

10) Chewbacca’s Head

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

7’ 3” tall actor Peter Mayhew was immediately cast as Chewbacca by simply standing up to greet George Lucas at a London audition. The character was based on Lucas’ dog Indiana, who often sat next to him in his car like a ‘co-pilot’ (and who later gave his name to a certain Dr Jones).

This screen-worn Chewbacca mask, made from yak hair and mohair, was one of five used during filming and is currently the most valuable – having sold for $172,200 (inc. buyer’s premium) at Profiles in History in July 2012. (Image: Profiles in History)

9) Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing fighter model

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

This screen-used effects model X-Wing appeared throughout The Empire Strikes Back – identifiable as Luke Skywalker’s fighter by the tiny model R2-D2 behind the cockpit. Bearing battle scars and blast marks, the X-Wing was used in numerous multi-element motion control shots during production. It sold at Profiles in History in July 2012 for $221,400 (inc. buyer’s premium).

8) X-Wing fighter model

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

This exceedingly rare X-Wing fighter model was one of the few fully painted and finished models to emerge from the production of Star Wars in one piece. Most were damaged by pyrotechnic effects designed to simulate explosions during filming of the final assault on the Death Star.

Measuring approx. 22 in. long by 18 in. wide, the model was consigned from the collection of a multiple Academy Award-wining visual effects supervisor and sold at Profiles in History in December 2012 for $225,000 (inc. buyer’s premium).

7) Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

The lightsaber is one of the most iconic screen weapons in movie history – “an elegant weapon for a more civilised age” used by generations of Jedi knights. In 2008, the weapon used by Mark Hamil as Luke Skywalker in the first Star Wars film was sold at auction from the personal collection of producer Gary Kurtz. It realized $240,000 (inc. buyer’s premium) at Profiles in History, an auction record for a screen-used lightsaber.

6) Han Solo’s Blaster

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” Han Solo’s weapon of choice may be a little more down-to-earth, but for collectors it was equally as desirable. Screen-used by Harrison Ford in both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, the blaster was described as “possibly the most exciting science fiction weapon to have been offered for public auction”. It sold at Profiles in History in December 2013 for $246,000 (inc. buyer’s premium).

5) Empire Strikes Back Snow Trooper helmet

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

Although numerous Imperial Stormtrooper helmets have appeared on the market, this unique example is the only Imperial Snowtrooper helmet to ever come to auction. Worn during the battle scenes on the ice planet of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, this helmet remained in original production condition more than 30 years later. It sold at Profiles in History in July 2012 for an exceptional $276,750 (inc. buyer’s premium).

4) Imperial Stormtrooper costume

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Christie’s)

This set of Imperial Stormtrooper costume components features pieces made for both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. The set was given to a teenage member of an amateur dramatics society in 1993, by another member of the group who had previously worked at Elstree Studios as a pyro-technician. Despite minor damage and restoration, the costume sold for an impressive $319,574 (inc. buyer’s premium) at Christie’s in December 2011.

3) Miniature TIE Fighter model

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

The second-most valuable prop on the list is another survivor from the first attack on the Death Star – a screen-used model TIE fighter. The fighter is known to fans as the one which collides with Darth Vader in the trench, allowing Luke to take his shot and sending Vader hurtling off into space to fight another day.

As a prop which changed the fate of the galaxy, the TIE fighter model commanded a top price at auction – a then-record $402,500 (inc. buyer’s premium), realized at Profiles in History in 2008

2) Rebel blockade runner ship

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

This Rebel ‘Blockade Runner’ ship features in the first moments of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, as it comes under fire from a far larger Imperial Star Destroyer – perfectly capturing the central struggle of the story in a single opening shot.

The unique 16-inch miniature was filmed moving along the entire length of the Dykstraflex track (the world’s first digital motion control camera system designed specifically for Star Wars).

It originated from the collection of Grant McCune, Chief Model Maker on the film’s Miniature and Optical Effects Unit who won an Academy Award for his efforts. It was auctioned at Profiles in History in October 2015 for $465,000 (inc. buyer’s premium), making it the most expensive Star Wars movie prop ever sold.

1) George Lucas’ Panavision Camera

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

The most expensive piece of Star Wars memorabilia ever sold never even appeared in Star Wars – because it was too busy shooting it. This Panavision PSR 35 mm camera was used by George Lucas during principle photography of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope in 1976.

It was later acquired by legendary Hollywood actress Debbie Reynolds as part of her famous movie memorabilia collection, and sold at Profiles in History in December 2011 for $625,000 (inc. buyer’s premium).

courtesy of JustCollecting

(Video) Monsterama Episode 22 – Alien Movie Props

Alien Movie Props in The Bob Burns Collection

Original Alien Face Hugger Puppet

We wrap up the Monsterama series with a monster movie that is near and dear to me.  On the heals of Star Wars, I was space crazy like most other pre-teen kids of the late 1970s.  But I had never lost my love for monster movies.  Famous Monsters of Filmland had effectively (to younger readers) folded the Star Wars generation into their world of classic monsters to stay relevant but also because George Lucas was himself a monster kid who had grown up under the  influence of Uncle Forry and crew.   Then, in 1979, the perfect merger of sci-fi and monster movies arrived to scare all of us Star Wars fans out of our seats.

My parent’s dropped my younger brother and I off at the theater and bought us tickets, giving permission for us to see Alien.  It was terrifying.  I was twelve and it was one of the first monster movies I had ever seen on the big screen.  It was also the first R rated movie I had ever seen.

Needless to say, Alien had a huge impact on this monster kid and I take great pleasure in knowing that so many of the original props used in this terrifying monster in space movie are in the possession of the one and only Bob Burns.  This episode of Monsterama takes us back inside his collection for a closer look at his amazing collection of movie memorabilia from the Alien franchise.

Enjoy:

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(Video) Monsterama Episode 21: Ape-Mania

FX Artist’s Tribute to the Planet of the Apes

Brian Penikas and Ape-Mania Staff

Brian Penikas is a talented practical effects artist best known for his design of the Creeper in Jeepers Creepers.  Like many modern make-up artists in Hollywood, Penikas fell in love with practical effects thanks to the magical work of his predecessors.  For Brian, it was John Chambers‘ brilliant work for the original Planet of the Apes films  that set Brian on his career path.

This episode takes a look at Ape Mania, Brian’s tribute company that honors the work of John Chambers and the seminal science fiction franchise, The Planet of the Apes.  Since 1996, Brian and his crew have been making film-quality PoTA replica props, masks and memorabilia as well s appearances at events.

Planet of the Apes was one of my formative Monster Kid events as a youngster and it’s great to see professionals honoring their own influences and keeping us modern monster kids well stocked with museum-quality collectibles.

Watch the episode here:

Ape Mania Collectibles

Apemania.com is still the place to go to see their officially licensed merchandise.  The site hasn’t been updated in quite a while and many of the products are quoted price, but it’s well worth a visit to check out the full line of products as well as a great link resource page for other Ape-related websites.

Ape-Mania resin kits

Ape Mania’s line of resin kits are available in three styles:

  • Unpainted $135
  • Bronze finish $159
  • Signature Series Fully Painted & Detailed by Ape Mania artists $275
  • Available at Apemania.com

Lawgiver Statue Replica Bust by Ape-Mania

Lawgiver Bust

Latex masks: Check out this thread dedicated to Ape Mania masks at The Halloween Mask Association.

Anyone have Ape Mania products in their collection? We’d love to see some pics! Share them on our Facebook page or Tweet them to us and we’ll feature them here in a future post.

 

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