Dracula 1931 One Sheet Poster Sets World Record

This Is Now The Most Valuable Movie Poster, Sold At Auction For $525,800

Dracula 1931 One Sheet Style A
Dracula 1931 One Sheet Style A

One of just two surviving One Sheet Style A movie posters for the 1931 horror classic Dracula set a world record for the most valuable movie poster ever sold at auction when it brought $525,800 Saturday, Nov. 18, in a public auction held live and online by Heritage Auctions.

The poster surpassed the previous auction record of $478,000 which was also set (twice) by Heritage Auctions. Heritage had just sold the only known surviving Italian issue movie poster from 1946 for Casablanca in July 2017, which matched their own previous world record from November 2014 for an only-known 1927 copy of the poster for London After Midnight.

This particular poster style from Dracula depicts the menacing visage of actor Bela Lugosi, who transformed the character into the now-famous Universal Monster. Recently discovered in the San Diego, California, collection of a noted film historian, collectors and experts consider it one of the most desirable horror movie posters ever produced.

The family of its longtime owner, Lt. Col. George J. Mitchell, Jr., an Associate Member of the American Society of Cinematographers, placed the poster up for auction. Mitchell had owned the poster since the 1950s.

“The reason my dad purchased the poster is because he loved horror films. He was drawn to the Bela Lugosi poster because it brought back childhood memories of seeing the film when it was first released,” Mitchell’s son, Arthur Mitchell said. “He remembered going to the theater … and remembered that there was an ambulance stationed in the lobby, in case anyone was so scared they needed medical attention.”

The elder Mitchell was a longtime cinematographer and photographer, who after World War II and a 20-year career in the U.S. Army, started a small film production company in San Diego, and did video work for AFL and NFL Films, the San Diego Zoo and training films for assorted branches of the military.

“It is a matter of opinion, but this poster probably is the most beautiful of all of the styles,” Heritage Auctions Vintage Posters Director Grey Smith said, “and one of only two styles that pictures Bela Lugosi in realistic terms or a faithful rendering – the other is a photographic image.”

The new owner’s identify was not revealed, although a Heritage spokesman said it was “an anonymous U.S. bidder.” Kirk Hammett anyone?

Watch this Heritage Auctions video for more information about this iconic poster:

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Monster Kid Must Haves: Universal Monsters Tiki Mugs

The Perfect Gift for The Monster Kid        in Your Life

Classic monsters and mid-century pop culture go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Many Monster Kids, like myself, have an abiding affection for all things Atomic Era, including classic surf music and Tiki culture,  So the folks at Geek Tiki have come up with a perfectly logical combination of Universal Monsters tiki mugs!

The creative, colorful drinkware products combine the beloved Universal Monster characters with the unique stylization seen in traditional tiki culture.

Each ceramic Monsters Geeki Tikis® stand approximately 7” tall, is top-shelf dishwasher safe, microwaveable and boast a capacity of up to 20 ounces.

Collect them All!

I’m not sure if the Werewolf of London drank his Pina Colada out of one of these mugs at Trader Vics, but I sure drink my tropical cocktails from my Monster tiki mugs! I keep these prominently displayed but I’m not afraid to pull them off the shelf when the occasion calls for a Mai Tai!

Bride of Frankenstein Tiki Mug

Bride of Frankenstein Tiki Mug

available online here

Dracula Tiki Mug

Dracula Tiki Mug

available online here

Frankenstein Tiki Mug

Frankenstein Tiki Mug

available online here

Gill-Man Tiki Mug

Creature Black Lagoon Tiki Mug

available online here

The Mummy Tiki Mug aka “Tiki Tut’

Mummy Tiki Mug

available online here

The Wolfman Tiki Mug

Wolfman Tiki Mug

available online here

Where to Buy

These tiki mugs were released earlier this fall and are available at the following online stores:

Amazon.com 

EntertainmentEarth.com

Book Preview: Forrest J Ackerman Scrapbook

New Hardcover Book Pays Loving Tribute to Uncle Forry Forrest J Ackerman Scrapbook

If you are reading this website, then I don’t need to introduce you to Forrest J Ackerman.  You already know that he was the long-time editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and  a legend in his lifetime.  You also know he was an author, agent, editor, archivist and collector whose collection at one time included several hundred thousand items in his Hollywood wonderland known as teh Ackermansion.

The Forrest J Ackerman Scrapbook: Treasures from the Ackermansion is loving look at his amazing life, with an in-depth examination of various aspects of his remarkable collection of sci-fi, fantasy and cinema memorabilia. The book is written and edited by Bill Walker and Brian Anthony and published by their independent publishing firm specializing in books on film history:  www.walkeranthonybooks.com

The book comes in at 200 pages, the majority of which are photographs from the of estate of Forrest J Ackerman.  Bill and Brian  were given unprecedented access to rare and previously unknown and unpublished material by Kevin Burns, the executor of Forry’s estate.

Forrest J Ackerman Scrapbook interior pages

Forry’s collection of animation props and models are given special attention. Several of the models used by Willis O’Brien in King Kong, Son of Kong, and the unfinished Creation are examined in detail in beautiful, never before seen high resolution images.

Forrest J Ackerman Scrapbook Interior Pages

Forry’s friends Ray Harryhausen and Ray Bradbury are here, along with a section dedicated to the fans, including the famous… and not-so-famous…Famous Monsters of Filmland, the various Ackermansions, contributing artists and their work, the Captain Company, Aurora monster models, books, paintings, posters and lobbies are all included in this deluxe hardcover, full-color,  200-page tribute to the Ackermonster!

Forrest J Ackerman Scrapbook Interior Pages

We can no longer tour the Ackermansion in it’s multiple forms, as many of us had the great fortune of doing through the years. But this book does a great job of capturing the feeling of those tours and documenting Forry’s collection and life.

Published on the 101st anniversary of Forry’s birth (November 24, 2017) it’s now available on Amazon and will make a great gift for the Forry fans in your life!

 

Peter Pan Records Monster Mash Re-release for 70s Monster Kids

Peter Pans 1970s Monster Mash Revival

Monster Mash Peter Pan Records

In 1977, Peter Pan Records released a slew of LPs that became Monster Kid favorites including Ghostly Sounds, a terrific spooky sound effect records that we cover in great detail in this article.  Perhaps their best known among 70s kids was their release of this Monster Mash recording which was more of a general novelty record than a specific Halloween record.

Once again featuring great cover art by George Peed, this was a must have record  for 70s Monster Kids, though what’s up with the monkey back-up band!?!

This record failed to achieve year-round listening status for me as a youngster for multiple reasons. First. this record doesn’t include the original Boris Pickett version of Monster Mash, going with a re-recording of this classic.  While the LP also includes such Monster Kid mainstays as Purple People EaterWitch Doctor and Dinner with Drac, it’s not really a Halloween record which would have been disappointing to kids like me.

Personally, my favorite aspect of the record is the Monster Maze on the back cover, which I promptly completed in ink on my original copy back in the day!

Front Cover:Monster Mash Peter Pan Records

 

 

Back Cover:

Monster Mash Peter Pan Back Cover

Tracklist

A1 Monster Mash
A2 Purple People Eater
A3 Feet Up, Pat’Em On The Po-Po
A4 Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
A5 Little Blue Man
B1 Witch Doctor
B2 Dinner With Drac
B3 Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s Flavor On The Bedpost Over Night ?
B4 Mama Look A Boo-boo
B5 Big Bad John

Listen to the full album here:

Pressings:

Released in 1977 by Peter Pan Records, the record only received one pressing.

Catalog # 8126

Monster Mash Peter Pan Side 1

Monster Mash Peter Pan Side Two

Collector Notes:

This LP is readily available online and certainly can be found at local vinyl shops with regularity for as little as $5.  If you’re like me and like to collect higher grade items, then expect to pay around $20-30 for a VF/NM vinyl/sleeve combo of this 1977 LP.

Of course, online shoppers can track down copies in the usual places:

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(News) DEMON WITH THE ATOMIC BRAIN World Premiere

Christopher R Mihm’s Latest Film Premieres October 4 in Minneapolis

Demon with Atomic Brain Poster

Growing up, I loved rainy Saturday afternoons. That often meant my parents would let me watch TV beyond my usual Saturday morning cartoon overdose, which was great because it also meant monster movies and other campy, fun genre fare. Usually, Saturday afternoon TV featured a 1960s Japanese giant monster movie like Godzilla followed by an older black-and-white science fiction, mystery or horror flick that I had read about in my monster movie magazines but rarely got the chance to actually see. Growing up before the digital age, before even the VHS era, meant calendar TV viewing. If you missed the movie, chances were slim you’d get another chance to see it for years.

Those childhood days are long gone of course, and Hollywood now uses focus groups to create blockbusters for an international audience to maximize ROI. Thats’ fine. Geeks have really never had it so good when it comes to entertainment made for us. But I still love my low-budget, black-and-white B-movie monsters from the 1950s and 60s. They made me nervous, and sometimes they even scared me, but mostly they made me excited and they provided good old fashioned escapism.

That’s exactly the kind of movie Minnesota filmmaker Christopher R Mihm loves to make. He calls them “new-old” movies and he’s been prolifically writing, directing and releasing a film a year for over a decade.   All of his films are loosely interlinked feature-length movies which pay homage to 1950s-era “drive-in cinema.” Based in Minnesota, like your truly, Mihm has been prolific in his film making efforts, releasing a film a year for over a decade. DEMON is his 12th feature length film in as many years!

 

Always black-and-white and produced on a shoe string budget, these movies are a direct homage to the wonderful drive-in movies of the 1950s and 60s that I loved to watch on Saturday afternoon as a kid in the 1970s and Chris grew up watching on VHS with his dad in the 1980s. To be clear, Mihm’s movies have a deep respect for those campy cult classics and while his movies are often funny and tounge-in-cheek, this isn’t Mystery Science Theater. Nostalgia is powerful stuff and movies, like music, have a magical way of transporting us back to simpler times.

George McGowan & Christopher R Mihm at Famous Monsters Con Dallas

I’ve been an avid fan and supporter of Chris’ efforts since discovering his work a few years back. This website was a sponsor of his last film, Weresquito Nazi Hunter and I’m thrilled to be executive producing DEMON. Chris and I are working hard on new ways to get his films distributed and hope to announcing some exciting new directions for the films of the Mihmiverse shortly.

About DEMON WITH THE ATOMIC BRAIN

A failed attempt to weaponize a machine capable of opening portals to other worlds creates an exponentially expanding bubble of fractured space-time which threatens to engulf the entire universe! An elite team of specialists must enter a “crack” in the disturbance and make their way down a rabbit hole of increasingly more dangerous alternate realities to find and shut down the machine which created it! Will their last ditch attempt to save humanity be successful? Will this be how the universe ends? Find out in writer/director Christopher R. Mihm’s exciting homage to the sci-fi adventure films of the late 1950s: “Demon with the Atomic Brain!”

Join us for the world premiere of  “Demon with the Atomic Brain!”

But first, it’s premiere time with the world premiere scheduled for Wednesday October 4, 2017 at the classic Heights Theater in Columbia Heights, Minnesota followed by a special showing on October 8 at the Alamo Draft House in Dallas, Texas.

In addition to the main attraction, attendees will enjoy a program complete with hand-picked, era-appropriate newsreels, classic trailers, appearances by most (if not all) of the cast and crew, autographs, photo opportunities with creatures from the film and a silent auction! DVDs, posters and other exclusive merchandise will also be on sale!

Just like those Saturday afternoon creature features I grew up watching, Mihm’s films are family fare and, while occasionally scary, they are intentionally crafted to be viewable for all ages, so bring the whole family!

Advance tickets are on sale right now @ http://www.demonwiththeatomicbrain.com/

Let us know you’re coming! Check in on the Facebook event page and let us know you’re attending!

Oh, and if you can’t join us, I highly encourage you to join us in spirit by watching some – or all — of Chris’s films. They’re all available on Amazon in DVD or streaming through his Amazon page.

(Promotion) Win This Godzilla Figure From Comet TV

Godzilla is taking over COMET TV in September!

Godzilla Doing Work Comet TV Promotion

Saturdays in Sept, Comet TV has Godzilla Millennium Series double features starting at 2P/1C.  Check out the times below:

SATURDAYS IN SEPTEMBER
Double Feature starting at 2P/1C

Godzilla VS. Destroyah (1995)

Saturday, September 16 at 4:30P/3:30P
Thursday, September 28 at 3:30/2:30P

Godzilla VS. Spacegodzilla (1994)

Saturday, September 16 at 2P/1C
Friday, September 29 at 3:30P/2:30P

Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-out Attack (2001)
Saturday, September 23 at 2P/1C
Thursday, September 28 at 6P/5C

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)

Saturday, September 23 at 10P/9C
Saturday, September 30 at 2P/1C


SEPTEMBER 25 – 29
Starting at various afternoon times

GODZILLA: FINAL WARS (2005)

Sunday, September 24 at 1A/MIDNIGHT
Saturday, September 30 at 5P/4C

Godzilla 2000 (1999)

Saturday, September 23 at 4P/3C
and Friday, September 30 at 5P/4C

Many of you know that I have a partnership with Comet TV and they send me free stuff from time to time to share with you guys.  Since I don’t have enough to give to everyone, I have to come up with creative ways to have you earn it! This month, Comet TV sent me this “Godzilla Doing Work”vinyl figure:

Godzilla Doing Work Comet TV Promotion

Now the fine folks at Comet TV are giving me the opportunity yo give one of my readers their own “Godzilla Doing Work” vinyl figure too:

THE COMET TV PRIZE PACK INCLUDES:

Comet TV Godzilla Giveaway

1 – Limited Edition Godzilla Action Figure: Who doesn’t want to sport some Comet TV swag! Godzilla sure does! He loves Comet TV so much, he’s ripping through his shirt. Clearly Godzilla 2014 has been hitting the gym! Check out those thighs!

1 – Godzilla Comet TV Card: Perfect for catching up with Godzilla’s comings and goings on Comet TV!

HOW TO ENTER:

We’ve made it really easy to enter to win this month’s giveaway from our friends at COMET.  To enter,  complete any of the following actions by 12PM EST September 29, 2017.

To win, all you have to do is subscribe to our email list and any ONE of the following:

Subscribe to our Email List by entering your information in the Sign Up Box on this, or any page, on our website. After you’ve done that, simply do ONE of these:

  1. Like our Facebook Page
  2. Follow us on Instagram
  3. Comment on this website article and tell us what your favorite Godzilla movie or collectible is.
  4. Already done all of the above? Thanks! Then just SHARE our Comet TV Facebook Post and tag our page:  @CollectingClassicMonsters
  5. or Re-gram our Comet TV Instagram post and tag our page:  @CollectingClassicMonsters

That’s it! Lots of ways to enter and help us spread the word. Just subscribe to our email list below this article to get started and then do any one of the above to be entered to win!  Good luck and happy watching!

BECAUSE…LAWYERS:

Entries must be submitted by September 29, 2017 at 12PM EST. This contest is only open to residents of the United States. No international entries will be accepted. Winner(s) will be chosen randomly from valid entries and will be notified by email, so make certain you can receive email from CollectingClassicMonsters.com by September 29, 2017 and must respond within 48 hours to claim their prize. The prize will be sent via FedEx or USPS. No P.O. Boxes, please. Please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery of your prize pack. Only one entrant per household. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.  Void where prohibited.

Any personal information you supply to us upon entering this contest will not be shared with any outside parties, except in the case when an outside party is handling prize fulfillment. In that instance, the prize winner(s) mailing information will be provided to the fulfillment team.

*Note, you can unsubscribe from our newsletter at any time (but why would you want to???), though you need to be subscribed at the time the contest winner is selected. The email newsletter contains links to all of our published stories from the previous month as well as exclusive content and special offers.

Disclosure: I received a free or greatly discounted product for the purpose of this review. The opinions are 100% mine. I have not been influenced in any way and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials In Advertising. Questions or concerns please contact me at george@collectingclassicmonsters.com

(News) The Frankenstein Project: Celebrating 200 Years of Frankenstein

CELEBRATING THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF MARY SHELLEY’S NOVEL FRANKENSTEIN

The Frankenstein Project by SuperMonsterCity

I owe a lot to the founders of SuperMonster市City! If not for their participation in the vintage toy exhibit at the Minnesota History Center in 2014, I would never have started Collecting Classic Monsters! One of the very first posts on this website focuses on the impact of my visit to the museum and the floodgate of nostalgia that reawakened my latent collector gene.  You can read more about that fateful day here: A Monster Kid Awakens.

SuperMonsterCity exhibit Minnesota History Center

Since then, I’ve gotten to know Stephen Yogi Ruff and David Barnhill and am always thrilled to support their efforts to celebrate the importance of monsters, superheroes and villains in popular culture. David’s personal collection of more than 200,000 toys, comic books, posters and films is one of the largest private toy collections in America and a constant source of inspiration for me.

Now, SuperMonster市City! is planning to celebrate the milestone anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in a big way with the  publication of a newly designed layout of the original 1818 text . They’re calling for artists to submit work to be included in this limited edition book and will make the book available in a variety of formats along with lithograph prints of submitted art. Artwork will be selected by a jury of artists and designers for inclusion in the books and other items.

Watch this video to hear David to talk about The Frankenstein Project:

One of our founders, David, on the special project we’ve been talking about! Visit our site (linked in our profile) and read all about THE FRANKENSTEIN PROJECT! Fun Facts: Mary Shelley’s birthday is coming up on August 30th! We’ll be having a special live stream Anvil Stream Team presentation all about this project speaking with artists and judges involved, talking about the history of Frankenstein, trivia, influences and more! The presentation will be on: Twitch.tv/thedarkcloak , next Wednesday, August 30th, 2017 at 8PM CST #supermonstercity #vintagetoys #actionfigure #monstertoy #toycollector #instatoys #instalove #instafave #instafollow #vintagehorror #classicmonsters #kaiju #monsters #BrideOfFrankenstein #BorisKarloff #UniversalHorror #UniversalMonsters #artbook #callforartists #artistsubmissions #artistentry #curatedartbook #artjudges #artsubmissions #theanvil #presentation #twitch

A post shared by Super Monster City (@supermonstercity) on

CALL TO ARTISTS TO SUBMIT WORK

Artists of various mediums, including traditional and digital, are asked to create and submit artwork representing his or her interpretation of a section of the famous science fiction novel. Artwork will be selected through a submission and jury process. All submissions will be included in the web gallery and include the artist’s name and a link to their website. The entry fee for submission is $30.00 per submission and is non-refundable. Artists appearing in the books will retain the rights to their work, granting SMC! provisional rights. Artists whose artwork is used will receive a portion of proceeds from the sale of books and in various media.

Artworks selected will be published via print-on-demand in both hardcover and softcover books with color plates. Artists included in the print-on-demand books will receive (1) hardcopy of the book and a pro-rated portion of proceeds where their artwork appears.

With this project we are honored to be joined by a prestigious group of jurors to pay homage to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the enduring legacy of her classic novel, and the Creature who has provided so much, to so many, for 200 years. We believe that in some ways we are all innocent monsters, and at SuperMonster市City! we have empathy for outsiders.

Kickstarter Campaign

A separate Kickstarter campaign launching in November 2017 will fund a limited-edition printing of leather bound books with color plates on archival paper. Letterpress posters of the selected artwork will be printed on archival-grade paper and offered as Kickstarter premiums. Artists selected for publication will receive (1) copy of the leather bound book, (1) letterpress copy of their artwork, and a pro-rated portion of proceeds where their artwork appears.

Additional details about the project and submission process can be found at SuperMonsterCity.com/the-frankenstein-project. The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2017.

Stay tuned for further details about the Kickstarter as details emerge and be sure to submit your artwork for consideration. I know I’m going to!

Ghostly Sounds of Monster Kid Childhood

Peter Pan Record’s Ghostly Sounds: The Soundtrack of My Childhood

Ghostly Sounds Peter Pan Records Cover

“Night falls. The forest holds its breath. Everything is still. The blood red moon stares through the trees. Suddenly, the wind blows! The trees… shiver. A bat quivers in the night… and flies away.”

For a kid growing up on a steady diet of the over-the-top comic book prose of Stan Lee and the comic book ads that promised greatness, only to certainly under-deliver should one actually convince their parents to order from them, such hyperbole is the stuff of wonder.

Ghostly Sounds from Peter Pan Records was released in 1975 and wound up in my small vinyl collection by that same Halloween.  The cover of Ghostly Sounds promises ” A stunning array of sound effects” and throughout this narration-filled record, it delivers the goods: “Flying Bats; Walking Monsters; Cackling Witches; Screeching Cats; Rattling Chains; Haunting Ghosts; Shrieks of Horror and many, many more scary sounds.”

Like our beloved Famous Monster of Filmland and the great bronze age comic book, it’s the cover art, by George Peed, that grabbed us by the throat and commanded us to buy.  The Ghostly Sounds cover features a top-hatted vampire with skull cufflinks and fanged skeletons accompanied a grinning ogre and the most unthreatening cartoon frog in the history of commercial Halloween art. But the stern warning “Not for the very young” was brilliant in drawing a line that this nine-year-old Monster Kid knew he must cross, because promised terrible delights that must be heard. And finally, that glorious house, obviously haunted and dangerous, daring to be explored.

With narrator Peter Waldron ever present to guide us through the treacherous sound effect landscape, Ghostly Sounds begins with marvelous effects of wailing, cackling witches, and their bizarre spell-casting. Howling wolves and keening cats are heard. All the while, the eerie noise of wind purrs in the background. Many of the album’s effects, all untitled, were done on a synthesizer, and those awful canned music machines were seldom used to better effect.

“From out of their hiding places,” the narrator announces, “Goblins step… and laugh… and dance.” The deranged, bobbing, giggling, merry/creepy effects used to represent the goblins and their ghoulish gathering is a highlight of the entire spooky sound effects genre.

Next, we are treated to “Strange, unnatural sounds” — a woman’s unholy, almost musical moaning. That and the track that follows, “Skeletons rising from their graves,” are a highlight of an already splendid album. As the album’s various creatures join together and rise into a cacophonous burst of pure Halloween, the narrator exclaims, a terrified, resigned catch in his voice, “And nothing will stop them! Nothing at alllll….”

A pause.

“…Except lollipops, and apples, and chocolates, and nuts,” the narrator concludes, his voice now steady and sober as that of a friend neighbor benignly dolling out Snickers. A last-minute terror softener.

This is a children’s album, after all, and there are limits to the fright that a kid can stand coming from his record player. But not if you’re a Monster kid…this LP is a nostalgia-filled trip back to simpler times and the gloriously over-the-top cover art makes it a stand out in my collection.

Front Cover:

Ghostly Sounds Peter Pan Records Cover

Back Cover:

Ghostly-Sounds-Peter-Pan-Back-Cover

Tracklist

A Ghostly Sounds 11:52
B The Ghosts From Outer Space 11:54

Listen to the full album here:

  • Artwork – George Peed
  • Narrator – Peter Waldron
  • Producer – Gershon Kingsley

Pressings:

Released in 1975 by Peter Pan Records, the record only received one pressing.

Catalog # 8125

Ghostly Sounds Peter Pan Records Side A

Ghostly Sounds Peter Pan Records Side B

In 1979, Rainbow Records released this LP in Australia with the same cover art along with a cassette version. These releases are identified as Catalog # RPG 6015 and RPGC 6015 respectively.

Collector Notes:

This LP is readily available online and certainly can be found at local vinyl shops with regularity for as little as $5.  If you’re like me and like to collect higher grade items, then expect to pay around $20-30 for a VF/NM vinyl/sleeve combo of this 1975 LP.

Of course, online shoppers can track down copies in the usual places:

My Guest Appearance on Monster Kid Radio Podcast

Things Get Sticky as Host Derek M Koch and I Discuss 1958’s THE BLOB!

Monster Kid Radio The Blob George McGowan

What’s your favorite monster movie?

If you’re like me, you probably can’t name just one so you have qualifiers…your favorite Universal monster movie, your favorite giant monster movie, your favorite man-in-suit monster movie, and on and on.  While I’d be hard pressed to name any one all-time favorite monster movie, I have a pretty clear sense of my top 10…or maybe 20…and the 1958 film The Blob is definitely in that list!

That’s why it was so much fun to be a guest on my favorite film podcast this summer talking about one of my favorite classic monster movies with host Derek M. Koch.  I listen to a lot of podcasts and Derek’s Monster Kid Radio is consistently one of the best produced and most entertaining in my feed.  Each week, Derek and a guest discuss a favorite monster movie; favorite classic actor, actress, or director; or a topic relevant to monster kids of all ages. Framed by mostly-spooky surf music, every episode of Monster Kid Radio is your weekly escape to the monster kid culture and a must-listen to fans of classic, and not-so-classic, genre movies of yesterday.

Monster Kid Radio Podcast

There’s a lot to talk about regarding The Blob, so much so that Derek and I can’t cover it ourselves! So to fill in some more blob blanks, Derek takes listeners back to Monster Bash for a recording from the Q&A session with Kris Yeaworth, the son of the film’s director.

You can listen to the episode on the Monster Kid Radio website or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. With 335 episodes and counting, I highly encourage all you Monster Kids to subscribe to Derek’s podcast and dig into the catalog of back episodes. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed! Also, you can connect with the MKR community on the podcast’s Facebook Page and Facebook Group. 

So check out Episode 331 of Monster Kid Radio and let me know what you think? Do I have a future as a podcaster, or should I stick to blogging? My friends always say I have a face for radio!

My Conversation with SCARY MONSTERS’ Don Smeraldi

I Met Up with New SCARY MONSTERS Publisher Don Smeraldi at SDCC 2017 – Here’s Our Conversation

George McGowan with SCARY MONSTERS Publisher Don Smeraldi at SDCC 2017

George: First off all, congratulations on taking over the helm of Scary Monsters! It’s a big responsibility you’ve shouldered taking over a magazine that has been around for 25 years. Having just shipped your 6th issue, I’d love to hear your story on how you wound up acquiring the magazine from Dennis and what attracted you to this business?

Don: We had been doing business with Dennis for many years and were offering for sale each issue of Scary Monsters on our classic horror and sci-fi movies and collectibles website (which we had launched in 1999). He would purchase various magazines and collectibles from us. We first advertised in Scary Monsters in Issue #67 in June 2008. In April 2015 I submitted a two-part article I had written, which appeared in Issues #99 and 100. Sometime shortly after that we heard that Dennis was thinking about retiring from doing the magazine. In August I reached out to him and let him know we’d be interested in continuing the magazine. At that point he said it was a bit too soon, but we continued to talk at length and we took over to start 2016. In terms of what attracted us, Vicki and I had worked together years ago at U.S. Postal Service Headquarters designing and editing/writing (respectively) national publications. Since we also ran MyMovieMonsters.com and I was planning retirement, taking on Scary Monsters was a natural. It really was a dream come true … a bucket from the wish list I thought I’d never have a chance to fill.

George: Obviously, you’re a Monster Kid and I’d love to hear your ‘origin story’ – what was your first monster movie? What is your favorite monster movie now?

Don: I don’t necessarily recall the first monster movie I saw. Unfortunately we rarely went to the theater as kids so my exposure to the genre was through TV. I recall being scared by many of the previews of movies that would air later on TV, including Day of the Triffids. I know I definitely saw Day the World Ended at a young age, and “Marty the Mutant” really creeped me out. Even the promo and opening for The Outer Limits TV show made me run from the room, only to return when the show actually started. I eventually saw all the Universal Monster films (The Wolf Man being my favorite character and the Frankenstein series also up there). I also remember staying up late and watching Shock Theater and many films of varying quality served up by Cleveland horror host Ghoulardi, as well as his successors, Hoolihan & Big Chuck, The Ghoul and, later, Big Chuck & Lil John. While I love all the classic Universal Monsters films, my favorite monster/fantasy film is Jason and the Argonauts. It fascinated me as a kid, and Ray Harryhausen‘s work in that film is legendary.

Scary Monsters Magazine
 

George: I’m curious if you are a collector? If so, what do you collect and what are some of your favorite pieces in your collection?  

Don: I have collected magazines (mostly Famous Monsters of Filmland and Scary Monsters), books, monster models and other related items in the past but our monster business over the past 18 years has allowed me to briefly admire thousands of action figures, models, bobble heads, collector cards and other cool stuff before we ship them out to customers. So my “collection” is short-lived and not hands on but there’s always new items to enjoy. Two favorite pieces that we do own and showcase are a Frankenstein’s Monster bust with a hand-built base. His eyes light up, the base has a glowing plasma sphere and working gauges — just like from the lab. It’s a one-of-a-kind work of art. The other is the Sideshow Collectibles Little Big Head of Frankenstein’s Monster — and it’s not the little one, it’s the huge one (about 4 feet tall) that is pretty hard to find. We lucked out getting both pieces. 

George: A big focus of your business is your online store, MyMovieMonsters.com.  Tell me what your product focus is in your online store and what us classic monster collectors can expect from your store in the near future?

Don: Back in 1999 it was strictly a classic horror and sci-fi movie site offering new VHS tapes at first then transitioned to DVD. Over the years we’ve focused more on monster magazines (both domestic and international), comic archives, books, action figures of all sizes (mostly monsters and sci-fi creatures but some superheroes), model kits, collector cards, bobble heads, and more. We have a vast selection of Godzilla figures, bust coin banks (both monsters and superheroes) and Sideshow classic monsters that are either brand-new and purchased by us or pre-owned but their display boxes have not been not opened. We always try to have the latest classic horror and sci-fi magazines and model kits in stock. Anyone can register on our website to receive email updates on new product — and unlike others we don’t spam you and only send an occasional message when new items warrant it.

Don & Vicki Smeraldi Monsters Kids of Year Rondo Awards

George: Another big congratulations goes out to you and Vicki for being named Monster Kids of the Year in the 2016 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards! Clearly, the Monster Kid community appreciates your efforts to keep a “Real Monster Magazine” alive! With other classic magazines such as Famous Monsters of Filmland and Fangoria ceasing publication in recent years, how do you keep a print magazine business sustainable and growing? What can the Monster Kid community do to support your efforts?

Don: We are really blessed to have a great team of contributors who volunteer their talents to help make the magazine what it is. Many have stayed on with us since we took over. We also are thrilled to have Scott Jackson crafting each cover. He just keeps outdoing himself each time! Of course, the biggest hurdle is the cost of printing and distribution. We’re always looking for ways to save on those costs. Our readers have done a great job supporting us by subscribing and ordering from the “Scary Stuff” catalog section that’s in the back of each issue. One way to support us even further is to consider buying one copy of each issue to read and one copy to put away, which many collectors already do.  Another is to share those reader copies with children and grandchildren — if you can get them to put down their handheld device for a little while! It’s no secret that the fan base is dwindling because most of the movie stars (even child actors back in the day) and caretakers like Forry Ackerman and many others have passed on. But that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to celebrate the classic films and the movie makers and stars for generations to come — and we hope to be a part of that for a long time!   

George: I’m excited to begin our new ongoing column on Collecting Classic Monsters beginning in Scary Monsters #106! Thank you for the opportunity to further our mission of providing a singular resource for collectors to learn more about classic monster, retro Sci-Fi and vintage fantasy film memorabilia! To me, this ongoing column is an example of how being a Monster Kid extends beyond our love for the movies and characters themselves into a full-fledged lifestyle.  What other ‘Monster Kid lifestyle’ features are you working on that we can share with our readers?

Don: That’s so true. It’s a lifestyle. Collecting is such a big part of being a Monster Kid for so many. As an extension of your column, we may consider doing collector profiles or Monster Kid profiles of some of our long-time readers. We get some of that info from their submissions to our Monster Memories Yearbook that we publish each March, but the difference is we’d also like to draw the information from them. Covering the more family-friendly conventions (like Monster Bash, Ghoulardi Fest, etc) that have a dedicated following is a big part of living out the hobby through our pages, too.

 
We really would like to see more monster memory articles submitted by readers. They don’t need to be highly polished articles but it would help greatly to have them formatted in a program like Microsoft Word. They should be no more than 1,500 words. The monster memory doesn’t necessarily need to be from 40 years ago. It could be about a recent experience or special purchase that really stands out in the reader’s mind. Examples are available in nearly every issue of Scary Monsters and Monster Memories. A critical piece that is often missing from submissions is photos! They should be of high enough quality to be reproduced. We can’t print photocopies of photos or blurry images. But we do want to bring to life in our pages as many of the memories as possible. Childhood photos involving monster collectibles and photos with celebrities or other Monster Kids are great. People want to see the folks that are willing to share their special memories. That’s a big part of our magazine. While we can’t guarantee every monster memory will be published, we can sometimes run a portion in the Scare Mail section or use a photo or two as stand-alone pieces. The best way to submit a monster memory and photos is via email to scarymonsters@mymoviemonsters.com. Or submit the material via U.S. Mail to Scary Monsters, PO Box 567, Wildomar CA 92595-0567.

So there you have it, folk! Don and Vicki are carrying the torch for all of us Monster Kids and keeping our fandom alive in print. I’m thrilled to be contributing a new ongoing column to the magazine as an extension of this website and hope you’ll support Don and Vicki’s efforts by buying the magazine, or better yet click here to subscribe!