Toho Studios gave us the King of the Monsters in 1954 and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. While the monster’s character has evolved and morphed as many times as the monster suit, Godzilla remains an incredibly popular as evidenced by the commercial success of the Legendary Pictures 2014 release Godzilla. Toho purists might have been distressed by the American reboot but they are counting on the 2016 release of the next Toho installment in the Godzilla franchise.
The breadth of Godzilla, and related kaiju, collectibles is pretty overwhelming. With the ever growing popularity of Japanese vinyl and sofubi. kaiju figure collectibles of every size, shape and color are available. In this week’s series, we’ll focus primarily on Monster Kid related collectibles from the 1960s and 70s during the Showa period of Godzilla’s film catalog. In future posts, we’ll explore the modern collectible market and the impact of Godzilla and his pals in this increasingly popular urban vinyl category.
I highly recommend both of these books for anyone interested in Godzilla and other kaiju collectibles.
This Singularly Unique Promotional Item Captures the Essence of Monster Kid-dom
Since it’s Halloween week, and Daylight Savings is this weekend, we’re falling forward in our Monsterama series today to stay on the subject of Don Post Studios, the legendary monster mask maker that filled our young lives with desire and lit our imaginations.
This episode focuses on a unique promotional item the studio released in 1966 and the corresponding line of masks. Yes, it’s the Don Post Monster Calendar and the Don Post “calendar masks” as they’ve become known:
Collecting Don Post Calendar Masks
There’s a surprising number of the calendars available on eBay as of this writing. For a 50 year old piece of ephemera, several of them look to be in quality condition. The prices are all over the boar, but at least one listing for a high-grade calendar is less than $50.
Click here to see current eBay listings for the Don Post Mask Calendar as well as masks from the calendar collection.
The Company the Made Monsters out of Monster Kids for Generations!
As a kid, the Captain Co. ads in the back of Famous Monsters of Filmland were every bit as fascinating to me as the pictures and articles in the magazine. Perhaps more so. Because seeing the movies that were featured in the magazine each month was a crap shoot based on whatever was playing on TV and my ability to convince my parents to let me watch them when they did come on. But the merchandise was within my grasp. Though my allowance was meager, I made sure that these ads were front and center with my mom come birthday and Christmas time. Sometimes, it even worked.
This is a shared experience with Monster Kids throughout the 60s and 70s and perhaps no ads were more want-inducing than those featuring the masks of Don Post Studios.
This episode of Monsterama takes us back to the beginning of this mask making enterprise and brings us all the way to the current time – with Halloween approaching, there’s no better company to celebrate than Don Post Studios.
Collecting Don Post Masks
We’ll be featuring much more about Don Post masks soon, but with Halloween approaching:
Anyone in the Southern California region with an interest in Don Post Studios has to check out the upcoming Don-Con on November 7-8, 2015 in Burbank, CA. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event to celebrate the transcendent Don Post Studios, who started it all.
Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets:
This episode of Monsterama features a couple of guys that have become household names for modern horror fans. Greg Nicotero who is now Executive Producer and special effects guru of The Walking Dead and Robert Kurtzman who wrote From Dusk Till Dawn have combined to create the special effects and make-up for dozens of horror movies. This retrospective of the early part of their career is fun if nothing else because of the success they have gone on to have.
See Bob Burns’ King Kong & Might Joe Young Memorabilia
Anyone who has spent any time on this website knows that I am a passionate fan of King Kong. From my formative days as a Monster Kid seeing the 1933 film for the first time, Kong has held a special place in my favorite monsters and favorite monster movies. We’ve written numerous articles about collecting King Kong from Aurora Model Kits, toys and games and to original film posters as well.
But no Kong collectible can beat the original armature used by Willis O’Brien in bringing the giant ape to life on screen, and Bob Burns is it’s caretaker. Not only Kong’s armature, but Might Joe Young and a host of other original pieces from these fantastic films about giant apes. Enjoy this video, Monster Kids, this might be as close as you ever get to some of these items!
Fabulous Collectibles from TV’s First Family of Monsters
One of the most beloved TV shows of all Monster Kid-dom, The Munsters had a limited run of 2 seasons and one movie. But decades of syndication and a classic monsters aura that outlived the 60s has kept this show at the forefront of classic monster collectibles. In fact, the Lily Munster maquette by Tweeterhead was nominated for best last year’s Rondo Awards – read our article on this lovely statue from earlier this year.
This episode of Monsterama spotlights many of the original 1960s merchandise for the series and brings us to modern day collectibles. As a life-long fan who grew up watching The Munsters reruns after school, I’m have a real warm spot in my collection for anything Munsters related; including this episode of Monsterama:
Found on Amazon: Genuine LINEN BACKED 27″ x 41″ U.S. ONE SHEET VINTAGE ORIGINAL MOVIE POSTER from 1966. Issued by the studio when the film was released and meant for theatrical display. Condition: Excellent-Near Mint C8-C9. Very minimal typical fold line touch up/restoration. Looks beautiful! Well preserved.
Found on Etsy:This is a 1964 Grandpa Munster (aka, Al Lewis) doll, manufactured by Remco, from the infamous Munsters TV show. He is in excellent condition. A little more than 5″ tall. Head moves in a full 360 rotation. Rooted hair, all intact. A tiny bit of wear on the paint on this fingertips.
Available for Pre-Order from Entertainment Earth: From his gnarly teeth to his intense three-eyed gaze, Marty makes for one unique B-movie monster, and at around 16-inches tall, he makes for one unique bust, too. If you’re a B-movie fan, you’ll want to get the Day the World Ended Marty Three Eyed Mutant Bust to add to your collection. Think about how cool he’ll look next to your TV on B-Movie Night! Limited edition of 250 pieces.
This exquisitely rendered kit was manufactured by the legendary Billiken company exclusively in Japan in the late 1980s near the beginning of the garage kit craze and comes fully assembled and meticulously hand-painted by noted kitbuilder Bill Craft of Craftbeast Designs.
This over 11 inch tall polystone prepainted statue comes with 4 different arms, 2 Flying Mind Control Units, a base and a nameplate. She comes in a four color printed box with assembly instructions included on the side panel. They are limited to 100 world wide and only 6 are left.
These public domain magazine reprints from Golden Age Reprints and UP History and Hobby are reproduced from actual classic comics, and sometimes reflect the imperfection of books that are decades old. These books are constantly updated with the best version available
One of the Greatest Sci-Fi Franchises Ever and All Its Cool Toys!
The Planet of the Apes was one of the first film properties to create a licensing bonanza – to the delight of POTA fans and collectors alike. This episode of Monsterama shines a spotlight on some of the memorabilia and merchandise spawned by this classic sci-fi series – from the original Topps trading cards to Hasbro 12″ figures in the 1990s. As always, the photography is top-notch so enjoy and be careful not to drool all over your keyboard:
Collecting the Planet of the Apes
This is a subject worth it’s own series and we’ll get there – eventually. In the meantime, here’s some interesting items currently available that would be worth adding to your POTA collection or a good place to start one:
Published in 1998, this book includes a detailed listing of collectibles from the original film, the sequels, the television series, and the animated cartoon are all presented. Over 330 color photographs accompany the text. While the item values listed in the collector’s guide are obviously outdated, it remains a useful and interesting guidebook for anyone interested in collecting Planet of the Apes merchandise and memorabilia
If you are a POTA collector, we’d love to hear from you as this post only scratches the surface. We plan on profiling many of these product lines and companies individually in coming months. Let us hear about your favorite POTA collectible.
This man needs no introduction, but we can really never get enough of Ray Harryhausen. In this episode of Monsterama, we take a walk down Monster Kid memory lane with Ray as our guide, hear his origin story and get his insights into why hi work means so much to all of us. You’re going to really enjoy this episode!
The recent announcement of an auction of Harryhausen’s estate takes the idea of collecting Harryhausen to a new level – but for collectors of more modest means can still enjoy a library, statue shelf and DVD collection of his great movie-making legacy:
This new book reveals a wealth of fascinating artefacts relating to his films that has never been seen before, many of them recently discovered in a garage in Los Angeles. Designed in the form of a scrapbook, it provides a visual feast for Harryhausen fans. There are models from unrealized projects, such as dinosaurs from the unfinished film Evolution; prints of outtakes from various films including The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; early concept drawings and storyboards; colour transparencies of Ray at work; written artefacts such as letters and production budgets and a diary that details Ray’s first meeting with his mentor Willis O’Brien; early film treatments and script extracts; publicity posters and brochures; and much, much more.
In the animator’s own words, accompanied by hundreds of previously unpublished photographs, sketches, and storyboards from his personal archive, this book details Harryhausen’s entire film career, from 20 Million Miles to Earth and Earth vs. The Flying Saucersto Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts.
When the subject is Ray Harryhausen, we can never really be finished – and I assure you we have much, much more to come on the monsters, creativity and life of one of the true geniuses of fantastic cinema.
What is your favorite Harryhausen memory? We’d love for you to share it with us!
Master Make-Up Artist Rick Baker is the Focus of this Episode of Monsterama
Elvira takes us to visit the great monster maker Rick Baker and gives us a visual retrospective of some of his greatest work. From American Werewolf in London to How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Baker’s groundbreaking techniques have pushed the boundaries of movie make-up to new heights that embrace technology without sacrificing the artistry of practical effects.
Watch and enjoy!
Monsters in the Movies by legendary filmmaker John Landis showcases the greatest monsters ever to creep, fly, slither, stalk, or rampage across the Silver Screen! Landis provides his own fascinating and entertaining insights into the world of moviemaking, while conducting in-depth “conversations” with leading monster makers including Rick Baker: Monsters in the Movies
Earlier this year, Rick auctioned off a large part of his studio collection. Some of these items are still available, such as this animatronic gorilla head from Gorillas in the Mist: