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!
Executive Replicas Gives Us An Amazing 1:6 Scale Action Figure
The rivers of Drakulon used to flow with blood, keeping the Vampiri a thriving race. Their world dying, Earthlings chanced to crash upon their planet, their veins rich with life-giving blood. Vampirella, the princess of Drakulon, piloted the crashed spaceship back to Earth, where she spends her life defending Earthlings from evil vampires, such as Dracula, who had migrated to Earth years before.
The epic story, created by our own Forrest J Ackerman for Warren Publishing in 1969, has become ingrained in popular culture. Now, nearly 50 years later, Vampirella is so popular that Dynamite Entertainment with Executive Replicas and Phicen Ltd. are releasing this Vampirella Asian Version 1:6 Scale Action Figure. Measuring in at 12-inches tall, with all the sexy detail of Vampirella herself, this figure is amazing. Officially called the Vampirella Again Version, you’ll notice her face has a distinctly Asian look and there’s no word on whether a caucasian version is planned in the future. Personally, I think she looks great and I’m perfectly okay with Vampi having an Asian look – all in all, she looks amazing!
It is every bit as enchanting as it needs to be to make her fans happy. Vampirella comes to life in her Phicen seamless body with stainless steel armature, in her one-piece bikini costume. She has three pairs of interchangeable hands, her knee-high boots, a removable cape, and more accessories. What really captured my attention is the seamless articulation, which is trademarked by Phicen. Having 26 points of seamless articulation is stunning and goes a long way to explain the high retail price.
We know it’s a marketing event designed to sell stuff, but it sure beats National Boss Day.
For that last couple years, 20th Century Fox is been declaring April 26 “Alien Day.” This marketing event is inspired by LV 426, the planet where the crew of the Nostromo first encounter the xenomorph eggs in that little Sci-Fi classic, Alien. We share this otherwise useless information with you because a bunch of exclusive collectibles will be released on this date. It is a marketing event after all.
We’ll be sharing the coolest of these collectibles as they are announced and released, but we do have some advance news from toy company Super 7. The company behind the Kenner-inspired ReAction line of retro action figures, Super 7 has given us a sneak peek at a few of the items they’ll be releasing on Alien Day.
Alien ReAction figure carrying case with figures:
True to the entire ReAction line, this case is inspired by toy cases from decades past. In addition to holding up to 24 of the 3.75″ ReAction figures, the case will contain an exclusive glow-in-the-dark Alien figure. I love this idea both as a collector and as a father. If I could have gotten an exclusive Kenner Star Wars figure with my storage case in 1978, you bet I would have been all over it. This case and figure set is available for pre-order on EntertainmentEarth.com
Nostromo 3-pack with Kane, Lambert and Dallas in space suits:
The packaging features an exclusive Japanese window box style just for Alien Day, which might mean the figures themselves will be available elsewhere but just not packaged in such a way.
18-Inch Alien Warrior:
Super 7 recently announced a new 18-ince Alien Warrior figure, designed as the ‘successor’ to the classic 1979 Kenner Alien figure.
The imagined successor to the 1979 Kenner Alien toy. Fully articulated with glow accents, metallic snapping jaws (operated with a trigger on the back of the head like the original 1979 toy), and retro style packaging. The figure stands 18-inches and can also hang from its tail like the original 1979 Alien figure.
The Alien 3.75-inch ReAction Figure Blind Box will be available from Super7 website starting @ Noon PST on Wednesday, 4/26. Boxes purchased online will be selected randomly between 3 new color variants. https://super7store.com
Personally, I like the my Alien Warriors in black, but to each their own!
ReAction Nostromo Crew Set:
As we mentioned earlier, Super 7 is the company behind the ReAction toy line. Their partnership with Funko has expired so they’ve regained full marketing rights of this line designed in the original Kenner figure style. We love the ReAction Universal Monsters and the crew of the Nostromo are pretty cool too.
Of course, Alien Day might simply be a good excuse to dust off your DVD of one of these fine films and give it watch. However you decide to celebrate Alien Day, every day is better with monsters (and aliens) in it!
Anchor Hocking Universal Monsters Drinking Glasses Set of 4 – 1963
The mid-1960s was the peak of the Monster Craze in the U.S. and classic monsters were everywhere; on Saturday afternoon television, in toy and hobby stores, on the magazine rack and even at the gas station. Gas stations in the 60’s would give out a glass with a free tank of gas just as fast food chains did in the 80’s and the subject matter would reflect the popular trends at the time.
Anchor-Hocking, a glassware company, produced a set of four glasses for gas stations featuring the Universal Monsters in 1963. The glasses featured colorful images of Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man, the Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon but surprisingly no Dracula. The release date of the set falls before the lawsuit that virtually removed Dracula from merchandising due to the Bela Lugosi likeness so it unusual to see the Creature included.
The day-glow vibrant colors, great facsimiles of the classic monsters (which wasn’t always a sure thing during this time period) and the popularity of the four characters featured on the glasses are all reasons for the demand and popularity of this collectible set. Glasses were painted and have a nice textured feel to them.
The following pictures are the glasses set in my collection:
Frankenstein Monster Drinking Glass
I love the Glenn Strange likeness of the Monster on this glass, but it appears they started at the top with this illustration and ran out of room to include the traditionally heavy platform boots. His too-small feet really throw the overall design off for me despite the great face illustration.
The Wolf Man Drinking Glass
Wonderful art of Lon Chaney Jr’s iconic character.
The Mummy Drinking Glass
It’s not often that my favorite piece is a set is The Mummy, but it is my favorite in this case. The Lon Chaney Jr likeness is the best of any classic monster collectible (outside of a Famous Monsters cover) and the vibrant colors just really do it for me!
Creature from the Black Lagoon Drinking Glass
My favorite of the Universal Monsters, and a really cool glass.
These glasses aren’t hard to find in good condition but they have gotten quite expensive in recent years. Considering that these pieces are over 50 years old, the relatively good condition of many of these glasses is a testament to how well made they are. Anchor Hocking is still in operation to this day and it’s no surprise if these glasses are representative of their product quality.
Based on a quick search of eBay, prices for individual glasses are ranging from $75 to $125 regardless of which character. Finding complete sets is still possible, though this might be one to put on the estate and garage sale wish list at current secondary market prices!
Inspired by Ron Cobb’s Iconic FM 1968 Fearbook Cover
Former Mondo creative director Justin Ishmael, who licensed Cobb’s artwork from Famous Monsters,is thrilled to announce his 12-inch tall Galligantus soft vinyl figure!
Galligantus is the fist Japanese vinyl piece Ishmael has released. The original sculpt is by Handsome Taro and sofubi cast is by Luke “Grody Shogun” Rook.
Galligantus is the first of Ishmael’s new “Make-A-Monster” series, which is inspired by the classic model kits we all love. Your kit arrives unassembled in a vintage-style model kit style box, filled with the nine pieces that make the 2-Headed Giant, and then you simply slot them together — possibly with the help of a hair dryer to warm the vinyl, but no glue needed at all!
Cast in glow-in-the-dark vinyl, this monstrous beast comes with a spiked ball mace on a chain and assembly instructions featuring artwork by Ken Landgraf.
Available now for preorder on Justin’s website , these $200 apiece works will begin shipping in early 2017.
This Halloween, We’re Focusing On Vintage Ads for Monster Kid Toys
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and we’re celebrating with a month-long focus on vintage advertising for all the things us Monster Kids love. From Captain Company mail order pages in the back of Famous Monsters of Filmland to TV commercials, we’ve lined up a wonder-fest of nostalgia. So buckle up, Monster Kids, it’s time to step into the Time Machine and set the dials to childhood! And we kick off our series with none other than Mattel’s Fright Factory, one of the greatest toys ever made!
Let’s head back to 1966, the year of my birth, and spend some time with the wonderful Fright Factory from Mattel. Part of the Thingmaker line up, Fright Factory enabled kids to create plastic molds by pouring a substance known as “Plasti-Goop” into a professional-grade hot plate — which could reach temperatures of 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit! This toy line makes pretty much every Most Dangerous Toys Ever list, but kids loved it. Toxic fumes and extremely hot metal — what more could a Monster Kid ask for?
Here’s the 1966 TV Commercial for Fright Factory:
This write-up on this wonderfully dangerous toy appeared in a 1966 issue of Jack & Jill magazine, courtesy of MagicCarpetBurn :
And since we’re having so much fun reliving this glorious toy, here’s the full instruction manual for your reading pleasure:
Finally, we wrap up this focus on the Fright Factory with this fabulously freaky print ad:
Do you remember these ads, 60s Monster Kids? Share your stories with us in the comments section below!
This Vintage Twilight Zone Game is Rare & Highly Collectible
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.”
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.
Celebrate Alien Day With The Kenner 1979 Alien Action Figure
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.
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:
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.
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.
Aurora Monster Model Kits Are Definitive Monster Kid Collectibles
What can we say about the Aurora monster model kits that hasn’t been said many times before?
Of all the great monster toys and merchandise available during the mid-20th Century classic monster heyday, nothing rivals the Aurora monster model kits for their impact on Monster Kids of the 1960s and 70s.
From the mesmerizing James Bama box art, to the highly detailed sculpts by Bill Lemon and Ray Meyers, these model kits were true pop art. Kids spent endless hours assembling, painting and starting at these fantastic works of imagination.
This episode of Monsterama digs into the monster models of Aurora Plastics Corporation in all their versions of their monster model kits up and through to the Polar Lights re-issues of the 1990s. Sit back and get ready for a sweet trip down nostalgia lane, fellow Monster Kids!
Collecting Aurora Monster Model Kits:
Schiffer Collectors Guide to Aurora Model Kits
Over 450 color photographs enhance this comprehensive history and guide to Aurora models. The Aurora empire was once the worlds largest producer of hobby products. Here, corporation executives, sculptors, artists, and engineers who created Auroras models tell the story in their own words. Every model Aurora made is described in detail, with information on reissues. Published in 2007, market values are a bit dated, but this is still a very useful reference guide that I use frequently. Aurora Model Kits (Schiffer Book for Collectors)
Aurora Monster Scenes – The Most Controversial Toys of a Generation
Rated X…for Excitement! This book is dedicated to one of the great debacles of the toy & hobby industry. Written and presented by the men behind the Monster Scenes, then and now, this is a must-read book for fans and collectors alike. Andrew P. Yanchus, original Aurora Project Manager in 1971, opens his vault of artifacts and doles out his first-hand anecdotes of the series that went so wrong.
Produced by Cortland Hull and hosted by Zacherly, this two hour DVD features in-depth interviews, a wax sculpture demonstration, rare photos, sketches & promotional material related to Aurora, never seen by the public. – 1 hour 45 minutes, plus a “Zacherley, behind-the-scenes” bonus feature.
Before monsters entered my world, there were dinosaurs. As I have detailed in previous posts, dinosaurs were my gateway to monsters and played an influential part in my becoming a full-fledged Monster Kid.
In reality, my favorite kind of monster movie usually includes a dinosaur or derivative thereof — atomic behemoths rampaging through modern cities, inhabiting lost worlds accidentally discovered by modern man or, in more recent incarnations, terrorizing mad scientists who recreated them using their DNA.
With Jurassic World stomping the competition at the box office this summer, I’ve been focusing on some of my favorite dinosaur-infested classic movie posters and it only makes sense to broaden the scope to dinosaur collectibles of all kinds.
In today’s post, I’ll provide a general overview of vintage dinosaur toys including companies that manufactured them over the decades and highlight some of the unique products released over the years. In the coming weeks, I’ll dig deeper into some of these companies and products included in today’s overview.
Early 20th Century
Toy dinosaurs have been around for almost since the first fossils were discovered. In a segment I wrote profiling toys from the 1933 King Kong, I highlighted a terrific jigsaw puzzle of Kong battling a T-Rex. Early examples of prehistoric animal toys include a metal Brontosaurus and Sabre-Tooth Tiger from 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. There are other examples of lead, metal and wooden dinosaur toys from the first half of the 20th Century, but it was in the 1950s that dinosaur toys really came to prominence.
1950s Rise of the Dinosaur Toys
Early dinosaur toy makers include Ajax (1950s-1960s), Marx (1955-1963; 1971-1979), MPC (1964-1970s), and Timmee (1960s-present).
Most of the dinosaur toys in the early days were no bigger than a few inches and many were originally packaged in playsets that included plastic rocks, plants, and cavemen. Since access to dinosaur information was limited back then, many of the toy makes, like Marx and MPC, imprinted the animal name on their tail or body.
Of the toys just mentioned, Marx dinosaur toys are the most detailed, best crafted, and most desired among collectors and I’ll cover them in detail in a future post.
By the late 1960s, dinosaur toys were cooling off and monsters, G I Joe and space toys were captivating kids imaginations.
Thanks to popular kids shows like Land of the Lost, dinosaurs were back in the forefront by the early 1970s and many of the companies already discussed began re-issuing and expanding the prehistoric offerings to include cave people and Ice Age mammals.
Other companies near and dear to Monster Kids were in the dino toy business as well and are worth spending some time. Aurora Model Company, in particular, was very successful with their Prehistoric Scenes collection in the 1970s, which are near to my heart because I had the entire set when I was a wee lad. Additionally, in 1976 Mego released a collection of prehistoric people and animals based on the movie One Million Years B.C.
1990s Jurassic Park
While dinosaur toys never went away, the 1980s saw a shift toward dinosaurs recast as action figures and included in play sets that are outside the scope of Collecting Classic Monsters. But the release of Jurassic Park in 1993 resulted in a boom in reissues of classic dinosaur toys as well as Kenner‘s Jurassic Park collection — all of which we will explore further in the coming weeks.
So, lots of ground to cover in the coming weeks.
But I recognize that I can’t simply publish a post that lists what I plan to write about in the future and expect you to trust me with your valuable spare reading time. So let’s wrap up with an in-depth review of an interesting and highly collectible line of dinosaur toys from the 1950s that were offered as premiums inside cans of coffee from an Austrian company.
Linde Coffee Premiums
Austrian coffee company, Linde Coffee, offered soft plastic animals as premiums in their herbal coffee substitute which had become popular during World War II when regular coffee was scarce. Among the premiums were 8 prehistoric figures that are now highly collectible and really quite impressive in their design.
One of the most desirable aspects of Linde figures is the unlimited combination of colored marbling and many of these are quite handsome in coloring. The 1950’s issued figures range in colour from pale green through, orange, brown, red, blue, grey to black. More usually they’re a mix of darker green/grey. Each figure is marked with the animal name and company name, Linde, but they are not dated.
Like the figures in the Marx “Prehistoric Times” toy sets, the Linde animals were modeled after paintings by Charles Knight and Rudolph Zallinger’s ‘Age of Reptiles’ mural now housed at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. The 110-foot-long and 16-foot-high painting chronicles the evolutionary history of the planet from 362 million years ago (the Devonian Period) to 65 million years ago (the Cretaceous). First engaged when he was a Yale Fine Arts student, Zallinger took more than 4 1/2 years to complete the project. The mural represents the best available scientific knowledge of the 1940s, and won Zallinger the 1949 Pulitzer Award for Painting.