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.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been taking a look back at Jaws merchandise from the 1970s, both official and unofficial. As one of the first movies to really capitalize on licensing, Jaws has become the prototype for blockbuster movies ever since. Of course, licensed toys don’t necessarily equate to quality as we’ll see in this week’s focus on Jaws-themed rack toys.
What are rack toys, you ask? Let’s defer to the man who, in my opinion, is the definitive subject matter expert, Brian Heller. Heller is the author of Rack Toys: Cheap, Crazed Plaything and the mastermind behind the website Plaid Stallions where all things 1970s are celebrated.
A rack toy is a fun toy that broke really easily. They’re impulse items, toys that usually weren’t TV-advertised or sold at toy stores. If they were sold at a place like Toys “R” Us, they were in the front aisle, that kind of gifty aisle. But rack toys were primarily sold through five-and-dimes, pharmacies, or variety stores, all similar to dollar stores today.
Anyone who was a kid in the 1960s through the 1980s remembers these well — they were often the easiest things to talk parents into simply because they were cheap.
Ironically, the fact that they weren’t made to last is exactly what makes them so collectible today — they had scarcity built right in.
Jaws, and for that matter, sharks, was perfect fodder for rack toy manufacturers. Simple designs without any real character elements made it easy to churn out generic sharks and label them as official Jaws toys. These throw-away toys are now some of the most highly sought after Jaws collectibles.
One of the cool things they do over at previously-referenced Plaid Stallions is provide scans from 1970s consumer and business catalogs. Here’s a page from the 1976 Imperial Toy catalog showing the different licensed Jaws products they offered:
Another toy company that was capitalized on the Jaws craze was Chemtoy. They were already making rubber sharks when the movie hit and were smart enough to become a licensee and simply slap a Jaws sticker on their current loose shark toys.
Here’s mine. He’s in pretty rough shape and I can’t tell you if he was pre-license or post. I don’t recall him ever having the Jaws sticker, but even if he did his time on the bath tub, pool and ocean would have taken care of that.
I’m not sure if the dog got ahold of him or if one of my younger siblings used him for a chew toy, but he’s clearly seen better days. Hardly in the ‘collectible’ category at this point, but fun to have anyway.
With license in hand, Chemtoy released a carded version of this same hard rubber shark and also introduced a carded soft rubber shark, which has become quite collectible and rather rare. The picture below is from a listing on eBay for $399.
My recollection of the mid-70s is of shark toys being everywhere. I spent my summers at my grandmother’s place in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Jaws-mania was alive and well in this beach resort. As a kid, I didn’t care if the shark toy was official or not and I had Jaws beach towel as well as multiple shark/Jaws t-shirts. Since I didn’t see the movie, I wasn’t afraid of the water the way so many others were. I just remember loving all the shark stuff and consuming as much of it as I could talk my parents into letting me get.
Collecting the Rondo Awards 2015 Best Toy Category – Part 10
Funko ReAction Universal Monsters Collection
This is the final installment in my review of the 2014 nominees for the Best Toy, Model, Collectible category of the Rondo Hatton Horror Awards and we finish with the most classic of all monsters –the Funko ReAction Universal Monsters.
In 2013, Funko and Super 7 partnered to bring Kenner’s unreleased 1979 Alien prototypes to market. It wasn’t long afterwards that Funko announced a full “ReAction” line of retro 3 ¾” action figures based on characters from 1980’s cult, sci-fi and horror cinema: Escape From New York, Back to the Future, Terminator, a Rocketeer figure, iconic horror villains as well as the Universal Monsters. These news collections were designed as an homage to classic KennerStar Wars action figures of the 1970s and early 80s.
The retro style has been a bit controversial as these figures have been panned by some for the lack of detailed likeness to the actors/character. Funko even extended that feeling of “vintage-ness” through the packaging, which is the same size as the original Kenner packaging from the late ’70s /early ’80s. This has also met with some push-back by collectors who find the side-panel style packaging a challenge to display.
We did originally look towards the first run of Kenner Star Wars figures for inspiration, especially when we first got started, so that’s why you’ll see that our Terminator and Snake Plissken sort or mimic that “softness”, but as we went on, things got a little more detailed, a little closer to ROTJ figures, which you’ll see in the Universal Monsters and Horror lines. Basically, we think there’s a sweet spot somewhere in there that we keep trying to hit. But Kenner remains our main inspiration as opposed to, say, Remco or Mego. But they have their charm, too.
I buy that logic fully and think that they nailed the retro styling of the characters. I particularly like the packaging, though finding them in pristine condition on store pegs has also been a frustration for collectors.
There are a lot of great reviews on these figures already published and, frankly, from folks with greater expertise then me. For your reading please, here’s a great review from one of my go-to resources for collectible toys, Brian Heller at Plaid Stallions.
Here’s the Funko ReAction Universal Monsters collection, in order of theatrical appearance:
Funky ReAction Phantom of the Opera
from The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Funko ReAction Dracula
from Dracula (1931)
Funko ReAction Frankenstein’s Monster
from Frankenstein (1931)
Funko ReAction The Mummy
from The Mummy (1932)
Funko ReAction Invisible Man
from The Invisible Man (1933)
Funko ReAction Bride of Frankenstein
from The Bride of Frankenstein (1932)
Funko ReAction Wolf Man
from The Wolf Man (1941)
Funko ReAction Creature from the Black Lagoon
from The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
3 ¾” action figures
Five points of articulation
bubble photo card
MSRP: $9.99 each
Like all variants, forced scarcity is either the bane or the blessing of the completist collector. The glow variants were limited to one figure per every six cases and the clear Invisible Man was an Entertainment Earth exclusive.
Where to Buy Funko ReAction Universal Monsters Collection
These figures are available near and far, so the real goal is finding them at the best price. They have been in the market long enough that they are widely available on secondary resale sites like eBay, but prices have increase because they are still available at retail prices in most stores. This makes it a buyers market for these figures.
While I appreciate that modern toy collectors have gotten used to incredible like-like sculpts, the fact that this line is inspired by 1970’s and 80’s toys is central to the design style. My Han Solo figure from Kenner didn’t really look like Harrison Ford in 1978 and I didn’t care; I loved it completely and totally.
I think the ReACTION line would have missed the mark if the figures were too realistic. They certainly wouldn’t have been as retro, so I’m fine with the less-then-realistic sculpts. In short, I think Funko nailed these figures.
My favorites are pretty much in line with my favorite monsters; The Creature and The Wolf Man were the two “must-own” figures for me. I was surprised by how much I liked the Invisible Man too. So far, those are the only three I’ve purchased, but this review has me re-considering the variants, at lease for the Gillman and Invisible Man.
These are priced really well. So well, in fact, that I got my kids a couple of the figures to open and —gasp– actually play with!
As a child of the 1970’s, who owned the original Kenner Star Wars figures, these bring back waves and waves of nostalgia. As an adult vintage monster toy collector, I love how these figures fit right into my collection. I don’t tend to buy many modern monster toys or collectibles, simply because I focus my limited collecting budget on high-grade vintage pieces.
So thumbs up on the figures from me all the way around–design, price, packaging — Funko nailed it. And with the recent announcement of the Jaws and Gremlins series, looks like we’ve got lots to look forward to from Funko ReAction.
Let me know your thoughts– do you like the retro style of the Funko ReAction Universal Monsters line or do you prefer the more sophisticated style of modern collectibles?