Amidst all the fun new classic monster merchandise to be found at San Diego Comic-Con 2018, nothing is more exciting to me personally than the return of Mego action figures! It isn’t overstatement to say that Mego was the defining toy brand for many a 70s childhood with their lineup of super heroes, Planet of the Apes and classic monster dolls, I mean, action figures!
Mego figures are highly collectible and there are passionate communities on the internet with great expertise on these classic toys. These groups have been abuzz about the return of Mego and it’s iconoclastic founder, Marty Abrams, since Mego Meet earlier this summer.
At Comic-con, Mego revealed its Wave I line-up which will be sold exclusively at Target stores in the U.S. starting this summer. Decidedly retro in it’s lineup, the single figure that has our rapt attention is the new Bela Lugosi Dracula figure. Officially licensed by Lugosi Enterprises, this is
This figure is eight-inches and true to the original Mego stye. Sold exclusively at Target, it will retail for $14.99.
Mego Mad Monster Figures
The fact that Mego officially licensed Lugosi’s likeness is intriguing simply because Mego’s previous run at classic monster action figures, the much loved Mad Monsters lineup from 1974, were intentionally public domain versions of the classic Universal Monsters. Dreadful Dracula, The Human Wolfman, The Horrible Mummy and the Monster Frankenstein drew influence from the literary world rather than the Universal characters and were a huge hit with 70s kids then and collectors today.
While a dedicated article about Mego’s Mad Monsters is well past due on this website, there is little I could add that isn’t included in this well-done video from the Mego Museum and Plaid Stallions gang.
Watch the Mega Mad Monsters documentary:
The Mad Monster figures are tremendously collectible and can be quite expensive. A quick survey of eBay shows the several current auctions averaging around $75 for loose figures and several hundred for figures in package. Figures Toy Company re-issued these figures a few years back and they can be easily found online for $15 at EntertainmentEarth
Mego is planning a Wave 2 release this October so we have reason to hope that more classic monsters will be included in the lineup. Which monsters do you most hope to see? Do you want licensed or unlicensed figures?
Super 7 Expands Licensing with Universal with Loads of SDCC Exclusives
Super7 always pulls out all the stops for San Diego Comic-Con and this year will be a Monster Kid’s delight!
In collaboration with the legendary Universal Monsters, Super7 announced that the abomination will begin after sunset on Friday, July 20. The location will be changed into a “monstore”, where attendees who still by will be treated to haunting exclusives and “spine-tingling special things created especially for this horrifying event”.
Universal Monsters Boodega Hours:
Friday – July 20th: 5:00pm to Midnight
Saturday – July 21st: 11:00am to 9:00pm
Sunday – July 22nd: 11:00am to 5:00pm
No SDCC badge is needed to visit the Boodega and it will be open to the public on a first come, first serve basis.
I’m expecting a complete sell out of this merchandise at SDCC, so the only way to get your paws on this stuff will be through the reseller market and I would expect items to be popping up on eBay the same weekend.
Super7 is best known for resurrecting the legendary 3.75 inch action figures in the retro Kenner-style and a fan-fave with many classic monster collectors for it’s original run of Universal Monsters figures released while ReAction was licensed by Funko.
Well, based on what Super7 just showcased at Toy Fair 2018, they are embracing our childhood nostalgia in toto with a slew of cool new products that hit us Monster Kids right in the nostalgia sweet spot.
Universal Monsters ReAction Figures
One of the gripes some folks had with the original collection of UniMonster ReAction figures was the sculpt quality was just a little too much like the original Kenner Star Wars figures, meaning not very good. Well, that will not be a concern this time around based on the prototypes on display of The Wolf Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Mummy. Packaging was features for updates of the Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein as well as two cool new additions in the Metaluna Mutant and Mole People. We did get a look at the Mutant prototype and it is absolutely glorious!
But the Universal Monsters licenses gets way more interesting with these new seasonal collections set to debut late summer 2018:
One of my all time favorite classic monster lines is the Colgate Palmolive Super Soaky soap bottles from the 1960s. Super7 is releasing an expanded collection with all new sculpts that pay direct tribute to those amazing bath products of yesteryear with their new “Super Soapy” collection releasing in time for Halloween 2018:
The new collection includes the iconic Frankenstein, Wolf Man, Creature and Mummy with updated molds and adds the Invisible Man, Bride and Metaluna Mutant. As you can see in the picture above, they even had a collection of the original Colgate figures on hand to showcase the homage they’re paying.
new molds for buckets to used while Trick or Treating or just nifty displays.
50th Anniversary Planet of the Apes
While Super7 debuted a Planet of the Apes collection last year, they have stepped up their game in a big way in honor of the 50th Anniversary of POTA with this upcoming line of 3.75-inch ReAction classic POTA figures set to release in April 2018:
But they didn’t stop there, Super7 also revealed unpainted prototypes for Wave 2, which is due late summer 2018:
This set includes a couple of deep dives like Urko from the TV show, astronaut Cornelius and a fantastic Lawgiver statue. And the mutant comes with a removable face!
I think its safe to say that Super7 has dialed up the nostalgia factor to eleven for all us Monster Kids and done so in a manner that pays respect to the classics they are renewing. While I tend to focus my personal collection on vintage items, I plan to stock pile as much as this new Super7 collection as I can get my grubby monster-loving claws on this Halloween season. What are your thoughts, monster collectors? Love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Mondo Gallery Universal Monsters Exhibit Opening Night
I love it when the stars align and a business trip puts me in the right place at the right time. Earlier this month, I had just such an opportunity when a trip to Austin, Texas, coincided with the opening of the new Universal Monsters exhibit at the Mondo Gallery.
While I’m not new to Mondo entirely, I had no idea what to expect and so, after a great meal of Tex-Mex, I strolled over the gallery. It was an unusually wet and chilly January day in Austin, and while it was still more pleasant than my Minnesota home, I was stunned to see the waiting line extending down the block for hundreds of feet.
In talking to people in line, this is standard fair for opening night at Mondo exhibits as collectors and enthusiasts get their first shot at purchasing prints from the new collections. What struck me, though, as a Universal Monster fan and classic monster collector, was the age of those in line. We often think of our community as being largely Boomers and some older Generation X, those of us who grew up in the monster boom of the 1960s and 70s. This crowd was anything but that, made up almost entirely of 20 and 30 somethings! While this is a testament to the popularity of Mondo with the Millenial crowd, these folks were enthusiastically discussing their favorite monsters and monster movies. These were, indeed, our people!
With press credentials in hand, I was fortunate to bypass the hours-long wait and made my way into the small, nondescript gallery.
Being a Mondo neophyte, it took me a bit to get my bearings. So I decided to enjoy a complimentary local craft beer and watch the pattern of the more experienced Mondo collectors as they cued up for their must-have posters, enamel pins and lithographs.
Here’s a video from the opening night that does a far better job than my photography of showcasing the art and giving a feel for the event:
Take a closer look at some of artwork from the Mondo Gallery Universal Monsters exhibit:
About a week after the opening of the exhibit, Mondo released the first run of posters and enamel pins from the Universal Monsters collection for sale on their website.
Mondo posters are available in limited runs and they tend to show up on the secondary market pretty quickly (at appreciated prices of course). Mondo’s first Universal Monsters collection was released back in 2012 and a quick scan of eBay shows a nice sampling of posters from the original collection and, not surprisingly, some posters from the 2018 collection as well.
What do you think of these modern takes on the classic film posters of the Universal Monsters films? Do you have any Mondo art in your collections? Love to hear your stories!
This Is Now The Most Valuable Movie Poster, Sold At Auction For $525,800
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:
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!
Brought to you – On record for the first time with the help of the world’s first movie-monster magazine, FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND
So reads the back cover of this spoken word album released by Wonderland Records and Famous Monsters of Filmland in 1963. After learning that advertisers wouldn’t touch his magazine due to it’s “weird and inappropriate” subject matter, Jim Warren doubled down on his mail order business, Captain Company, to fund his growing publishing business. Always on the lookout for new products to peddle to us unwitting kids, Warren partnered with Wonderland Records, a children’s record label and subsidiary of Riverside Records, to record and release Famous Monsters Speak in 1963.
The cover art is uncredited but all of the famous monsters on the cover look more than a little bit like James Bama‘s iconic Aurora model kit box covers. Even the poses are similar. Intentional? Hmmm…. True to the Warren overhype tradition, we also get a cover appearance by the Wolf Man, Mummy and Creature though they are nowhere to be found on the record itself.
The LP features 2 spoken-word stories, written by Cherney Berg, a staple of spooky records of the 60s and 70s, including Scary Spooky Stories, Thrillers and Chillers and later the King Kong (Original Motion PictureClassic). His adaptations provided the soundtrack for many a Monster Kid childhood. This album featured only a single voice actor, former Bowery Boy Gabriel Dell.
The album’s little-seen back cover featured stills from the original Universal Studios Frankenstein and Dracula movies with humorous and satirical captions, as if lifted straight from the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine:
While this record is relatively easy to find, it can be fairly complex to determine which release is which due to the number of pressings through the years. Here is a detailed list of what to look for when buying a copy:
Shortly after Warren signed a deal to produce this record with Wonderland, the label’s founder, Bill Grauer, died. So in late 1963, Wonderland was acquired by A.A. Records. For that reason, The initial press of the vinyl makes no mention of Wonderland:
Also in 1963, London Records released the album in Canada and reads “Made in Canada” on vinyl. The Catalog # on this release is GAR-3
Wonderland Records credited on front cover, without mention of Golden Records.
Label credits to Wonderland Records and Golden Records on the front and back cover, but only A.A. Records on the labels and a mention in the lower right corner of the back cover.
1970 Canadian Re-release:
An A.A. Records Recording
Produced in Canada by Arc Sound Limited, Catalog # 836
Wonderland re-released the album in 1973. While the Catalog # remained the same: AR-3, there are some unique identifiers specifically the back cover sleeve which replaced the classic monsters movie stills and goofy quotes with a catalog of other kids record titles offered by Wonderland at the time:
In addition, this release includes the following etched wording on the vinyl:
In general, a high-grade copy of this record runs around $50, with less pristine copies anywhere between $15-$40.
In addition to the condition of the album sleeve and the vinyl itself, there are some ‘rare’ aspects of the first release that truly set the record apart from the rest of the pack and increase its value.
Printed Cellophane with Price:
The first press album sleeve originally had a nice cellophane overwrap with printing on it. First releases were priced at $.98 sold and soon increased to $1.98. You very rarely see the “printed” cellophane on them and it can really enhance the value of the copy when you do find one.
The picture above is of my personal collection copy of this record; notice the original cellophane with the $1.98 price printed on it.
Famous Monsters Magazine Offer:
Look again at the picture of the record from my collection and you’ll see Dracula’s legs are covered by a promotional offer for a copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland. This is another real differentiator from most copies of this record you’ll find. This paper order form its typically found taped onto the album cover, as mine is, and greatly enhances collectibility.
Monster Kid Memories
Of course, no article on Warren’s merchandising business is complete without the Captain Company ads that ran in the pages of Warren’s magazines:
The record label also promoted the record and ran the full-page ad below in comic books and other kid-oriented magazine titles to promote the records availability in record stores. Note from the ad copy below, the record was first released on April Fools Day, 1963:
I never owned this record as a child, but I clearly recall these ads working their spell on me. These ads were fairly unique in the pantheon of Captain Company; they marketed a quality product with minimal hyperbole. It seems that the more gimmicky the product, the greater the need to overstate its qualities.
Multiple copies in a range of prices and both white and orange sleeves are available on Amazon.
Discogs.com is a great social marketplace for record collectors and Ive had numerous successful purchases from this site. I found multiple copies of this LP listed currently; click here to visit Discogs.
Of course if you simply want to listen to this fun LP again, there are numerous options, including the YouTube video I embedded above in this article.
Purchase a MP3 copy of the entire album for $1.98 or on CD for $13.98 on Amazon
Film posters were designed to have short life spans. They were simply intended to promote upcoming and new releases while a film was in the theater. When the film left the theater, the posters were thrown away. Since scarcity and desirability are primary drivers of value, film posters of classic movies are now extremely valuable – particularly for a film as iconic as Universal’s Dracula starring Bela Lugosi.
The iconic nature of Todd Browning’s Dracula and the enduring legacy of Bela Lugosi’s performance make posters for this film some of the most coveted – and expensive – of all classic film posters. Unfortunately, only a few posters are known to exist today from the wide range of designs that originally existed.
Below, we’ve included artwork from the original 1931 Universal press book to give you a look at the original designs that are not known to exist any longer.
One Sheet Film Posters
This poster became the most valuable film poster ever sold when it was auctioned for $525,800 on November 17, 2017 by Heritage Auctions. Read the details here.
We previously published in-depth article on the Style F One Sheet in our Classic Movie Posters series. You can read it here:
The following One Sheet Styles are from the original 1931 Film Press Book but no known examples of these posters exist (if they do…Wow! What a find it will be!)
Dracula 1931 Three Sheet:
Dracula 1931 Six Sheet:
Dracula 1931 24 Sheet
Dracula 1931 Insert
Dracula 1931 Half Sheets:
Dracula 1931 Window Cards:
Dracula 1931 Herald:
Dracula 1931 Jumbo Lobby Cards:
Many of these incredible pieces of ephemera are, unfortunately, lost to history. And all of them are beyond he reach of most collectors. Regardless, we have the film and, through this digital gallery, we can all relish the awesome pop culture art of these iconic posters.
Dracula (Universal, 1931) One Sheet (27″ X 41″) Style F
It’s October and we’re getting back to basics with a focus on the most iconic of all classic monster movies, the films from Universal Studios. First up, Bela Lugosi as Dracula in the 1931 film classic.
Watch this video history of 1931’s Dracula from Heritage Aucitions:
From Heritage Auctions website:
This lovely Style F stone litho one sheet, with its stunning image of Count Dracula aboard the Vespa en route to London, is a real gem. In March 2009, Heritage sold another copy of this style, from the collection of Nicolas Cage, which realized more than $310,000. At the time, it was noted that the copy offered was one of only three known. The discovery of the poster in this auction brings that grand total to four known to exist in the entire world. The poster had a tear in the upper white border that extends into the image within the green field between Dracula’s raised fist and the moon behind him, with a tiny fleck of missing paper at the intersection of the border and the green field. There was tear from the left border into the “D” in “Dracula” and down into the black of the cape. There was two tears in the right border that extend just into the image and there were pinholes in the upper two corners of the artwork. The bottom white border was trimmed just below the black line which delineates the image from the border so no color image was lost and the entire image and all borders were intact other than the lower border. Through careful professional restoration all of these issues discussed were beautifully restored. The colors on the poster are as vibrant as the day it was printed and have not been altered at all. Few posters combine the high degrees of rarity, desirability, and sheer artistic beauty like this scarce showpiece.
The poster described in the video, only the fourth Style F poster from the film ever uncovered, sold at auction in 2012 for $143,400. This poster was part of The Berwick Discovery of Lost Movie Posters – a trove of 33 classic and incredibly rare posters dating back as far as 1930 – many examples of which were thought to be lost for all time, realized $503,035 total,. The Berwick posters came out of an attic and were found in a small country auction in Berwick, PA, in several lots stuck together with wallpaper paste, which had preserved them for more than eight decades.
In 2009, a Style F one sheet owned by the actor Nicolas Cage went for $310,700 when the actor sold off his collection.
Top 10 Most Valuable Monster Movie Props & Costumes Ever Sold at Auction
We love our movie monsters and we love collecting them in al their forms. From creatures from outer space to beasts from the ocean depths, movie makers have spent decades creating monsters to keep us on the edge of our seats.
Here we take a look at ten of the most fearsome – and valuable – screen monsters to ever cross the auction block.
10) Brain Gremlin Puppet
Joe Dante followed his hit 1984 horror comedy Gremlins with an anarchistic sequel featuring numerous parodies, slapstick, Chuck Jones animation and fourth-wall breaking humour. A screen-used animatronic puppet for the ‘Brain’ gremlin – given intelligence by a super-potion and voiced by Tony Randall – sold at Profiles in History in 2008 for $13,000. (Image: Profiles in History)
Despite featuring a host of less-than-scary spooks such as Slimer and the Marshmallow Man, Ghostbusters does feature two truly memorable monsters – the terror dogs. A stop-motion puppet, used as the demon alter-ego for Sigourney Weaver (“The nice lady who paid us in advance before she became a dog”) sold at profiles in History in 2008 for $13,000. (Image: Profiles in History)
8) Bruce the Shark Jaws
Despite its status as a cinema classic, Jaws almost never made it to the screen. During production the mechanical sharks failed to work, or looked ridiculous, hugely delaying the shoot to the point the studio almost pulled the plug. Spielberg was forced to show the shark – nicknamed Bruce by the crew – as little as possible, which actually improved the film. An original 4ft prop shark used for close-up scenes sold for £16,675 at Christie’s in 1996. (Image: Christie’s)
Despite featuring some of the worst English accents in cinema history, Bram Stoker’s Dracula also provides one of the most intense performances as Gary Oldman inhabits the Count in Oscar-winning effects make-up. One of the most terrifying scenes features Dracula transformed into a gigantic bat, and the original suit and mask worn during the scene brought $30,000 at Profiles in History in 2011. (Image: Profiles in History)
Man-in-a-suit monsters don’t come much more famous than the Creature from the Black Lagoon, who first appeared on the silver screen in 1954. He resurfaced again in 1955, in Revenge of the Creature, in which he fell in love with Lori Nelson, although their relationship ended in a hail of bullets. The original screen-worn mask from the film sold for $70,000 at Profiles in History in 2009. (Image: Profiles in History)
Stan Winston created the now-iconic design for the Predator whilst on a plane ride with director James Cameron, after Cameron commented he’d like to see a creature with mandibles. The 1986 film went on to spawn a franchise, starting with Predator II in 1990, and a full screen-worn mask and suit from the sequel brought $80,000 at Profiles in History in 2010.(Image: Profiles in History)
4) Starship Troopers Warrior Bug Puppet
Paul Verhoeven’s satirical sci-fi classic features a wide range of monsters in the shape of gigantic alien bugs. Created using a mix of CGI and practical effects, the film earned an effects Oscar nomination in 1998 but was defeated by the all-conquering Titanic. A 72” tall screen-used warrior bug puppet sold at Profiles in History in 2012 for $85,000. (Image: Profiles in History)
3) Jurassic Park T-Rex Head
Spielberg’s Jurassic Park may have featured some of the greatest CGI ever seen on film, but it also included practical dinosaurs made by effects maestro Stan Winston – for which he won an Oscar in 1994. An enormous, life-sized animatronic T-Rex head from the film sold for $110,000 at Profiles in History in 2007. (Image: Profiles in History)
2) Xenomorph Alien Suit
One of the most famous movie monsters in cinema history, the creature from Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic was created by Swiss artist H.R Giger who also helped design the look of the film. Giger won an Oscar for his work, and the Xenomorph went on to become a true icon of horror. The original screen-worn suit from the film sold at Profiles in History in 2007 for $110,000. (Image: Profiles in History)
1) King Kong Armature
The most famous movie monster of them all, King Kong captured the imagination of movie goers when he roared to life in 1933. The film featured state-of-the-art stop-motion effects by Willis O’Brien, with three Kong models built from mechanical frames, foam and rabbit fur. One of the original 22” armature skeletons – used during the climactic scene on top of the Empire State Building – sold at Christie’s in 2009 for a record £121,500. (Image: Christie’s) Another armature skeleton resides in the monstrous collection of Bob Burns