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!
CELEBRATING THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF MARY SHELLEY’S NOVEL FRANKENSTEIN
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.
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:
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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.
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.
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
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!
MAN vs MONSTER The Ultimate Classic of Nightmare and Retribution told in the MIGHTY MARVEL MANNER!
Like many kids my age, I owe a debt of gratitude to Marvel for introducing me to classic literature through this series. While the interior art isn’t anything spectacular, the covers always worked their magic and the stories, being the classics they are, did the rest.
At 52 pages, and without ads, these were long comics compared to most.
Stan Lees Presents Marvel Classics Comics Featuring Frankenstein
Freely Adapted from the novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly (Shelley is misspelled throughout this comic)
Written by John Warner
Drawn by Dino Castrillo
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Petra Goldberg
I’ve scanned the first 21 pages of my well-read copy for your reading pleasure (click on the each page to open a larger image for reading):
Inside Back Cover:
About Marvel Classics Comics
Between 1976 and 1978, Marvel Comics published a series called Marvel Classics Comics adapting classic literature in the vein of the long-running Classics Illustrated, which had ceased publication in 1971.
I was well immersed in the Marvel Universe by the time this series appeared, but I was also old enough (10 years old in 1976) to be reading some of the classic works of Jules Verne, HG Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs by this time. The fact that Marvel Classics Comics included a lot of classic horror and sci-fi literature in this series drew me in and was my first exposure to many of these novels.
I still have my original copies of these book sin my comic book collection and thought it would be fun to share them with you. While my collection includes such titles as Black Beauty and Moby Dick, my collection is overwhelmingly focused on the more fantastic adaptations, including Dracula, The Time Machine, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and such. I plan to feature them all here in due course.
By the time Marvel published issue #20, adapting Mary Shelley‘s novel Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus in 1977, I was quite familiar with both Universal’s version of the story as well as Marvel’s own version of the monster. So this one surprised me a bit. While I noted the difference in the monster’s appearance on the cover, I was already familiar with the idea that there were different versions, thanks largely to my front-to-back readings of Famous Monsters of Filmland every month. It would be years before I would actually read Mary Shelley’s novel, so I was surprised at how different the story was. The monster could talk! More than that. he actually plotted and tool revenge in a calculated manner — I clearly recall not likely this version of the monster, who I always found one of the most sympathetic of the classic monsters due to Karloff’s magical portrayal.
Current price guide values list Near Mint copies of this comic at $13.50, and copies are readily available. None of the Marvel Classics series has appreciated significantly, in part because it’s not original creative content. Nonetheless, they make a nice addition to any Frankenstein or classic monster collection
In the early 80’s, Fisher-Price re-published several of the Marvel Classics comics as hardcovers and included fully-produced cassette tapes featuring audio recordings of the stories complete with sound effects and music. Intended as “read-along” to accompany the books.
Rebel Frankenstein 9-Inch Figure San Diego Comic Con 2014 Exclusive
Frankie has attitude! Under the full moon on a quiet yet treacherous mountain pass, a single headlight pierces the inky darkness. An engine roars. Tires squeal. A solitary figure speeds past; all the girls want him, all the guys want to be him, and one scientist wants him to get back to the lab ASAP.
He is the Rebel Frankenstein! Assembled on the wrong side of the lab, this Frankenstein has attitude! He stands a monstrous 9-inches tall and features a sleeveless leather vest with his insignia, a real metal wallet chain on his belt, and a tattoo on his bicep.
This limited edition monster is cast in a mysteriously translucent green plastic and features ten points of articulation.
This Mezco Summer Exclusive is a limited edition of only 500 pieces! Ages 15 and up.
Frankenstein (Universal, 1931) 3-Sheet (41″ X 78-1/2″)
Most collectors secretly dream of finding the proverbial ‘golden ticket’ of items that are so rare, so unbelievably valuable, that they can afford to spend the rest of their days enjoying their collection without a pesky job getting in the way.
The poster was discovered by Steve Wilkin, who found the poster back in the 1970s in a long closed and boarded-up projection booth in a Long Island theater where he worked as a teen.
A spokesman for Heritage Auctions said: ‘Only a small handful of one sheets including one teaser, one six sheet, one insert, and a restored half sheet are all that have appeared of the posters, not including lobby cards,’ the spokesman said.
‘Offered in this lot is the only known copy of either of the two styles of three sheets created for the debut of the film.
‘This is the Style C and is arguably the best graphic of the two styles.
‘It underwent professional restoration and the poster now displays beautifully.’
The spokesman said posters for the film had always been ‘infamously difficult to find’.
The Style C three sheet measures a hulking 41-inches by 78-1/2-inches and had apparently been used by the theatre as a display for reissues of the movie in the decades following its release ‘It had apparently been used as a display for a number of reissues of the film with its counterpart Dracula, as was so often the case throughout the 1930s and 1940s.
Bidders also pushed the sale price of an 11-inch by 14-inch lobby card from the film to $40,630, making it the most valuable example of its kind from the movie.
Frankenstein is one of the first, and most important, monster movies and prices of original collectibles of the film reflect that importance. I’ll never own one, but I sure enjoy looking at them!
Welcome to Frankenstein Friday, folks where the weekend comes to life and we put down our means of commerce to focus on friends, family and — for us Monster Kids — Frankenstein and friends!
Each week, I’ll feature ol’ Frankie in one of his multitude of forms and let you know where you can go to add him to your collection! These will often be ads from our sponsors that you can click and buy — helps us pay the bills. But looking is free so enjoy as you choose!
Today’s character collectible is alliteration at it’s finest with a Funko Frankenstein Figure:
Hanna-Barbera Frankenstein Jr. Pop! Vinyl Figure
From Hanna-Barbera‘s Frankenstein, Jr. and the Impossibles comes this Frankenstein Jr. Pop! Vinyl Figure! Frankenstein Jr. aka, “Frankie” stands 3 3/4-inches tall and looks just as you remembered him with his green superhero outfit with his “F” logo on his chest and is packaged in a window box.
Collecting the Rondo Awards 2015 Best Toy Category – Part 5
Frankenstein Christmas Ornament by Hallmark
Happy Frankenstein Friday all you Classic Monster Collectors! This is the fifth installment in my review of the 2015 Rondo Awards Best Toy / Model / Collectible category nominees.
Today, we’ll take a look at a rather curious item, the Frankenstein’s Monster Christmas Ornament from Hallmark.
What makes today’s nominee curious is simply the combination of the character, the Frankenstein Monster, with the product category, a Christmas ornament.
In previous installments of this series, we’ve reviewed the 2015 winner, the Creature action figure, as well as some beautiful (but expensive) maquettes for Lily Munster and Forry Ackerman. Action figures and maquettes are highly collectible and I have a good deal of experience in both of these categories.
When it came time to prepare for this article, however, I was left staring at the page simply because collecting Christmas ornaments is outside my range of experience. Who is the collector of this type of figure. A Frankenstein completist would certainly want this. I can even see a Universal Monsters collector having this. But what about Christmas ornament collectors? Do people specifically collect character ornaments? Do these items appreciate in value? In my experience, I’ve learned that there are collectors for just about everything ever made, so
My family celebrates Christmas with gusto. My wife and kids and I love the annual tradition of selecting our white pine and decorating it with the multitude of ornaments we’ve collected over the years. You heard right, ornaments we’ve collected. Growing up, my siblings and I always got a Christmas ornament for Christmas.
At some point, probably the early 1980s, these ornaments became pop culture characters and were dated with the year. I have a Darth Vader, X-Wing Fighter, Incredible Hulk and many others that represent whatever I was interested in at the time. While we don’t display these ornaments year-round like I do other collectibles, these ornaments are an important part of our annual holiday tradition. Each Christmas, I unpack and hang these ornaments from my youth with my children. Many of these ornaments are stored in their original boxes with date marked on them.
Without even realizing it, I am a Christmas ornament collector.
2.23″ W x 4.76″ H x 2.28″ D
Here’s a great video review of the 2014 “Hallmark Horror” Collection from Cannibal Reviews. The Frankenstein ornament is reviewed first, but it’s worth watching the whole video as the other ornaments are of interest to classic monster collectors as well:
Clearly Hallmark is targeting the collector market by dating each of their ornaments and encouraging a “gotta have this year’s” mentality. Because these items are limited in their production, they may actually see some appreciation over time.
My research for the “Where to buy’ section below already reflects the reseller inflation on sites like eBay where this item is listed in the $25 range. Given that this is a seasonal item and was released just last year, however, means there are plenty of these on clearance this time of year. I found it for 50% of MSRP on Hallmarks’ website (link included below) and plenty of deals to be found on ebay and Amazon (links below).
One of the most attractive aspects of this item is the combination of the high-quality sculpt and paint with a very budget-friendly price point. This would look great as part of a larger Frankenstein -themed collection, but I’m also intrigued with the idea of a shelf of genre character ornaments as it’s own sub-category of my broader collection given the quality and range of Hallmark’s offerings. I’ll be keeping an eye out for their 2015 holiday collection and be sure to update you on any items of interest to classic monster collectors!
Where to Find the Frankenstein Ornament by Hallmark
In the process of writing this review, I learned a few things:
Without even knowing it, I am a Christmas ornament collector.
Just because an item is sold as a Christmas ornament, doesn’t mean it has to be packed away in storage 11 months out of the year.
Hallmark is creating a genre-fan’s smorgasbord of ornaments worth the attention of classic monster collectors.
I think we might start a new tradition this Halloween — a Halloween tree complete with monster and character ornaments! At first, I thought this was going to be a very short profile of this item because I didn’t really know what I was going to write. That’s the beauty of writing – and collecting — you never know what you’ve been missing and, if you’re open to it, you just might stumble on to a new favorite.
Love to hear from you guys out there — are ornaments part of your classic monster collection? How do you display them?
The Digital Clubhouse for Monster Kids & Collectors of Classic Monster, Retro Science Fiction and Vintage Fantasy Memorabilia