Friday, October 31, 2008

Monster Days Revisited



The first classic movies I ever became fascinated with were the Universal Horror films of the 1930s and 1940s. In 1976-77, our local independent station, WCIX-Miami would air Creature Feature on Saturday afternoons. I can still see the foggy graveyard and hear that disquieting music of the title credits. Creature Feature aired every classic horror (or "monster movie", as I called them). I believe that there was a Universal Horror Film Revival going on in popular culture, dating back to the 1960s, when films like Frankenstein, Dracula-- and particularly terrifying for me--The Creature From the Black Lagoon, which received seemingly continual broadcast on TV. There must have been a revival, because I had brand-new toys of the Mummy, Dracula, and Frankenstein's Monster. I remember them being rubbery and highly detailed. There was also a monster design toy for boys, called Mighty Men and Monster Maker, a horror counterpart to the fashion design plate-making sets that girls played with, where a potentially twisted boy could mix and match various monster segments: dragon torsos, wolfman heads, and dinosaur legs to create your own hybrid monster. You would place a sheet of paper over the assembled plates and make an impression by embossing it onto the paper when you sketched over it with a pencil. Guaranteed to provide minutes and minutes of fun! Anyone remember this?


My interest in classic horror films was intense, but brief. Stuff like The Six Million Dollar Man and Star Wars competed for my attention and benefitted using intrusive marketing. Plus, Creature Feature began airing unappealing dross like King Kong Vs. Godzilla and Gamera Vs. Zigra, which I never liked. I'd rather have watched I Was a Teenage Werewolf!

5 comments:

  1. Yay! Happy Halloween to you too!! :)

    "You would place a sheet of paper over the assembled plates and make an impression by embossing it onto the paper when you sketched over it with a pencil. Anyone remember this?"

    I remember it, or something similiar...though I have no idea what it was called.

    Interesting that your first classic movies were horror films. Mine were musicals. :)

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  2. Oh neat! Now there's a picture of it...either I'm reading while you're editing, or it just didn't load til now. ;)

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  3. Hi, Ginger! Happy Halloween! I'm a compulsive editor and I had to go to ebay and search under "monster maker" because I didn't know the name of the thing. I'm told that girls had a Barbie or some such version of this as an outfit design maker.

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  4. That's it! I think my sister had the Barbie one, or something similiar: like a fashion designer playset.

    I'm a compulsive editor too. :)

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  5. I had a one and yes minutes of fun is accurate. BUT, I used to love the Creature Feature on WCIX?6/33 and if you want to hear the theme music it's from Barberella. Jane Fonda is walking on what I remember looking like lava.

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