Ron Adams goes back to the 1960s-1980s...growing up with monsters, music and days filled with fun. A pop culture ball of wax from days gone by.
Did you mail order merchandise back in the 1960s-1980s? It was different animal back then. Good and bad. And some of the bad, we were quite okay with...
When I ordered stuff from comic books and the back of FAMOUS MONSTERS magazines back in the 1970s, it would take 2-6 weeks for delivery. While that seems bad today....it was just the way it was back then. Plus, it added that extra anticipation excitement. It was a big deal. Checking the metal mailbox each day, hoping a back issue of FM would be there, or a scary paperback book.
I remember missing an issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS in my subscription. I wrote a letter to Jim Warren's office (I think it was in Philadelphia or New York) specifying the missing issue. Just a week later there was a brown envelope in our mailbox. I frantically opened it...and there was an older issue I already had, NOT the one I had asked for. Oh, well. I had a spare.
But, just looking at those mail order ads was so much fun. Where else could you see products like X-Ray Glasses (how on earth did they work???), Hypno-Coins (showing a woman walking with out-stretched arms), products to help you GAIN weight, and rubber masks. Ah, those rubber masks...little illustrations of FRANKENSTEIN, TEENAGE WEREWOLF, VAMPIRE GIRL, GORILLA, CAVEMAN....so cool. There were also "premium" latex masks (Don Post Company) that were even greater....but, totally unaffordable with my newspaper route money.
Best, best of all (or, so I thought), the life-size Frankenstein! I spent hours on my bed looking at this. I lay on my cowboy bed spread reading over and over this ad in a comic book. The monster with ripped pants and jacket. How could they ship such a cool six-foot Frankenstein? I envisioned something that would belong in Madame Tussaud's wax museum. I never could convince my parents to buy me this life-size monster. If I only I had one standing in the corner of my room to scare my baby sister and neighborhood kids. I would be the envy of my second grade buddies.
Well, my parents were perhaps wiser than my seven-year-old brain would credit. I found out years later that it was just a thin plastic sheet with an image of the monster on it. I didn't understand the "heavy stock" reference in the ad. I thought it was a three dimensional figure! It sure gave me something to dream about for years.
I bet you have your mail order stories from your childhood too. Those were, indeed, the days to remember.
Ron Adams, May 2019
Dear Mr. Adams,
You took me back to first grade with your last newseletter. I once ordered the companion 6 foot glow-in-the-dark-skeleton that was also featured with the Frankenstein poster.
Keep up the good work.
Hey Ron and Monster Bashers,
I agree that half the fun of monster magazines (for a monster kid) was fantasizing about all the cool stuff advertised in the back. Day dreaming about the buttons, back issues, masks, rings, posters and toys could fill an afternoon. For me, the most coveted ads were the ones that advertised the super 8 movies. I wanted everyone of those!
Back in 1971, when I was 10, I purchased my first Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. It was issue #87 with the She Creature on the cover. Before that, I only had comic books and the cheap horror comic magazines like Weird. That issue #87 was an eye opener. Still my favorite issue to this day. Not only was it filled with monster pictures and stories, but it had those ads. I stared at the super 8 movies that were for sale and could only imagine owning them. Most of the movies, I had never seen. But there was one that I had to have. It was Frankenstein meets The Wolfman !!! I begged my parents, but that didn’t work. I needed about $10.00 for the movie and issue #42 which had Frankenstein and the Wolfman fighting on the cover. My allowance back then was a quarter a week, so it would be awhile before I could afford them. I just kept wishing and probably whining for the back issue and movie.
I think my mother finally felt sorry for me and gave me a list of jobs to do to make the $10.00. I did everything she asked and she wrote a check to Captain Company in New York,New York. Then came the wait. I was so excited, like waiting for Christmas. I believe it was a month later when they arrived and I loved them.Monsters came to me in the mail !!! I can’t think of anything cooler for a monster kid. To this day, it’s still fun to get a Monster Bash magazine or model in the mail. Keep watching the mail...
-Dave Heywood, FL
Your recent post brought back my own mail order memories. I remember ordering the “giant ghost.” He was nothing more than a balloon head and white plastic sheet, but boy was he awesome to me. I rigged the ghost up in my closet so that when you opened the door, he would rise! It was the best. It was even part of my “monster shows” (which my parents graciously attended and were generous audience participants!) Thanks for all the great memories. See you at Bash!