Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Famous Monsters of Filmland #32

Lots of great stuff in issue #32 which came out in March, 1965. That's my birthday month and I was nine-years old when I first bought this issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS. I sold it/traded it/lost it somewhere over the years but I do have a copy of it in my current collection.

The cover image is one of the winners of the big Aurora/FAMOUS MONSTERS/ Universal Pictures Master Monster Maker contest. This was a competition for FM readers to go to town on customizing their  Aurora monster models (or "all-plastic-assembly-kits" as they were technically referred to). Readers were asked to customize their models and send in photos of their work. The cover image, of King Kong on a rampage, is very nicely done and there are plenty of other great photos of the handiwork of "master monster makers" in this issue.

I wish I could have been skilled enough to customize my monster models. I was a pretty good kit builder but I stuck to the parts that came in the box and the suggested paint schemes. My monster models looked good for the work of a kid but they were nothing spectacular. Of course, none of them survived my childhood. All of them, every last monster, met a fiery demise at the business end of Black Cat firecrackers, lighter fluid and matches (usually a combination of all three elements).

I don't know why I was so eager to destroy something that had cost me money and time to assemble and I certainly enjoyed admiring the fruits of my labor. But at some point in time, I was compelled to get rid of them all in the most spectacular, pyrotechnical way I could safely engineer. And I wasn't alone. Every kid in the neighborhood contributed their models-monsters, cars, planes, etc. to community conflagrations over the years. I vividly recall stuffing a model of PT-109 (the patrol boat skippered by John F. Kennedy in WWII) with firecrackers, lighting the fuses and setting the small plastic boat afloat in a large puddle of water moments before it was blown to bits. That model had to be destroyed on the water.

Other features in this issue of FM include a comic book adaptation of the Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing Hammer films masterpiece THE HORROR OF DRACULA, a first look at THE MUNSTERS television show, and THE HIDEOUS SUN DEMON (which reminds me, I have a story to relate about my near encounter with the film's star Robert Clarke for a future blog post).

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