Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Now Pronounce you Bride of Frankenstein and Ghost Pirate

Although this is outside the normal scope of the blog, I would be remiss in not mentioning the Halloween costume wedding that my friends had a few years ago. Not only did they manage to have an amazingly cool wedding, but they insisted that everyone - and I mean everyone - wear a costume. Amazingly enough, people actually abided by their wishes - although not without some arm twisting. Not one person showed up without a costume!They held the event at a local club with a light up disco floor, which is where they said their vows. And the cake? Even their cake had a Halloween theme, comlete with orange frosting, skeleton bride and groom, skulls, and tombstones!The best thing about the wedding was that it was fun, and not in that uncomfortable way that other weddings are fun. You're always too worried about how you look or spilling something on your good clothes, and you can't wait to get home so you can change your clothes and relax.

I took the previous photos. But take a look at the following photos taken by the official photographer Matt Robbins. He's an awesome photographer and did a great job. Here are some of my favorite shots and some of my favorite costumes.

The bride of Frankenstein and Ghost Pirate groom stab the wedding cake
Swampman and Bride of Swampman were covered in real moss
Love the skeleton
Jesus with Christmas light crown of thorns
It's Ape vs Present in a fight to the death on the disco floor
Psycho eyes
Chinese Hopping Vampires swarm the bride and groom
Nice costume
Bride goes insane
He has no face!
The eye patch, the sock garters, oh my!
The Hamburgler shares his hamburgers with an uninterested patron
The problem with being a present
creepy 'stache
Funny face fencer

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Halloween Fun with Dr. Spektor and Little Lulu

I'm not sure why I have Little Lulu comics because I don't care for her. No siree, I don't care for her at all. I do remember reading this Golden Comics Digest repeatedly though. It's an all Halloween issue, so that somehow made it more interesting.

I didn't find Little Lulu or Tubby to be funny. This is a sample of the typical Halloween shenanigans Tubby and Little Lulu experience throughout the digest. What I enjoy about Tubby's costume is that the plastic mask is able to change expression depending on his mood. Quite rare for masks of that era.
Unfortunately Tubby is upset that Little Lulu was not fooled by his costume. Might I suggest he pay more attention to his costume? I suspect he is the only ghost running around wearing a sailor hat .

But here is where the Halloween Fun issue gets good. Someone wisely included some fantastic Halloween action for the kids. This is a neat-o idea, as long as the kids don't accidentally get lemon juice in their eyes. It stings like hell, but it's worth the risk. What kid wouldn't love the idea of writing secret notes?

For those who like haunted houses and mazes, here we see Little Lulu and Tubby do their best Scooby and Shaggy imitation. The only difference is that these ghosts look real, not like something done by a rancher with a movie projector. Run Tubby Run!
Hey, it's Dr. Spektor and his special on Spirit Photography! Now we're talking!! And we know this is seriously spooky stuff because not only is the Doctor dressed in olde tyme clothes, but in the first panel he states that he has devoted his entire life to the study of the occult. Awesome!

Note that the upper right drawing states, "Many spirit photographs however....like this shot..." I like how they want kids to look at it as if it's real, not just a drawing done by someone who may or may not have seen a copy of the actual photo.
I would have enjoyed a whole comic digest full of this stuff. Dr. Spektor rules!!

The mystery of Patience Worth would have been more appealing if it had been done in comic panels, like the feature on spirit photographs. The story is one of ouija boards, reincarnation, disembodied spirits, and mediums.

While I may not be thrilled by Tubby and his pliable ghost face, the rest of the digest was definitely cool.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

You'll Die Laughing...Uh No I Won't

As a child in the seventies, I spent much of my allowance on bubblegum cards. And what could be more appealing to a kid than bubblegum cards with monsters on them? Nothing! Not one damn thing. At least that was the initial thought in my young mind when I picked up a pack of "You'll Die Laughing" monster cards.

However once I opened the waxy paper pack and breathed in the lovely smell of the hard rectangle of pink bubblegum, one thing became readily apparent. The cards were much cooler before I actually looked at them.
It's an awesome classic wolfman photo, hooray!! But what's that say under his photo? Hair restorer?

Even as a kid, I didn't think that was even remotely funny. I'm not sure if it's really just not funny, if it's more a 1950s kind of funny, or if it's because when I was about ten my dad said, "Hey kids, there's this new show that's supposed to be really funny. It's called Monty Pythons Flying Circus." That definitely ruined me for white bread comedy.
This photo still creeps me out. Nothing funny about a skinless guy wondering why a girl has rejected him. In fact, I give Susan a lot of credit for trying to let him down easy, rather than immediately running away, screaming in horror. Susan is so thoughtful.
I can't even think of anything to say about the Creature from the Black Lagoon singing opera.
So the concierge comes into the room, sees the bloody remains of the woman who rented the room last night and politely asks her skeleton to leave. The fact that he is unphased by this type of scene makes me wonder what condition he normally finds the hotel guests in. He scares me.
And as if the lines on the front of the cards weren't bad enough, we get more jokes on the backs of the cards.

Not trying to rain on anyone's parade here, but kids love monsters. So why not give them cool photos without the unfunny lines underneath them. I only bought one pack of these cards because of those damn Vegas jokes under the cool monster photos.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Haunted House of Flying Walnuts

What better time of the year to read stories about Haunted Houses than October? This book was offered in the early 70s through my grade school's book fair. What kid wouldn't want to read about ghosts?
The best section is titled "The Ghosts that Were Photographed," and includes a photo from Raynham Hall in England in the year 1936. As a kid I was mesmerized by this photo of what is supposedly a veiled figure descending the staircase. The thought of being in a spooky old mansion, looking up and seeing a ghost coming towards was super scary.
The coolest story was about the farm poltergeist in Hartville, Missouri. Little Betty Ruth and her grandmother were cracking walnuts when all of a sudden, walnuts were flying left and right! Poor grandma even got a few walnuts to the skull,which almost broke her glasses. The drawing portrays a whimsical walnut ballet. Guess it's better to leave kids with this image than that of a maniacal poltergeist reigning blows upon an innocent little old lady in a rocking chair.
This diagram maps the mischief of the Bottle Popping Poltergeist by documenting each bottle he moved and the trajectory each object took - oddly compelling, yet utterly useless. If only they had mapped the flying walnut incident.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More Halloween Mask Madness

In keeping with the Johnson Smith Company's spectacular not-so-realistic rubber masks of the 1970s, comes this second wave of horror. These appeared in the 1977 catalog. The color pages of the catalog were the coolest since they contained photos rather than line drawings.
More deluxe masks, two of which appeared previously in the 1975 catalog. I'm glad to see that all the masks boast "heavy simulated hair". Yes sir, there's nothing the kids love more than encasing their heads in rubber covered in questionable fun fur. I'm surprised to see the catalog is still using the same drawing for the inebriated, radioactive Santa mask. Joy of all joys, this catalog has a photo of the deluxe Planet of the Apes mask! He looks so happy and cute, sort of like a baby opposum whose eyes haven't quite opened yet. Isn't he a cute little ape mask? Yes he is, but there is also something about him that is quite disturbing. Speaking of highly disturbing, dare we look at the Deluxe Werewolf mask? Our werewolf has a serious hair issue. I have never seen a werewolf with striped fur. It is confusing and distracting. How very unscary. I wonder if this affliction affects his entire body or only his skull? Kids from near and far will make up cruel playground chants about the Werewolf with the Stripe-y Head. But I don't mean to rain on the werewolf parade. I'm sure he was very scary to small children in the more innocent, drug induced haze of the 1970s. Onward and upward to the Deluxe Demon mask! I'm thinking that if your friend said, "Hey, I've got a deluxe demon mask" you'd be expecting something horrific-ly terrifying! Your knees would knock just thinking about the super scary mask that would be foisted upon your eyes Halloween night. Then he'd show up with this thing on his noggin and you'd immediately have to beat the bejeezus out of him and steal his candy. Calling this mask a Demon is completely misleading. Let's be perfectly honest here. Demon's are scary. This mask is not. Therefore, this mask is not a demon. It would be far more accurate to call this mask the Deluxe Green Haired, Limited Intellect Ape with Candy Dispensing Nostrils.

This brings us somehow to the Professional Star Trek masks. These masks were supposedly done from life masks of Spock and Kirk. I don't ever remember seeing a kid wearing one of these. In 1977 Star Trek was in reruns, so it's not like kids didn't know who they were. But it probably wasn't as cool as costumes of current tv stars or super heroes.

Most kids I knew bought costumes in a box. I dont' even remember rubber masks being available in any local stores. Plus if you bought the rubber mask, then you needed to come up with the appropriate costume. So it was easier just to buy the box that included a costume and cheapie plastic mask.Not a bad Spock mask at all. I'm not sure how this would look on a kid, but there's no mistaking the strange bowl haircut and point ears. But Kirk, what the hell? I would never know this was Captain Kirk. He looks sort of old, feeble minded, and oh I don't know, like there's something really wrong with him. He's giving me the creeps. I keep expecting to see him standing outside my house with a large knife. Why would I ever worry about Captain Kirk being a serial killer? Kirk isn't known for slashing teenagers, just his shirts to show off his ample pseudo-muscley chest. So why is he scaring me? Yikes!That's right. Micheal Myers is Captain Kirk! Aaaarrrgghhh!!! Can you imagine the poor Trekker who bought a Kirk mask and after Halloween came out had kids runnign and screaming in horror when they saw him (even though he stated the prime directive of not interferring in life on your planet, which would include not stabbing you?) Now that's a creepy nightmare in action!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

1975 Johnson Smith Co. Catalog Corners Realistic Rubber Mask Market

In 1974 I ordered a huge Bela Lugosi poster from the Johnson Smith Company, which got me on their mailing list, such as it was. The Johnson Smith catalog was a kids dream. It was all the crappy stuff advertised in comic books and so much more. You could buy magic tricks, karate technique books, black light posters, fake vampire blood, ventriloquist dummies, and many other strange and wonderful things.

I always wanted to buy some of their Halloween masks, but it was next to impossible since I went through my allowance within a day. Plus with an allowance of fifty cents, there was no way for me to snag the three dollar and ninety five cent gorilla mask. I guess it's a good thing since I suspect that the masks were not as life-like as the drawings in the ad. (Yes, I said DRAWINGS!? They didn't even dare to show them to kids, how good could they be?!)

What a fine selection of masks, you admiringly say. But may I advise you to take a closer look? The Bridal Skull mask always creeped me out, what with the upsidedown cupcake baking cup on her head. And what about Frankenstein? His expression looks like your best friend's chain smoking mom when she was mad about him tracking mud all over the freshly cleaned linoleum floor. But worst of all is the pathetic vampire on the far right. First off, he appears to have a very nasty head wound. Second, there's nothing scary about a vampire who's facial expression and slack jaw make him appear to have the intellect of an inbred hillbilly. Third, he looks extremely tired, as if when you ran away, he'd have to sit down, hold his side, and catch his breath. Lastly, he reminds me of Don Rickles, and there ain't nothing scary about Don - I'm talking Vegas Rickles, not mobster or vampire Rickles here.

These masks boastfully claim to be made by European craftsmen and look like a professional Hollywood makeup job. Supposedly you can eat, laugh, and talk while wearing these. What kid wouldn't want to be a dirty old man or dirty old woman? My friends and I used to beg, kick, and scream for our parents to buy us the super old grizzled grandparent masks. But every year we had to be monsters, superheros, and pirates. What a ripoff!

When I was a kid, I always wanted a bald head wig. I'm not sure why, it just seemed really funny. But this is one wig that I found creep-o-liciously disturbing. It claims to be undetectable without a close look. Uh, yeah, okay. I hate to be the one to tell them, but adding ginormous oversized ears -that they refer to as cauliflower but look more like Spock - and strange scraggly hair to a bald wig does not make for a very realistic sight. And while it claims to cover sideburns, we can clearly see the guy's not so long side burns sticking out from under part of the wig. The shame! Run away! Run away!

These are a product I always wanted to own. Can you imagine walking around with gorrilla hands and feet? And the feet slip on over your shoes!! That would certainly make you look very strange as you padded along the street, all gorrilla like, grabbing things with your big oversized rubbery go-rilla hands. Although I am a bit concerned with the description as it states that the hands and feet "never fail to incite most violent reaction." All I can picture is someone ripping my gorilla hands and feet off, and beating me insanely about the cranium with them. There that'll show you, you damn dirty ape!

Speaking of damn dirty apes, as a kid who was a major fan of the Planet of the Apes tv show, I really wanted this realistic deluxe ape mask, with real ape hair. They killed millions of apes just to make these masks. Johnson Smith calls it the finest ape mask they've ever seen, which makes me assume that they made it a point to never look at any other ape masks, ever! Because unlike their view that this realistic ape mask could be used in Hollywood, it looks to me like it should be called the dead grandpa ape mask, and is for those who want to pretend to be a mentally challenged ape or those who would like to pretend to be doctors performing ape autopsies.

Hey kids, isn't it funny to pretend to have a disfiguring accident? What is truly disturbing is that one of the recommended uses is wearing it while driving a car! How can you see out of the disfiguring accident mask? Isn't it a bit prophetic to drive while wearing it? Little Jimmy was wearing his Horrible Accident Disguise, when his car sailed off the road, burst into flames, and landed in the McGillicuddy's backyard during their barbeque for local orphans. Hilarity ensued.

And what kid doesn't want a major political figure mask? And Kissinger is just the best, what with the accent, extra weight, and thick glasses. Plus it's made by European craftsmen and it's deluxe, so it's gotta be good! You know Mable, my Johnny wore the Kissinger mask on our trip to Washington DC. And the mask was so realistic, don't you know, that he held three press conferences and advised the president on the Vietnam War!

Johnson Smith claims this is the best Santa mask they've seen under $25, and that it is made by experts in West Germany. But what I really want to know is what the hell is going on with this Santa mask? Looks like old Santa's either totally plastered or has fallen face first onto the belt sander, which I suppose could have happened due to excessive alcohol consumption. I really suspect that Santa put his head too close to his plutonium powered sleigh to get this type of radiation burn.

And while this is not a mask, it certainly is a costume. The catalog says you can be "transformed into a hilarious clown in seconds." Yes, the hilarity just rolls right off this fella. Just looking at his face, I can hear the honking of his horn and the flip flap of his enormous shoes. Ow my side! I can't wait to take him to my next neighborhood meeting and watch the hijinks begin.

Hope you enjoyed Johnson Smith Co's 1975 mask offerings. Any nightmares induced by the viewing of said realistic rubber, crafted by Europeans, spooky masks means you've got some issues.