Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Here is a great video of some family's home videos from the 1960s. This 8mm collection has everything going for it. There's a Christmas morning celebration, a St. Patrick's Day party, a summer backyard gathering of family and friends, a day at the beach, and even a swimsuit pageant for the adults! If you can spare 8 minutes of your time today, watch this collection of vintage family moments and see if it doesn't rekindle that spark of what family is all about! We all need to continue making more memories like these!

Monday, August 28, 2006


Well ... what do we have here? Why it's just an old picture of two cute little girls in the year 1967. Wait a minute! Those are not cute little girls at all! They're cute little boys impersonating cute little girls! This is fraudulent and disgusting! Why would any kid's mother encourage such a thing? And then take a picture to top it all off? Where was the Child Protection Agency back then when you needed them the most?

Oh well .. not to worry. My brother and I both grew up unscathed from such a traumatic and exploitive Kodak moment. We both are very much burly men with high levels of testosterone that seeks out high levels of estrogen from our spouses. I did however, later on in my adult life, go on to bigger and better things while wearing women's attire. I was a lead vocalist in a band that used to ... never mind. I'll save that for another post on a different day.

BTW, that's me on the right holding up my dress. My brother Todd is on the left.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


This remote controlled Doctor Frankenstein robot is an alleged 1963 prototype from the Marx Toy Company. Just in case you missed out on all the speculation over at UMA regarding this item, I will give you the rundown here at Castle Famous. I feel it's worthy of discussion here as well as at the Universal Monster Army Yahoo group.

This "prototype" is supposedly a 1963 sales sample from the Marx Toy Corp. A "sales sample" is a term that is used by manufacturers that are shopping new ideas and products to vendors. This robot is being auctioned off as just that - a rare sales sample and/or prototype. However, I'm not so easily convinced, and here's why.

Clearly, and just as the auction states, the head and entire body of this alleged prototype is that of the classic Marx Frankenstein robot from 1963 with a different paint job. I find this odd. Why would the Marx Toy Corporation, with all of their resources, take such a short cut if they were seriously shopping this as potential product? It just looks too shoddy to me - almost as if it were painted in someone's basement. If it were a true sales sample, wouldn't you think Marx would have wanted something much more polished-looking to help solicit interest? Then again, many times toy manufacturers will quickly throw something together; not really expecting much scrutiny from a prototype that is only being proposed. And what's even more troubling is the subject matter itself. Don't you think that it would have been far more profitable for Marx to produce a companion monster to their Frankenstein robot such as Dracula or Wolf Man rather than a boring plain clothes doctor?

I suppose the possibilities are endless. Perhaps this was an in-house gag made by Marx employees? Perhaps this was made in someone's basement in Kalamazoo, Michigan? Somebody out there knows the real story behind this enigma, but so far that somebody hasn't surfaced other than Gene Scala. This item happens to come with a certificate of "authenticity" from Scala's Ltd. and is signed by Gene Scala. Scala was one of the group who bought out the Marx warehouse when it closed in the 1970s. Oh well, you can choose to believe the Hake's auction description if you wish. As for me .. I'm remaining a cynical skeptic and will be following up with visits to my regular doctor.

Here is a link to the auction (bidder beware!) -

Sunday, August 20, 2006


It was just four days ago, on August 16th, that we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the death of Bela Lugosi. It was on August 16th, 1956 that Prince Sirki robbed us of one of the greatest boogey men ever known.

I would like to share this clip from Ed Wood's 1955 film Bride Of The Monster. It features one of the greatest Lugosi moments captured on film. Bela delivers this speech with such sincerity and conviction that it almost brings tears to not only Bela's eyes, but the viewers' eyes as well.

I don't think Bela had to do much acting, or even preparation for that matter, in delivering this wonderful speech. I have a strong feeling that these lines came very natural to him. With all the personal strife that Bela had endured in his later years, I'm sure it's safe to say that this dialogue hit pretty close to home .. "Home? I have no home".

Friday, August 18, 2006


Talking Monster from Outer Space

Wanted - one 48" Talking Monster from Outer Space. I'll even take him if he doesn't talk. Does this thing really exist? And what do you think a kid would have received back then upon ordering such a monstrosity? I'm pretty sure that two thirds of it were made up of nothing more than plastic sheeting and a piece of string. I wonder how many kids took advantage of the money back guarantee? Still, I would someday like to meet a 48" talking monster from outer space. The closest I've come is in meeting Raymond Castile, but he's from St. Louis.


electrode pen small

Revive your monster! 1:21 gigawatts of power! The secrets of life and death have never been this fun!! So says the text found on this delightful Frankenstein Electrode Pen created by Rick Stoner. This pen is another Monster Bash premium; this one being from the year 2005.

The really neat thing about this pen, aside from just being plain cool, is that this is a fully functional electrode pen. What you can't see in the pic is the little button, that when pushed, illuminates the clear housing of the pen with different shades of glowing colors!

What I'd give to go back to that elementary schoolroom of 1968 with this radical pen! Wait a minute! Ink pens weren't allowed in the classroom - only # 2 pencils were. Never mind .. I'll remain in the year 2006 with my electrode pen.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


It was a gloomy and rainy Sunday afternoon here in Minneapolis. So what better way to pass time then to melt down chunks of wax and make some good old fashioned army guys? That's just what my son Dominick and I did today - all courtesy of the 1964 Emenee Formex 7 Military Casting Set.


I bought this military casting set on eBay a while back not because of any true affection for army guys but because the set also included three additional molds that were not military related. These three molds were that of Frankenstein, Dracula, and Wolf Man. How they ended up in the military set was beyond me. Most likely, the child who originally owned the set had ordered additional casting molds that were advertised on the back page of the Emenee instruction booklet. I wish I could find that boy today and thank him.


For those who may not already be familiar with this vintage casting concept toy, allow me to quote the Emenee booklet itself - "the Emenee Formex Casting Set is a fascinating, instructive and completely self-contained kit which enables you to make your own military toys and then deploy them for maneuvers, training or mock battles. It is completely safe in operation.

The toys are cast by softening Formex 7 casting compound on the Dyna-Cast Thermal unit and then pouring the melt into any of the different re-usable casting molds supplied. The molds are cooled and the cast toys are removed for play."

Well, there you have it. I especially like the intimidating and serious title of the cheap blue plastic melting pot included within this set - officially known as the "Dyna-Cast Thermal Unit"!

Okay, it was time to get down to business and receive the necessary instruction from the Emenee Formex 7 owner's manual.


For some reason or another, a 6 yr old in the year 2006 doesn't find much excitement in sitting around and watching wax melt! Blame it on PlayStation2 I guess.


Here is a picture of the Dyna-Cast Thermal Unit at work heating up toxic hazardous material officially known as Formex 7 - or better known as "wax". I don't want to burst anyone's bubble here, but the Dyna-Cast Thermal Unit's internal components are made up of nothing more than 40 watt light bulb.

melting pot

20 minutes later, while still waiting to have fun, the Dyna-Cast Thermal Unit continues to try and melt wax.


Finally! The Dyna-Cast Thermal Unit is able to melt wax! Dominick and I now have something of which we can cast army men with. We carefully pour our first mold with hot molten wax.


And wha-la! A green army guy made of wax is born on this day! The Emenee Formex 7 Casting Set has done it's job! Even in the year 2006 (some 42 yrs later) the Emenee company is still putting smiles on children's faces.


BUT WAIT, not so fast! Emenee had promised hours of fun and enjoyment with our finished casting. I'm sorry to say that our green army guy didn't even make it to the 15 minute mark before both his legs were snapped off like brittle twigs. After all, it's hard to get some good durable play time from figurines made of wax.


And so it is that the Emenee Formex 7 Casting Set belongs to the year 1964. With all the bells and whistles of today's toys, making your own toys from chunks of wax seems a bit primitive if not altogether tedious. But you know what? My son and I did have fun! So maybe there's still hope for this generation and it's over exposure to media related entertainment and fancy-schmancy action figures. Maybe.