As I get older I find myself getting more nostalgic for things that I had or experienced as a child. It may be as simple as opening a new comic book, reading a book that has stayed with me or even any of the cool toys I had growing up.
When it came to toys I was very partial to the Mego toy lines with such great toys like Micronauts and the World’s Greatest Superheroes 8″ action figures. My favorite though was monsters. In fact, I would get monster toys from other lines just to incorporate them into playtime with the toys I already had.
What it comes down to is that I was a monster kid growing up. I loved playing with them, reading about them, drawing them and watching them on tv. My weekly ritual on Saturdays was to get up early, watch cartoons until noon, watch wrestling until 1 and then it was time for the Creature Double Feature on WLVI Channel 56 out of Boston. To this day the Creature Double Feature is one of the best memories I have as a child. Even though drawing in the UHF station was spotty depending on the weather, I tried to watch each and every week. In fact, I still meet people who grew up on this weekly dose of monster mayhem, commenting on how great they also thought the show was.
Just recently I became aware of the book “Monster Mash: The Creepy, Kooky Monster Craze In America 1957-1972,” even though it came out in 2015. I was immediately drawn to this book as it seemed like a reflection of my life growing up in the 70’s. What’s more nostalgic than that? I immediately contacted the author, Mark Voger, who got me even more excited about this book.
Though it only has 192 pages, each page is loaded with monster memories, many of which are very similar to mine. That is why I connected so strongly to this book. Not only is it great to re-live some of what I experienced as a child but it was wonderful to see what I missed! Who knew there was so much stuff?
Voger’s writing style is perfect for this book as he comes across as a fellow monster fan talking to you like a long-time friend. You get this feeling that you grew up with Mark and experienced the very same things with him. This is what makes this book so special; you feel as though you are more than just a casual reader.
He was also fortunate because over the years he was able to talk to and interview many of the people who helped create these monster memories. The book features interviews with James Warren (Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella magazines), Forrest J Ackerman (Famous Monsters of Filmland), John Astin (The Addams Family), Al Lewis (The Munsters), Jonathan Frid (Dark Shadows), George Barris (monster car customizer), Ed “Big Daddy” Roth (Rat Fink), Bobby (Boris) Pickett (“Monster Mash” singer/songwriter) and others, with a foreword by TV horror host Zacherley, the “Cool Ghoul.” This book is chock full of interesting stories; stories that otherwise we would’ve never heard about.
If you are a monster kid, or if you are someone who wants to know what it was like back in the day, before VCR’s, DVD’s and OnDemand, when you had to wait patiently week after week to get your monster fix, then this book is highly recommended. It’ll bring you back to a much simpler time; a time where you weren’t completely consumed by video games and social media. A time where you would use your imagination to play, create and escape the stresses of school and being considered an outcast because you liked monsters more than sports.
I cannot recommend this book enough and it is well worth the cover price. It is entertaining from cover to cover and is a book you will go back to time and time again. You can get your own copy through Amazon by going HERE or directly from the publisher by visiting their website HERE! I guarantee you will not be disappointed!
If you would like to read others in the Basement Bookshelf series, just click HERE.
Coming soon: my interview with author Mark Voger!