The Chicago area in the 1960’s and 1970’s was a ripe market for many different types of television programming formats. The early mornings and early afternoon was for the viewing pleasure of young stay at home housewives, and the format consisted of game shows and soap opera’s ( I hated soap opera’s YUK!). The evening programming was formatted for our Dad’s who came home after a hard day at work, so they could kick back, suck down a bottle of suds and watch the evening news and an episode of the Fugitive, Voyage to the Bottom of The Sea or Combat.But early afternoon between the news and the soap opera’s and late night programming were prime territory for the a Monster Kid.
By the mid 1960’s the television market was flooded with the monster films that originally appeared in the matinee’s in theaters all over the country. Movies such as the the Amazing Colossal Man, The Day the earth stood still, THEM, Godzilla and many more black and white horror movies showed up on local TV stations. For a Monster kid like myself this was heaven on earth.
In addition to the normal programming of movies two special programs dedicated to the “monster genre” became Chicago area icons. My favorite was “Creature Features” on WGN TV. The other was Svengoolie, with the original host Jerry G Bishop and
Jerry G Bishop as “Svengoolie”
Later “Son of Svengollie” Host Rich Koz, who’s show is still on TV and a vibrant part of the Chicago Horror host scene. I still watch Svengoolie and collect Monster Kid toys!
Son of Svengoolie, Rich Koz now “Svengoolie” or as his fans call him “Goolie”
A few years ago I happened to run into the movie “Ed Wood” which was directed by Tim Burton. The story was about an eccentric guy (Ed Wood) , a wanna-be (and almost successful at) horror movie producer. The movie reignited my love of the ancient black and white monster movie fun club. It was around that time that I tried starting up my very own monster magazine called “Monsters after Midnight”.
The magazine had a very limited life and I only produced three or four issues. A lot of good people supported me in the endeavor, with the exception of my Ex-wife. I will always consider Monsters after Midnight my own personal Ed Wood tragedy opera, as I found myself out of a job, dead broke and eventually divorced after my ex decided to have an affair with my kids little league baseball coach (you just cannot make this stuff up) and my magazine and my life became something that was the epitome of something that Ed Wood could have produced. The magazine and I both shuttered, made strange creaking noises and suffered from minor errors in grammar, minor errors in content and minor errors in judgement. But I digress… and take full accountability of myself.. because Monsters After Midnight will always be mine….. My creation, my own personal Frankenstein’s monster. …. Karloff is rolling over in his grave.
Despite the demise of Monsters After Midnight (and its still breathing a little.. just like Frankenstein’s monster). I still could not lose my love of the monster genre. So like any hobby, (or some monsters we know) it morphed into more of a voyeuristic endeavor (OH trust me my fellow dirty minded friends.. I know what your thinking… but put down that those smart phone cameras.. its not like that). As I simply went back to my own monster kid roots and became a spectator, collector of monster movie memorabilia and a not-for-profit monster movie critic / blogger.
One of the awesome aspects of being a passive monster kid not hell bent on being a millionaire gave me the opportunity to really have some fun with the hobby. I am an avid collector of monster figures and thanks to companies like Diamond Select, Jakks Pacific and Funko and many other resources (gotta love ebay) it relatively easy to find monster collectibles by the truck loads.
ONCE A MONSTER KID…. ALWAYS A MONSTER KID
Some of my own collection