Crawling Hands and Venus Flytraps: Monster Stuff for 1960s Kids

uncle fester

The back pages of boys’ magazines of the 1950s and 60s were chock full of wonderfully monster-centric stuff for kids.  Famous Monsters of Filmland, and its ilk were fun just to ‘window shop’ through its back pages.  To a kid back then, these horror-themed toys were the coolest stuff on earth. Naturally, these things often wound up being falsely advertised rip-offs, but did it really matter? It was just so damn fun browsing through the loads of monster junk you’d probably never own.

So, let’s browse again – back to the 1960s, when monsters ruled the imaginations of the young, and any monster paraphernalia  was a treasure indeed.




“Stop dreaming about the gruesome experiments of the mad scientists.  Get madder than any of them!”

I wonder what sort of gruesome experiments could be conducted with this kit?  The kid on the cover seems to have evil intentions, and the fact that it’s made by a company labeled as a “Division of Physio-Chem Corp.” makes me wee bit wary.


frank tears blood


The Frankenstein Monster crying bloody tears is profoundly troubling.



Packs developer and fixer, mixing trays, negatives, safe light, etc….. seems like a lot a lot work to have a picture of a monster.  Perhaps, instead of ordering the “45-Piece Laboratory”, it would be easier to just buy the pictures.  Oh, the days before laser jets.



“A wonderful kit for do-it-yourself decapitation”

Won’t mom and dad be proud as Junior spends his evenings repeatedly chopping heads off?





These collector’s items are probably worth their weight in albino rhino horn today. I’m guessing some of these graduated to become the coolest cocaine paraphernalia in town during the 1970s. But what’s with the glaring lack of Drac?



Here’s the one toy in this article that I actually did own. These figures really did glow. Probably radium infused Styrene, and I’m going to have cancer because of it…. best not to think about that.



It’s hard to believe you could get something like this for under 2 US dollars.  Perhaps the greatest horror of all isn’t the monster toys, but the monster inflation that has taken place.



I’m sure it was neat… but “greatest invention ever made”? I think not. That honor goes to the Cool Ranch Doritos Taco.



As compared to the show, Thing (the hand) appears really, really tiny…. and since the show wasn’t in color, I’m not sure it should be green either.


Here’s another disembodied hand…


nose nipper

Endless torturing fun. Makes a perfect holiday gift for any blossoming serial killer.


venus flytrap

Stephen King’s Creepshow was, of course, an ode to EC comics which contained great mail-order ads in the back pages. The Venus Fly Trap ad is utilized in the animated portion of the film to great effect.



Wolf Man looks too big for his “wagon” – in fact, it’s painful for me to even look at. Methinks the Wolf Man is better off taking a cab.

I think there’s no better way to wrap things up than with a Barnabas music box and a lighted pineapple. Until next time.


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