Trying to find copies of Famous Monsters when domiciled 3,000+ miles away from the action was a tad frustrating, more so when the series jumped from #69 to #80 in one month. It was only years later I discovered that the jump was to help the magazine reach #100 sooner.
I would suggest it was easier to get Class A drugs during tier four Lockdown last year, than it was to buy a pristine copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland in Skidmark, Dunbartonshire, or Ye’llhavehadyerhole, North Lanarkshire during the sixties or early seventies. Famous Monsters was for some school children the Grail of all American magazines/comics. Its appearance on our shores chimed with the screening on Scottish Television and later BBC2 seasons of old Universal horror movies like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Werewolf of London. These were regulars for the magazine’s covers and content as were the new stars of Hammer Horror Films like Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
Trying to find copies of Famous Monsters when domiciled 3,000+ miles away from the action was a tad frustrating, more so when the series jumped from #69 to #80 in one month. It was only years later I discovered that the jump was to help the magazine reach #100 sooner. Not much good when you had a dog-eared #68 and suddenly discovered a #83 just a few slim months later. But each copy owned was a treasure shared. The articles on old horror movies and photo-spreads of movies yet to come were drooled over with an intensity only children can muster. Similarly the covers were artworks which undoubtedly gained more views than a Warhol or a Hockney at the local Modern Art Gallery.
Established by publisher James Warren and editor Forrest J Ackerman in 1958, Famous Monsters of Filmland lasted until Warren fell ill and Ackerman resigned after 191 issues in 1983. Ackerman went on to manage a similar type magazine called Monsterland from 1984-87, which never really took-off.
Famous Monsters of Filmland was revived in 1993 and ran until 2008, but fell foul of a legal suit Forrest J Ackerman.
But good ideas rarely die, they just adapt to the times. Famous Monsters is now published as an yearly magazine, website, and podcast. But for me, the real joy of Famous Monsters was those first 191 issues with their glossy covers and inky-black pages.
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