October 18, 2016

FIGURE OF THE WEEK #129: 6" Universal Monsters by Marx

The Gangs all here!
It's amazing how a certain piece of a memory can evoke a wave of emotions. One fall day in 1964, I came across a startlingly wonderful discovery in the toy department at Woolworth's aka the eighth wonder of the world. There, resting in giant bins next to army figures and other toys were wonderfully colored creatures known as Universal Monster figures by Marx. Owing to the influence of plastic army men, I was, as a kid-and still am today as an adult-fascinated with plastic figures. Like models, there was such artistry to the molding of them that they were worthy of studying for hours on end as well as playing with. These wonderful monster figures came in two different colors. I had a blue Hunchback, Wolfman and Phantom while Frankenstein, The Creature and The Mummy were cast in bright orange. I tried everything I could with them including, but not limited to, painting them with enamels like my Aurora Monster models, attempts at blowing them up and burning them into blackened gobs of plastic. Invariably, I ended up buying these figures again and again. I was in awe at how such wonders were created and made available at such a reasonable price of only a dime. In 1964, ten cents was still a good piece of change, money to be taken seriously, but it wasn't a fortune either. Ten cents was reasonable. Ten cents also paid for the incredibly fascinating 6-inch army figures and cowboy figures also by Marx.

I really loved "The Mummy" and "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" figures. Frankenstein was cool also, but The Mummy and The Creature were tops. "The Wolfman" and "The Phantom of the Opera" came in third but I loved them just the same. No idea why Dracula never made the cut. 
The set was sold both loose, and together in a plastic bag with a printed logo that read "Cinema Creatures!" The monster figurines have been re-issued many times over the years in many colors including a glow-in-the-dark set by Uncle Milton in 1991. But the original 60's versions were molded in blue and orange plastic.

Frank makes the cover of his favorite magazine

Wolfman  1964
Mummy still looking good at 50+ years!
Franke..back in the day!
The Creature looking as sharp as he did back in '64
Hunchie Re-pop c.2000s
A '64 Phantom..wave bye, bye!
1990s Reissue by Uncle Milton
1990s reissue also by Uncle Milton

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