Archive for universal monsters

Thrift Store Hallo-weekends: Monster Force Dracula (Playmates Toys)

Posted in island of misfit toys with tags , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

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Monster Force was a short lived animated series from the 1990’s produced by Universal Animation Studios. The show pit technologically equipped monster hunters against The Creatures of the Night, a catch-all name for some of the more famous ghouls. Since this show was produced by Universal, they had access to the “official” library of Universal Monsters brand were able to make several visual and narrative references to those classic films.

I had never heard of the show before seeing this toy in a comic convention discount bin. I paid $3 dollars for this toy.

We’re looking at Dracula, the de facto leader of The Creatures of the Night. This action figure was made by Playmates Toys, purveyors of lines such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Trek, among many others.

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odds and ends: my halloween decorations

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , on November 1, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

Last year, I showed off all my Christmas toys and decorations… so this year, I thought I’d do the same with my Halloween stuff!

I love the Universal Studios Monsters and this is my shelf dedicated to them. The three busts came with a special edition of Universal’s Legacy Collection of Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, and The Wolfman. They’re absolutely gorgeous and while two of these go into storage the other 11 months of the year, ol’ Frankie stays out year-round.

I’ve been keeping up with the Universal Monsters Minimates for the last few years, more ore less. I buy the heavies, as you can see here… but it’s an impressive collection Art Asylum  has put together. The only biggie I’m missing from years’ past is The Bride of Frankenstein and of course, this year’s offerings: The Mummy and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

I’ve gotten a couple of good deals on LEGOs in the past few months, the best being this huge version of Hogwarts! Although it’s not precisely “Halloween” I still think it’s a nice fit as a decoration. I decided to throw the Ghostbusters and Doctor Who in here because… why not?

When I was in college, my girlfriend and I collected these Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror Happy Meal toys. They’re surprisingly durable; although they’re almost 10 years old now, most of the light up features in these bad boys still work! I’m always meaning to add to this collection; I’d like some more of the Simpsons clan… but I guess that’s something to think about for next year.

I could use a couple more Nightmare Before Christmas toys in this display, although the ones I have, I love. Even the Jack Skellington is a favorite, even though his legs constantly separate from his hips. The Mer-woman and Igor I picked up last year for $4 bucks apiece online.

Windup toys are a small collection I have that have snuck up on me. I bought one for myself when I was living in Brooklyn. Before I knew it, I had more than two dozen. They’d end up in my Christmas stocking, or as a gift from a student. My favorites of these are the Halloween/monster windups my mother ends up finding and sending to us every year.

Elliot and Henry LOVE these, so they’re on a lower shelf. They can play with them whenever they feels like it.

odds and ends

Posted in commentary with tags , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

I’ve been buying a lot more toys in the last weeks than I have in the past few years. In my previous life as a singleton with disposable income, I collected toys, specifically action figures. I’ve scaled back my buys of late, limiting myself mainly to Minimates. If you don’t know what Minimates are, here’s a helpful video… with a view into my collection.

That was made about two years ago and my collection has only grown since then, although incrementally. I’m pretty choosy about what Minimates I buy these days. I’m no completist… if Diamond Select (the company that makes these) gets a license I like, I’ll buy the toys. This explains why I snapped up the Ghostbusters and Back to the Future ‘Mates as soon as they hit the toy shelves, but avoided the Rocky toys. I don’t care about Rocky Balboa as much as I do Marty McFly.

Anyhow, this past week was a banner Minimates week, as I picked up not one, not two, but THREE new Minimates sets. I know how excited you are to hear about them, so let’s get this show on the road:

My lovely sister Laura picked these up for me this past October at the New York Comic Con: The New Mutants Boxed Set. I’m not a huge X-Men fan, but I’ve always liked the uniform designs on The New Mutants and as they were a NYCC exclusive, it seemed a shame NOT to have Laura pick them up for me. I’ll also mention I’m hoping to get the Original X-Men boxed set for Christmas and point out that the two teams would look good together on my bookshelf.

I also picked up these Universal Monster Minimates the week before Halloween. I’m a sucker for the Universal Monsters, although I must confess, I’m disappointed that Art Asylum decided to roll out the heavies of the line (Frankenstein, Dracula) later in the year. I’m a mild Wolfman fan, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon never really did it for me. I’m happy to have the two monsters, even if the figures packed with them (Larry Talbot, pre-Wolfman and Dr. Carl Maia) are destined for the storage closet.

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I’m currently reading Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut by Rob Sheffield and I want to toss it a recommendation. Sheffield’s currently an editor at Rolling Stone and Ellen and I listened to an unabridged audiobook of his first book Love is a Mix Tape on a marathon drive from Ohio to New York last summer. We loved it.

The first thing that grabbed me about Sheffield’s writing is although he primarily writes about himself,  he doesn’t strike me as being insanely self-involved. Even in a book like Talking to Girls about Duran Duran, where Sheffield’s obviously telling his own life story, he’s generous with details about OTHER people and seemingly has no problem fading into the background to give others the limelight in his own narrative. I mention this because it’s a trait I feel is sorely lacking in a lot of young authors I’ve read in the past few years, especially essayists that write about music. Nine times out of ten, the story becomes more about the author than the subject, even if the author is NOT the subject. Sheffield strikes a balance that I really appreciate.

I was also impressed with the way Sheffield documents the pop music of the 1980s, hardly a period of music history that gets a huge amount of props from most critics. He’s pretty up front with the fact that a lot of this music is of the disposable, faddish sort… but at the same time, a lot of those pop tunes colored my childhood and it’s nice to read someone engaging with them on a level beyond “Oh, remember Hungry Like The Wolf? Yeah, me too.”

Anyhow, I recommend Talking to Girls About Duran Duran and Sheffield’s first book, Love it a Mix Tape. Both definitely worth your time.