Tag Archives: monster kids

Monster World memories: Captain Company

How many of us monster kids, living in the heyday of the Monster World in the 1960s, saved up our nickels until we could stop thumbing through the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland and actually order something from those Captain Company ads?

It appears there isn’t a definitive history of Captain Company online, which is too bad. I’d love to know more about the mail-order company, which was purportedly based on the East Coast and was the mail-order sales division of Warren Publishing, which unleashed Famous Monsters, Creepy and other mags on the world.

Looking around the Interwebs, though, I see a few people with some of the same memories of Captain Company.

Especially the Captain Company ads: Like their comic book counterparts for X-Ray Specs and the like, the Captain Company ads were a riot of amateurish drawings, over-eager copy and outright misrepresentations.

I ordered back issues of FM through Captain Company as well as a few other items, the details of which I’ve long forgotten. It’s possible I bought some of those little 8 millimeter films — digest versions of classic Universal horror movies — through Captain Company.

I believe Captain Company has been revived, in some form, as a merchandising arm of the new Famous Monsters. It’s not the same, of course, but neither are we.

Here are some ads, many of them collected by http://www.diversionsofthegroovykind.blogsppot.com

 

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The documentary about our monstrous childhood

I’ve mentioned before in this space what I call “the monster world” and what others call the “monster kid” phenomenon. It was that golden period from the 1950s until the 1970s when a lot of us kids were obsessed with all manner of spooky, geeky stuff: Old Universal Studios monster movies, monster dragsters, monster comics, Aurora monster models … you name it.

Part of the impetus for the monster world was the release to television, in the 1950s, of the classic Universal Studios monster films from the 1930s and 1940s. After years of re-releases to theaters, the movies finally found a place on TV.

Late night Fridays and Saturdays and on Saturday afternoons, local TV stations that had purchased the Universal movie package — often referred to as the “Shock Theater” package — aired classics like “Frankenstein,” “Dracula” and all their sequels and spinoffs.

Often local stations created horror movie spoof characters — like Sammy Terry on WTTV Channel 4 in Indianapolis — to host the broadcasts.

At the same time, magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland, The Monster Times, Castle of Frankenstein and many more began publishing.

All of a sudden, the denizens of the monster world found each other.

Today I heard about “That $#!& Will Rot Your Brain,” a documentary from Bob Tinnell that looks at the monster kid phenomenon. Through interviews with everybody from Bob Burns to Tom Savini (if you have to ask …) the documentary looks at what it was like growing up in this golden era.

Tinnell and his partners are seeking donations to help raise $10,000 toward the cost of the film. This website has details.

Donate if you want. No sales pitch from me. I mention it only because, as a former denizen of the monster world, it’s pretty cool to see devoted fans putting their fantasies in action this many years after the fact.