While I don’t pick up as many movie magazines as I did in my teenage years, I still grab one on occasion. End result is I have quite a few boxes tucked away after 40 odd years. So this year at Mike’s Take I’ve decided to dig into the vault and feature one per month for 2023. I’ll also admit to having mostly monster magazines as they’re the ones that interested me as a kid and to be honest they still do. I think I bought many of them based on the cover art thanks to artist Basil Gogos. Kind of like I love to pick up 50’s, 60’s and 70’s pulp novels nowadays for the exact same reason. I’ll do my best to pull out a few surprises over the course of the next 12 months.
Let’s get started with Issue #122 from January 1976 of Forest J. Ackerman’s creation featuring cult fave Ingrid Pitt on the cover.
Flip the cover open and we’re treated to a full page ad for 1940’s Man Made Monster.
A quick look at the table of contents to see what we’re going to find in the latest issue.
I’m not in agreement with this piece of Fang Mail as I’ve always enjoyed The Devil’s Rain that starred Ernest Borgnine and William Shatner. However I do like the price of admission.
The first write up is a synopsis of Man Made Monster with plenty of accompanying photos. The film was made prior to Lon Chaney Jr.’s turn as Lawrence Talbot aka The Wolf Man. In this outing Chaney’s the likable guy being taken advantage of by a crazed scientist played by Lionel Atwill who turns Big Lon into Dynamo Dan who’s electrifying touch can kill.
Cover Girl Ingrid Pitt get’s coverage in the aptly titled “You’ll Love this Vampire” For those unaware, Miss Pitt, played Le Fanu’s Carmilla in the Hammer classic, The Vampire Lovers. She also starred as Elizabeth Bathory in the studio’s Countess Dracula and proved to be one of the highlights in the Amicus anthology The House That Dripped Blood.
Hidden in the chapter titled To The Grue Morgue which serves as a Coles Notes version on the history of horror films is this shot of a movie theater in St. Louis playing the monster clash Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man or if you prefer, When Bela Met Lon. Every time I see those old movie theater shots all I can think about are the posters and billboards that no longer exist. As for the co-feature, Over My Dead Body starring Milton Berle, never seen it but after a little research it sounds fun in a Red Skelton kind of way.
A shot of Marty Feldman and letting us know that Ackerman was apparently a fan of the Mel Brooks classic.
As for the Exorcist feature, it’s putting the spotlight on the blatant rip off released as Beyond The Door. The 1974 feature that starred Richard Johnson and Juliet Mills. Apparently Warner Bros sued the producers of this one for it’s copying William Friedkin’s ground breaking thriller and won some sort of financial settlement.
The “You Axed For It” chapter was a staple of Famous Monsters. While it might be hard to imagine nowadays, travel back in time to the days before the internet when you’re wanting to see a picture from a favorite horror film or possibly an actor we all identify with the genre. Like Peter Cushing. All you had to do was write into the publisher and make your request.
Monsters From Mexico would have been an informative write up at the time on the many horror films produced south of the border including the Santo series and reminding us that John Carradine collected a paycheck for appearing in a 1968 terror called Autopsy of a Ghost. The film also starred Cameron Mitchell and would sadly prove to be the final screen appearance of Basil Rathbone. If I’ve got my facts correct there is no English tracks to the film if you do come across it leaving our trio of well known actors dubbed into Spanish.
Now on to the many items I wish I’d have nagged my parents to order for me in the final few pages which were a staple of magazines back in the day.
What I wouldn’t do to keep my FM mags stored in custom cases.
Be sure to order up some Super 8 home movies of the monster variety. While I never got any of these back in the day I did locate a stack of these on one of my memorabilia hunts.
For just $1.39 why not order yourself up a Wolf Man Nose that would have made Lon Chaney Jr. proud.
Not into the whole Wolf thing than why not order an LP with a very London After Midnight feel to the cover art.
Two full page ads on Planet of the Apes novelties would have had me begging my parents for pretty much everything that was available for ordering. As a matter of fact I was gifted that giant floor sized puzzle of Roddy McDowall in full make up one Christmas morning. As for the paperbacks, I’ve picked them up over the years.
Lastly on the inside cover is the main reason I opted to feature this January issue of a few choices I had on hand. It’s a full page ad in color of an all new Hammer Film that wasn’t meant to be. Not sure if it’s 100% accurate but I have read that the role was to be played by Caroline Munro or perhaps she was at least one of the leading contenders to take on the role of Vampirella.
Any FM fans out there? Check back next month for a February throwback to the past.
This is a fascinating new feature, Mike. So much to enjoy here! It really brings back the pre-internet days when information was in short supply and we would spend hours poring over every detail in magazines like these. I’m already looking forward to next month’s feature.
I totally love the plastic wind-up walking dolls of Dr Zaius and Cornelius advertised at the back. I want one of each! Do any still exist anywhere? No luck on ebay so far!
Been meaning to do this for a while so thanks, glad you liked it. Those Ape novelties are so cool. I had some of the Apes items as a kid, was my favorite series. I very rarely see anything these days and I too wonder how many of these items are out there. I’m always looking when I go to memorabilia shows. Cheers’.
By the time I could scrape some money together for a film magazine, I was lured into buying “Fangoria” by the cover. I knew nothing of the history of Famous Monsters of Filmland. But, while I’ve tossed all my other magazines, I still have those.
I have some Fangoria editions here though just a small number. I was more in favor of the classic monsters then I was the gross out articles they seemed to glorify when I was discovering them at a local comic book shop. I did recently pick up a collector edition hardcover that has all the covers of Fangoria through the years. A numbered edition with a signed forward by Bruce Campbell.
That is super cool Mike, what a nice bit of nostalgia to share. My Dad used to read the Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine when he was a kid in the 1960’s, them and Superman and Batman comics. He told me they were really cool to read and had lots of cool stuff on the classics.
Nice. These are always fun to go back and look at when feeling nostalgic or just doing some fact finding.
Love this magazine Mike!
New Yorker Colleen Hayden was indeed a bit harsh on Robert Fuest’s THE DEVIL’S RAIN (1975). And LOST IN SPACE ‘DID’ have some spectacular endings (and some corny ones too!) so don’t know what she was going on about there! lol
And lucky you for receiving that giant, floor-sized puzzle of Roddy McDowall in full make-up on Christmas morning, all those years ago!
Eagerly look forward to the next installment in this fab magazine series.
I still have that Roddy puzzle boxed up around here somewhere. Anything with the Apes had my attention, Pretty sure I have an old halloween mask as well from the 70’s as well. Time to rewatch The Devils Rain maybe…. Cheers’
All those old fan magazines, my goodness I’m so jealous. They were so much better than chasing around the internet for articles and posters and the like. You had a product in your hand and could take it out and re-read it whenever you wanted. I was partial to a Canadian magazine called Take One. I don’t know how long it lasted. You’ve probably got a complete set.
I remember that Take One magazine and hate to admit it but don’t have any. Sorry.
Unbelievable. I rely on you to have everything in your vault.
Some neat stuff in that magazine, one which I don’t believe I’ve ever read in my life! For me, when I was a kid, it was baseball…Baseball Digest, the yearly Street & Smith guides, boxscores in The Sporting News. Odd that I never picked some of these up at one point, considering I loved watching monster movies back then.
And those ads! Baseball Digest had the same types, only sports-related. I really wanted some of those Super 8 World Series films, but alas, no projector at home to watch them with.
Don’t recall my Dad ever picking up sports magazines but he checked the boxscores in the newspaper everyday. Yeah I was always wanting those 8 MM movies from the ads and maybe that’s why all these years later I’m such a hoarder at collecting DVD and blu rays.
I don’t remember Monsters, but I used to buy Starlog and Fangoria. Before the internet, this is how you found out information about classic movies, and upcoming projects. 🙂
Yes indeed, the “good old days” when you had to dig and search on your own for facts on old faves and news of upcoming productions.