Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Monsters of the Movies Annual #1

Today's Monster Memories are of:
Monsters of the Movies Annual #1 Cover Art
(Click to view larger.)
"Uh, you try to communicate, Mr. Spock. We'll wait wa-a-ay back here behind this big rock!"

Being a Trekker since the early 70's, (having discovered it through the Gold Key comics) it was one of my main interests as a young teen. Sure, I had many others, but Trek was IT. So when in the summer of 1975 I saw the above issue pre-advertised in a copy of "The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu," my bowels were in an uproar to get it. Trek material was much harder to come by back then, and each and every item was a treasure, to be... well, treasured.

(For those just joining, Star Trek was two four-letter words in my household growing up. I could only watch it when away from home or when the Grups were gone, so I was reading about it more than I was viewing it. Hence, the thirst for material and collectable books and magazines. I was an expert at sneaking them into the house, too.)

I was 16, (going on 13) and I lived in Hallandale, FL at the time. It was a year before Starlog would warp onto the scene, with a mind-blowing Star Trek-oriented debut (with several pages of full-color photos!). The Starfleet Technical Manual and the Enterprise Blueprints were still on Franz Joseph's drawing board, so finding something on Trek was like panning for gold. When I came across an item on the magazine rack that featured Trek, my face would flush, my pulse would race, and the happy excitement would put an indelible grin on my face.

View of some apartments in Hallandale similar to those I lived in while this magazine was on the stands.

I imagine the various owners of the shops I frequented were amused at my obvious youthful enthusiasm. But what did I care, as I headed out of the store with whatever prize I had been fortunate enough to find, reading as I walked down the sidewalk in the Florida sunshine and ocean-breeze scented air. I made quite a sight, probably resembling Icabod Crane, reading a book as he walked. I was certainly skinny enough!

"Hey, it says here they're hoping to make a new Star Trek series!"

This particular issue, the first Annual of Monsters of the Movies, proved hard to find, however. My local magazine stand, only about a half-mile from home, didn't get it in. So that meant I had to head for the mall area, a couple of miles away down near the Intercoastal Waterway. Buying a pack of liquid-honey-filled honey candy on the way out, I popped one in my cheek and began the pilgrimage... past tall condominiums, stores and palm trees, I went. Like the ads out at the time that said "I'd walk a mile for a Camel," I would walk even further for my love of Star Trek, monsters and sci-fi. My destination, coincidentally, was a tobacco store that also sold newspapers and magazines.

That's assuming you had the breath to make such a journey, smoking these things.

I loved the smell of the sweet pipe tobacco that permeated these stores, and that aroma triggers a flashback to those pulse-pounding trips to look for monster mags. Sometimes when I take out certain ones that I bought there, like several editions of the Monster Times, I swear I can catch a whiff of cherry pipe tobacco. And I don't even smoke!

Sure enough, they had the mag I was seeking, and as I exited the store to the tinkling of the bell over the door, I think I must have been walking a few inches above the ground. The cover artwork by Gray Morrow was beautiful, and the article on the inside made the round-trip miles worth it. It's true that anticipation increases your appreciation!

After I left the store, I bought a bottle of Fanta blue cream soda on the way home at a 7-11, and sipping that delicious cyan-colored concoction and reading the latest on my main obsession, I thought to myself, "It just doesn't get any better than this!" And that was years before the beer slogan. I should have gotten some credit for that campaign.

I bought every issue of the excellent Monsters of the Movies I came across, but this particular one holds the most memories for me. I picked up another copy when I found it a few weeks later at another store, which I proceeded to cut up for my scrapbook. By then I had the presence of mind not to cut up my only copy, as I regrettably did for some earlier Famous Monsters I had bought when younger. Later, when I got home, I holed up in my room to soak up the contents of the magazine without having to divide my concentration between reading and surviving traffic. Lying back against the headboard on the bed, wearing my (now) old-fashioned headphones with earpieces the size of grapefruit halves, I read while listening to some of my cassette tapes of Star Trek episodes I had made.

Sure, I now have the episodes in remastered glory on DVD to watch on a plasma widescreen; CDs of the soundtracks; internet access to all facets of the show, etc... by any standards I have it light-years better than I did as a teen. So, why is it that when I watch the shows now, the most important aspect is not what I am seeing, but the 30-year-old memories and feelings it conjures up?

I guess I'm just weird like that... figure I'll go open a bottle of blue cream soda now. Cheers!

UPDATE: I've posted the entire article found inside the magazine on my other blog, "My Star Trek Scrapbook," a blog createdwell after I wrote this entry.


John W. Morehead said...

I love the images and topics you touch on with the blog. It takes me back! The photos of your DVD and memorabilia collection are impressive. You've got me beat, but I think my Halloween set up will pass yours this year.

For what it's worth, my blog address has changed to

Frederick said...


Thanks for stopping by and for commenting! Glad you enjoyed seeing my stuff... but that Halloween setup was from a house I lived in three years ago, with only a small area to decorate... I've doubled the tombstones now that I have more room. It grows some every year!

Let's post our new images this year near Halloween, and compare! I'd love to see what you do with it. You've inspired me to do some posts featuring the various setups I've had in the past. At one time I had a whole front yard of home-made stones. But we moved somewhere I couldn't decorate, and I gave them away to my brother. When we got in our home we have now, I started rebuilding the collection when the new store-bought stones got to be affordable.

Patrick said...

Another great story here Fred! I had a good interest in Star Trek as a kid also- I recall getting some awesome walkie-talkie Communicators for Christmas one year- they actually had a button on the side you could push and the top cover would flip up, just like on the show. I can remember thinking I was the coolest kid alive when I got those! Of course, my passion for Star Trek faded quickly when Star Wars rolled around...That was when I REALLY got poisoned by the Sci-fi bug!

Anonymous said...

Fred, I lived your life. Monsters of the Movies was my obsession for a year and Issue 3, with the Vampire cover, almost made me pass out in the mag store I had to take 2 buses to get to. My bedroom was a rigged house of horrors during this time and my parents got many nasty surprises entering unannounced. Man those were good times. Thanks for the effort you put into stirring up those wonderful ghosts for me.