Wednesday, October 31, 2007



“Hey kids, looking for that perfect Halloween costume for Halloween, well look no further because you can get your very own plastic bag to wear over your head!”

What were the ad wizards at Kraft thinking back in 1953 when they came up with this bright idea for a kid’s send-away premium? Can you imagine something like this in today’s market?

As the ad says, “Slips easily over your head,” but the printer must’ve accidentally left off the next line which said, “Not responsible for suffocation.”

A couple of years ago I found this Space Helmet plastic bag mask tucked inside of an old book. I had no clue what it was from and so I ended up selling it in a large advertising premium lot on eBay. Savvy super collector Dan Goodsell won the auction as he had this very ad in his collection, but no masks. Now the Space Helmet is part of his collection.

Last year I found my own newspaper ad and another plastic mask. This time it was Toto the Clown. Who the heck was Toto the Clown? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?

As far as I know, only two masks have surfaced. Hopefully, the Old Witch and the evil looking Pumpkin Head will emerge. Maybe we should start a Kraft Caramels Plastic Bag Mask cult, but for now, there are only two members.

I wonder how many kids turned black & blue in ‘53 before remembering to cut out the eye and mouth holes. I hate to think how many kids forgot the eye and mouth holes. You know this sounds like the beginning of a horror flick. Also, you want to know something else? I think this Halloween blog-a-thon countdown has taken its toll.

Where is that Toto the Clown mask? Must wear the Toto mask!!!!!!!




I’ve collected old “found” snapshot photos for years and each one has a story to tell, but these stories are usually hidden from us as most photos never come with provenance. Most of the photos in my collection have been found at flea markets, auctions and on ebay. It’s fun to speculate and even make up stories to go along with the images, but most of the time these photos haunt me with questions of why in the... where in the... and who the...? This time I have a special treat on Halloween for all of you snapshot fans. I have the true story behind one of the most popular snapshots I’ve ever posted.

I posted a snapshot I simply titled 1950's Halloween Robots on flickr back in 2006. This photo has been marked as a favorite almost 100 times and that’s more than any photograph, scan or snapshot in my photostream. Though I can’t call this a found photo, but more of a borrowed one as a close friend let me scan this photograph that her dad snapped many years ago. This year, she let me scan the unmasked photo, which you’ll see at the bottom of the page. First, here’s the true story about the photo.

In 1958 in the small town of Igloo South Dakota, 49 years ago today, two kids, Allie and Lance were transformed into robots thanks to their creative dad. He spent hours cutting cardboard, taping edges and brushing on silver paint so his children could look like they had just stepped off of the movie screen at the Hipsher Theater during a Saturday Matinee.

The kids were excited to don their costumes and they fit like a glove, a stiff glove that made it difficult to walk. But these kids didn’t care as they had the coolest costumes in town. After they had their photo taken, they left for a Halloween Kiddie Parade where they were a big hit with all the other kids. It wasn’t until early evening during the first few houses of trick or treating that the kids had a hard time maneuvering inside their cardboard shells. The little robots started to malfunction as Lance kept running into stuff and poor Allie kept falling down. Because of safety concerns, they called it a night. It was no big deal that they didn’t get much in the way of candy and Allie says she wouldn’t trade their special “handmade with love” robot costumes for all the treats in the world!

This is the photo of the little robots unmasked and frozen in time, forever anxious for Halloween to begin!

Thanks Allie for sharing your fun memory and wonderful snapshot with all the Neato Coolville readers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


It's a pretty good guess these were taken at Universal Studios back in the 70's.


I’ve always enjoyed Wax Museums and I was glad to have the chance in 1999 to visit the Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park, California before it closed in 2005.

For your viewing pleasure here’s a fun souvenir photo of a family hamming it up with Frankenstein’s Monster in Frankenstein’s Photo Gallery. I like how the dad is trying to light his cigarette on the neck bolt and that they’ve pinned some type of silly button on his lapel.

The next three photos are 1960's souvenir postcards of Boris Karloff as the Monster, Lon Chaney as the Phantom of the Opera, and Vincent Price as Prof. Henry Jarrod from House of Wax.

Here we have a 1966 souvenir coloring book and I’ve scanned all the monster pages.

The last three images are snapshots that I took during the only time I visited the museum.



Monday, October 29, 2007


One of my earliest monster memories was taking Monster Multiple Vitamins. Every morning for a few years there were usually a couple of these weird shaped creatures on the table next to my bowl of cereal. Since I was wild about monsters, Mom knew these were the only vitamins I would take.

Half the time I ended up playing with them on the table before eating them. Of course every morning these little monsters died a horrible death as I played that I was a giant monster eating them. Fee Fi Fo Fun I smell the blood of a Monster Vitamin! The monsters disappeared replaced with the Flintstones and I didn’t see my monster pals again until earlier this year.

For years I’d been wanting to add a box to my collection, but since they went out of production in the mid to late 70's they’re more rare than Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster put together. This year I finally found a box with an unused bottle still inside. If I want to be transported to simpler times all I need to do is open the bottle and take a big whiff and POW, I’m back there again. I’m amazed that the bottle is still potent with that sharp vitamin smell of childhood nirvana!

Here’s a photo of a box and bottle along with a animation cel from the TV commercial(does anyone have the commercial?) and a magazine ad with Vincent Price. These are from my collection.

The next set of photos come from the collection of Dan Goodsell.

This magazine ad comes from Allen with the very popular flickr photostream Roadsidepictures.

The Bristol-Myers Company produced Monster Vitamins between the years 1972 to 1978. I did find the patents for the shapes of the vitamins with artwork for each monster vitamin. The links are below.
Patent 01
Patent 02
Patent 03
Patent 04
Patent 05
Patent 06
Patent 07