According to the credits in the back of this magazine (written by J.W) “A particular debt is owed to Phyllis Farkas, whose haircut inspired the entire project.” I’ve no idea what that means…………….. although she is listed as Managing Editor in later issues?

FMOF cover

The cover features Marion Moore and James Warren himself. In case you were wondering, he is the one on the right!

Whatever it was that prompted James Warren to start “Famous Monsters of Filmland”, it was an instant hit. 150000 copies were issued in February 1958 and as they soon sold out a further 117305 of that same first issue were printed in May 1958. Actually, almost certainly what prompted publication of FMOF was the late-50s craze for 1930s/1940s/1950s horror movies that had suddenly become available (for the first time) for TV stations to show late at night, often introduced by gruesome or glamorous “hosts”. Cheap and plentiful availability of still photos from the film studios helped too! Oddly enough, this magazine was initially intended to be a one-shot. However when the second print run had sold enough copies the decision was made to produce further issues and so No 2 was published in the autumn of 1958.

I bought my copy of the first edition second hand in the 1960s and somehow it has survived various moves/clearouts until this day. I always wanted to read the MAD wannabe magazine “Humbug” that I only knew existed thanks to this article in FMOF No1 but I never came across any of the 11 issues (published in 1957/1958). I guess even Thorpe and Porter didn’t import those! And I can’t really justify spending the 51 squids being asked for the book that now collects them all together.

Humbug

Humbug 2

PS: “Famous Monsters of Filmland” continued until 1983 when all the Warren magazines finished. After a couple of false starts the title was resurrected by others in 2010.

marvel mini books

joke* I’ve set up a new business selling books that are only one inch high. But the margins are tiny.*joke

Millie the Model Mini Book

Millie

Incredible Hulk Marvel Mini Book

Hulk

To the best of my knowledge Marvel Mini Books were only available via Gumball/Bubblegum vending machines in 1966 and 1967. At least, that’s where I got mine from. There were six different titles available. Thor, Spider-man, Captain America, Sgt Fury (see earlier posts) along with The Incredible Hulk and Millie the Model. Each book was available in six different colours, meaning that for completists to collect the set they’d have to track down 36 items !?!

In Marvel comics dated June 1966 Stan Lee said that in April 1966 (?!?) over TEN MILLION of these smallest-ever comicbooks would be issued.

June 66

PS: In 1965 these were some of the previous mini books available. Presumably they contained jokes. “Silly Willies” must have been a joke, right ?!?

willies

mini books

Mono

May 1, 2015

Back

I’ve been cranking up the old (1962) Cossor open reel recorder. It really fills the house with sound in that boomy basey monowy (are those words?) way that an mp3 player (even one made by Neil Young) just never will.

Cossor CR1605

The first tape I listened to features Dave Nice from the summer of 1969. I must have miscalculated as the tape runs out after 48 minutes and misses the top three. Perhaps they are on the other side?

Dave

Fantastic Tales

May 1, 2015

Fantastic Tales 8

I’m puzzled. Did issue 10 have the same contents as issue 8 ?!?

8

10

Fantastic Tales 10

Mr District Attorney

May 1, 2015

Mr District Attorney 22

This began as a Radio show in 1939 which ran until the early 1950s. It transferred to TV for a couple of years. The DC comic was published from 1948 until 1959. This British reprint series from Thorpe and Porter lasted at least 23 issues. Oddly, many of the comics in this series appear to have the issue numbers drawn by hand ?!? 

You can listen to a few Radio episodes thanks to the Internet Archive here.

Never forever

May 1, 2015

In the 1970s and 1980s there were loads of pre-recorded cassette tapes (and quite often LPs as well) available that consisted of compilations of hit pop songs from prior years/decades. K-Tel and Ronco usually did the right thing and used the original recordings. More unscrupulous companies would emblazen “Hits by the original artists” across the fronts. What they neglected to say was that, yes, the hits might have been technically by the original artists, but they were often inferior re-recordings of the hits made years later by groups who may or may not at that time consist of all or even any of the original line-up. Sometimes they were live recordings of these “hits”. Now this may have been fine if you were a completist/collector of the bands in question. Mostly I just felt that I’d been ripped off.

In the autumn of 1967 there was a hit that became massively popular in the States and went on to become a staple on the multitude of oldies radio stations. So much so that until quite recently it was claimed to be the second most played song on american radio. Written by the Adrissis and sung by a middle-of-the-road band the tune was catchy enough to be a hit again a few times in the future by other, lesser bands and to be covered over the following decades (often spectacularly) by a wide spectrum of artistes.

A few (or many?) years after the hit, said band re-recorded the tune for a cheap-as-chips cassette label. Perhaps they’d had more practice by then. Perhaps the guy playing the electric piano was better. Perhaps its just my cloth ears. I dunno. But surprise, surprise this “version” is far far better than the original single (in my humble opinion).

477 years to go

May 1, 2015

By the late 1980s the once-mighty Fleetway publications had scaled back production. Their choice of boy’s comics had reduced to 2000AD, Buster, Eagle, Roy of the Rovers, Mask and Oink. But don’t take that as gospel. Oh, I think there were still a few “Best Of” monthly reprint comics and perhaps there might have been a couple more I’ve forgotten about !?!

But sometimes they did try new ideas. Not to be confused with DC’s Wildcat or Wildstorm’s W.I.L.D.C.A.T.S., Fleetway’s “Wildcat” was an extremely short-lived fortnightly comic which was published between October 1988 and March 1989. Although originally apparently aimed at a slighter younger readership than “2000AD”, I didn’t really see much difference between the two. They probably never thought to mention to the artists what the age of readers were expected to be.

cover

A sampler comic (an early example of an issue zero or an issue minus one !?!) had been released before the actual first issue which was found within a number of other Fleetway titles. This explained how, in similar scenes to those with Superman’s father on Krypton, the Supreme Council of 2488 didn’t believe Earth was about to be destroyed by fast-approaching radioactive meteorites in a few years time. So an odd team consisting of Turbo Jones, Loner, Joe Alien (with his detachable brain) and the thousand-year-old Kitten Magee build a spaceship and leave doomed Earth for what turns out to be a very dangerous alien planet.

Kitten Magee

Kitten Vol 1

Kitten Vol 2

After twelve issues “Wildcat” amalgamated with “Eagle and Mask” (formerly known as “Eagle and Scream”, “Eagle and Tiger”, “Eagle and Battle”) which now became “Eagle and Wildcat”. For the next six months some of the “Wildcat” characters would continue their adventures. There was evidently quite an inventory of art all ready to go.