A simple, striking ad for a Don Post Frankenstein mask offered by Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, circa 1964.
For all its success, publisher James Warren couldn’t get advertising agencies interested in his monster movie magazine. Famous Monsters was still too small to compete with the monthly combined sales figures of countless comic book titles, which is where all the young teen-oriented ads for bicycles, cereal, candy and air rifles ended up.
Warren, ever innovative and resolutely independent, came up with an original, in house solution. He set up a mail order service and turned his back pages into a catalog for, well, stuff. You could send away for Aurora monster kits and monster-related paperbacks, 8MM movie clips and spoken word records. You could order rubber bats, inflatable snakes, Venus fly trap plants (“actually eats insects and bits of meat!”), skull-shaped ceramic mugs, and a whistle sold as a “Werewolf Siren”. Binoculars were called “Phantom Opera Glasses”. You could also order a parachute, a miniature radio “powerful enough to pick up local station broadcasts”, a hundred magnets for one dollar, and even a live monkey. Best of all were the rubber monster masks.
A staple of novelty, joke and costume shops, the masks included a Mummy, a Vampira-like Girl Vampire, The Screaming Skull, Shock Monster, a Gorilla and The Horrible Melting Man, but the perennial best-seller by far was the classic Frankenstein Monster mask available as a regular “Full Face” mask for two dollars, or a “Super De-luxe” over-the-head version, for a (then) whopping $3.98.