The influence of the 1966 Batman series is very noticeable. The series stars Fred Grandy (who would later become famous for his role as Gopher in The Love Boat) as Walt, a criminology student working as a night watchman in a wax museum. To pass the time, Walt built a "Crime Computer" in a sarcophagus-style mummy case near an exhibit of legendary monsters. When Walt plugged in his Crime Computer, "oscillating vibrations" brought to life the wax statues of Dracula (Henry Polic II), the Wolfman (Buck Kartalian) who here was named "Bruce W. Wolf" (with one episode revealing that the "W" stood for "Were"), and Frankenstein's monster (Michael Lane) who was referred to as "Frank N. Stein" in the credits.
The monsters, wanting to make up for the misdeeds of their pasts, became superhero crimefighters who used their unique abilities to challenge and defeat various supervillains. In most episodes, Walt would send the monsters out to investigate crimes and fight the villains while monitoring the activities from the wax museum via the Crime Computer, presumably because his job required him to be at the museum at all times. However, Walt would sometimes join the climatic battle with his comrades in some episodes.
The Squad had their own customized Monster Van, and each monster had a "utility belt" with a communicator device used to keep in touch with Walt, who had apparently created them for the monsters to use.
Only 13 episodes were produced and the show was not renewed for the 1977 season, so not a great deal of merchandising was produced and the majority of it is difficult to find. Here is everything I know about Monster Squad toys. If you have something I don't (and I'm speaking directly to you guy who outbids me all the time) please send me an email, I'd love to keep this gallery thriving:
The 1976 Ideal Toys catalog showed not only a series of Monster Squad figures but also the kids from C.A.P.E.R line, everything on this page seems to be made of retooled pieces from the Evel Knievel line. I would have killed for a set of Monster Squad figures and their groovy van. Sadly, this was not produced most likely due to buyer disinterest.
Close up (best I can get) of the Card artwork for the proposed figures, it's killer
One thing that Ideal did get to toy stores was this terrific replica of the Monster Squad van from the "MIghty Mo" line of toy cars, it's perfect. To my chagrin however, it's also rare and desirable. I imagine this came packaged but I didn't even know it existed until about three weeks ago....
Shannon sent me this shot of a carded Monster Squad van, the version doesn't have the show stickers on it which is odd.
The back of the card shows the Monster Squad van and the van from Kids from C.A.P.E.R on it.
A company called Carlin manufactured these 2 inch tall bendies of the Monster Squad as "Chained Monsters". The dsigns are clearly influenced by the show as all of the characters have Monster band radios. Maybe they changed their minds after the show got cancelled? I'm not sure what the story is but I LOVE these figures.
Thanks to a great trade at the Mego forums, I managed to find not only a Bruce W. Wolf bendy figure.
but a carded Dracula as well, he's the most off model of the bunch but I don't have the heart to take him off the card. These were made by Carlin Playthings, who made them into weird little necklaces and even though they don't have the license, it's obivous who they're supposed to be.
The Monster Squad blow dart game was in the GLJ toys catalog but it's not known if it ever saw production.
This is the sell sheet for the GLJ toys Frank bop bag, one of the few toys I know for certain did get produced. I have never seen one in the secondary market and wow, I've been looking.
The Fran N Stein punching bag was in several department store catalogs as can be evidenced here, I'd rather punch John Travolta.
Rand McNally published a Monster Squad coloring book in '76 and it's actually pretty good, I did a little review of it on the blog
This shot from the 1978 Collegeville Costume Catalog showcases children's costume of Bruce W. Wolf and Dracula but doesn't show a Frank, perhaps he was the better seller. By 1979, all Collegeville was offering was Dracula. .
Here is a close up of the child's Bruce costume.
Boxed Collegeville Monster Squad costumes, not many of these pop up.
Here is an adult version of the Dracula Costume also from Collegeville
The adult Dracula is just the kid's mask with a cape instead of a smock.
I also finally added a kid's Dracula costume to the collection, I found the adult one a few times but never this. Sadly this example smells like it's been dwelling in a damp basement filled with kitty litter and old socks. It was discordant even trying to take this photo....
Here is a rare Puzzle from HG Toys, it's kind of funny that Julie Newmar gets almost the entire thing considering she's in one episode.
The most common piece of merchandise is the "The Monster Squad" board game by Milton Bradley. MB must have printed a billion of these! This is extremely easy to find on the collector market, one or two of them surface on Ebay every week..
While the game itself is somewhat lame and has no cool figural pieces or card artwork, the board itself is awesome! Several episodes are depicted including the episode with Geoffrey Lewis as "The Skull".
This figure of Bruce isn't real, it's a custom I made. As a kid, I kept hoping for Mego Monster Squad figures so I did some wish fufillment. I plan to do the others but gosh I'm slow at it.
Two years after Bruce I finished Frank, he was a challenge to my limited abilities, I plan to finish Drac before the year's end.
Of course, the series is now available on DVD (click here to buy). I did my own review of it when it came out, you can check it out here.