With Halloween nearly upon us I thought it would be a great time to share another vintage figure from my Universal Monsters collection. I’m a huge fan of these classic horror movies produced by Universal Studios during the 1930s, movies which turned actors such as Bela Lugosi (Dracula), Lon Chaney, Jr. (The Wolf Man) and Boris Karloff (The Mummy and Frankenstein), into legendary Hollywood figures. Whilst the Remco Mini Monsters are the focus of my movie collection, I can never resist buying just about any action figure with a Universal Monsters theme, even if I don’t necessarily recognise the toy line. In fact, when I found this 4 ½ inch Frankenstein’s Monster action figure recently in a charity shop I could find no copyright information, COO or date of manufacture stamped anywhere on the figure. I did, however, have an inkling as to how to identify him.
Some years ago I found a similar Wolf Man figure known as “Midnight Wolf” produced by German toy manufacturer Simba. It was issued as part of its Monster – Vampire line in 1999, a series which comes dangerously close to being seen as “bootleg”, with some thinly veiled character names such as “Bloody Mummy” (The Mummy) , “Killing Beast” (Hunchback of Notre Dame), “King of Vampires” (Dracula), the previously mentioned “Midnight Wolf”, and our very own “Green Frankie” (Frankenstein) here, all inspired by the Universal Monster movies. There was also, rather bizarrely, an odd man out “Sharp Hand Joe”, clearly modelled on Freddy Kreuger!
The figures themselves are actually pretty good movie likenesses – probably because they have clearly been based on the 1960s Marx set of licensed Universal Monsters solid figurines. The upper body on this figure, and in the very particular way the arms are bent, is identical to that of the Marx figure – Simba have simply added some basic articulation to the shoulders, legs and head. The head is cast in a soft and rubbery material and pops out of the neck socket, and whilst he still has the stitched scar on his forehead, the mold has been simplified and there is no bolt through his neck. My “Green Frankie” is actually more of a “Blue Frankie” – his hands may still be green, but his head seems to have changed colour over time and is now a Smurf blue!
Knock-offs or not, these figures are still fun to have in any Monster Movie action figure collection!