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How many of us who grew up in the 1960s and early '70s were lured by those enticing ads promising everything from X-Ray vision to crown-wearing sea monkey pets for a mere couple of bucks? As a kid these ads were just about the coolest thing in the world to me, they stoked the flames for my nascent love of stupid crap (not to mention total junk). Given that I was also obsessed with all things Halloween, by far one of the most drool-worthy ads for me was this one: Gayle House Records “The Haunting” I still have this record along with my Archie club card (ay yi yi Archie club what was I thinking) also ordered the Monster S-I-Z-E Monsters. Please share your comic book ad buys, I know I’m not the only one;)
 

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Rutherford Manor Haunt
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Wow so cool, takes me back!! Sea monkeys were such a disappointment, I was so sure they would look like the the cartoon picture. We also bought Magic Rocks, sadly no pics, but if memory serves they also did not look like pic! Thanks for the post, such funny memories!
 

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black light queen
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i also got the sea monkeys ... even used their guarantee when the first batch died and they sent another packet ... i somehow had an eyepiece thingy from a microscope that i used to look at the brine shrimp

when i put the 2nd batch in water, i looked through my eye piece in maybe an hour and saw them ... their "propaganda" said something to the effect that the 2nd packet was required before they hatched ...

i didn't fall for the x-ray specs ... i also remember getting a joy buzzer and itching powder and this thing that when placed in your mouth was supposed to "throw your voice" ... never did use the itching powder on any friends, as i thought that would be to mean

did anyone besides me get a pair of "vampire teeth"? were they ever cheap ... the vampire teeth available now are so much better!

some of these things that i picked up i got from a local store so maybe weren't advertised in comic books ... speaking of comic books, did anyone else get the creepy & erie, i think the magazines were called? even at a young age i had the halloween bug, lol :)

amk
 

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"... they stoked the flames for my nascent love of stupid crap..." That is absolutely golden!
It's so me, too. Treasures from gumball machines, and wonders from the comic books.
My parent put their collective foot down about the $20 monkey (good call on their part) but I got "Four Live Chameleons" for $1. The were Anoles, of course. They arrived in a beer can, and only two of them were actually alive-- and those barely. My dad force-fed them for me (I was 5 yrs old and needed some help!) and they pulled through. One lived about 3 years, and the other made it over 12 years-- until I went away to work pre-college, and another family member was left in charge.

I also got the Sea Monkeys, but growing up among northern MN lakes and ponds, I'd kept scud and fairy shrimp so I had an idea of what to expect.
 

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Somewhat Eccentric
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I grew up in the 80s, but had my Dad's old horror comics to read. I remember ordering something--maybe the sea monkeys and was very disappointed when the envelope came back "Return to Sender." Then Mom showed me that the comics books were all old and that the company had probably went out of business.

So what were the monster size monsters? I remember seeing this ad too.

And yes, I grew up reading Creepy and Eerie, also Weird Tales and Tales From the Crypt. :)
 

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"... they stoked the flames for my nascent love of stupid crap..." That is absolutely golden!
It's so me, too. Treasures from gumball machines, and wonders from the comic books.
My parent put their collective foot down about the $20 monkey (good call on their part) but I got "Four Live Chameleons" for $1. The were Anoles, of course. They arrived in a beer can, and only two of them were actually alive-- and those barely. My dad force-fed them for me (I was 5 yrs old and needed some help!) and they pulled through. One lived about 3 years, and the other made it over 12 years-- until I went away to work pre-college, and another family member was left in charge.

I also got the Sea Monkeys, but growing up among northern MN lakes and ponds, I'd kept scud and fairy shrimp so I had an idea of what to expect.
I remember the monkeys! My uncle was going to order one, which I thought would have been the coolest thing ever. It must have died before it arrived because I don't remember him actually having one.
 

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Born in 1949, i had the entire 1950's landslide of goofy crap and fantastic ads and promises to dream about.
I got a "book" on Magic. It was tiny with I swear, type-setting from the American Civil War,tiny, hard to read and what seemed like an incredible amount of words and letters on one page!
The one "Magic" trick involved slitting a live chicken's neck to pretend to kill it and then bring it back to "Life"!?? (I never figured this one out? ) Maybe i was just a poor "Reader?"
Was the mail order place Johnson & Smith? I'm not quite sure of the name anymore.
The "Invisible Glasses weren't even "Glasses" at all,but just what looked like a piece of bird feather glued between two pieces of paper. Each paper had a hole in it, and the ribbing of the feather made a double-image of your hand , you didn't see any hand bones, and i knew they were there, under my skin!
A younger neighbor boy's Parents bought him the mail-order "playhouse" cardboard Army Tank for $4.98. (Not rain-proof)
I had a coloring book of all makes and kinds of "Cars". The book had pretty colorful stamps matching the cars to rip out,lick and put on the page next to the same un-colored drawing.
The last "Car" in the book was a futuristic "Flying" Car with a clear bubble-roof. the put the date for this car as : 195-- ?
"Where is my flying car!? They promised me a flying car by no later than 1959!.. Liars! "
By 1965 I had a 1959 Ford,it did have small fins,it tried to "Fly" .. some.

The "Thing" to put in your mouth to "Throw your Voice" was a small circular piece of thin leather? with a small,rounded piece of shiny metal attached to it. A Carnival was here in town and they were selling them for 50cents, after a brilliant public demonstration of how incredible they worked, but most kids could never duplicate the adult doing the demonstration... for some reason?
I could make it make sort of a whistling sound ,sometimes,but it tickled the roof of my mouth too much to keep doing even just that!
("The roof of your mouth,yes keep it there!".... was the main point of the instructor.)
Then get out of town quick before the complaints begin or some kid swallows it!
I did save my money, then successfully bought a life-sized Zachaurly? Poster printed on what seemed to be a movie screen, white with little sparklies in it,even though his image was just Black & White.
I had no idea who "Zach" was here in Illinois but he seemed like a Vampire or something, and attached to the outside basement door he scared ME more than any of the kids in my Parent's Basement Haunted House!
He kept scaring me for months as I would forget he was displayed there and I would catch him out of the corner of my eye,all LIFE-SIZED and everything!
A few short years ago i saw where these are still available for $25.00?
 

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This page from a 60's comic book is priceless! Look at the variety of wonderful stuff you can get!

70sadmonkey.jpg

See the ad for the hypno-coin at the bottom? I sent for one. It was about the size of a 50 cent piece, and it had a sort of swirling Twilight Zone pattern on it that moved when you twisted the coin back and forth. My friends all laughed when I tried to hypnotize them with it. The coolest thing on the page, though, is the ad for "1,000 Magic Tricks." When you sent for it you got....

vicklawstongiantsurprise.jpg

Vick Lawston's awesome magic catalog. It had every trick you can image, and I sent for a ton of them! I still have the 20th Century silk trick somewhere, and I used the principle of the Floating Fairy Glass to design and build Maxwell, the floating ghost, which I used decades in the Factory of Fears maze during Queen Mary's Shipwreck. I bought the x-ray specs. They were silly but fun. One of my somewhat dim pals at the time actually thought he was really seeing the bones in his hands and not just a double image. He begged me to let him borrow it so he could take it to school the next day and "use it on the girls!!!" He was so jazzed I almost didn't want to explain the gag to him. I also have that record, "The Haunting," and I'm totally blown away that anyone else had even heard of it, let alone bought one! If I knew how to post or share audio files, I'd definitely share it with you. You ain't heard nothin' till you hear the cry of the blood banshee!

Oh yeah, and as far as flying cars go, there was this one...

aircar.jpg

Believe it or not, the plans for this little science experiment are still available on line!
 

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Ahh, the Johnson Smith Company. Fine purveyors of stupid crap, though I'll note they came to my attention because they USED TO carry some pretty good Halloween stuff. Like 10 years ago. One of those catalogs you mysteriously get, then just as mysteriously stops showing up in the mailbox.
Sort of like the Oriental Trading Company, huh? Unless you order a ton of bouncy balls and other novelties, Oriental Trading disappears from the mailbox too. Johnson Smith Company is still in business though, did you know that? And they're still selling hand buzzers.
 

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I see the squirrel monkeys on that page were only $13.95! What a deal! The ad I remember had an actual photo of one sitting upright. I guess you pay for the advertising glitz ;)
 

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I know I've ordered the sea monkeys and a couple of other things that I just don't remember. Innocence has a way of making you believe that no one could be so cruel as to advertise something so grand and have it turn out to be a scam. So the sea monkeys were a great way to begin understanding that; you actually received something kinda cool, but at the same time, you realized everything was not as advertised.
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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I did save my money, then successfully bought a life-sized Zachaurly? Poster printed on what seemed to be a movie screen, white with little sparklies in it,even though his image was just Black & White.
I had no idea who "Zach" was here in Illinois but he seemed like a Vampire or something, and attached to the outside basement door he scared ME more than any of the kids in my Parent's Basement Haunted House!
He kept scaring me for months as I would forget he was displayed there and I would catch him out of the corner of my eye,all LIFE-SIZED and everything!
A few short years ago i saw where these are still available for $25.00?
Zacherle is still around! I had one of his albums & was terrified of the cover but yet I still couldn't look away. Johnson & Smith are still around too!

http://www.johnsonsmith.com/

For whoever asked about the life-sized monsters, they were "life-sized" posters of Frankenstein, Dracula or Zacherly or whoever. Here's a Zacherle one if you've got about $300.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/106252151/halloween-decorationvintage-rare-6-foot?ref=listing-shop-header-1


Here's Drac:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/106331736/halloween-decoration-dracula-6-feet-tall?ref=shop_home_active_3

In fact this Etsy shop has a lot of the ads too:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/thehouseofsecrets?ref=l2-shopheader-name
 

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Love this thread! :)

This looks like a really cool book discussing 150 of these mail order wonders. Probably going to have to order a copy now that I'm enjoying this walk down memory lane. Click on the "Look Inside" feature at Amazon to preview some of the content. Again, looks really cool and something I'm probably just gonna have to purchase:

Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff from Old Comic Book Ads! by Kirk Demarais
http://www.amazon.com/Mail-Order-Mysteries-Real-Stuff-Comic/dp/160887026X

Here's a fun blog post of lots of the items the author considered but did not include in his book:

THE "LOST" MAIL-ORDER MYSTERIES
http://secretfunspot.blogspot.com/2011/12/lost-mail-order-mysteries.html

Of particular interest to haunters might be the bleeding skull candle:
bleeding-skull-candle-1981.jpg

bleeding-skull-candle.jpg


I loved a lot of the S.S. Adams gags like the Snake Nut Can which are still being sold today, e.g.:
http://www.amazon.com/SS-Adams-Snake-Nut-Can/dp/B001M7YG5A
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I grew up in the 80s, but had my Dad's old horror comics to read. I remember ordering something--maybe the sea monkeys and was very disappointed when the envelope came back "Return to Sender." Then Mom showed me that the comics books were all old and that the company had probably went out of business.

So what were the monster size monsters? I remember seeing this ad too.

And yes, I grew up reading Creepy and Eerie, also Weird Tales and Tales From the Crypt. :)
Hahaha that’s great Lizzy, probably best it was returned. Well let me tell you about the monster size monsters, I got an envelope in the mail, I thought it was the instructions for my 7 feet tall monsters, because I just knew I would be receiving a big box next, well that envelope was not instructions it was my monsters, basically they were 7ft window clings :mad:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I remember the monkeys! My uncle was going to order one, which I thought would have been the coolest thing ever. It must have died before it arrived because I don't remember him actually having one.
Screaming Demons here's your Monkeys, :eek:
 

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