Category Archives: childhood

My Five Favorite Monsters from Childhood

Oh what a monthit’s been here on the blog with a slew of great contributions fromauthors and bloggers. Look, if you haven’t had a chance to pore overthe Monster Movie Marathon guest posts, I urge you to do so becauseeverybody did a fantastic job. So many aspects of monster movies werecovered, and monsters in general, and because of that I kind of feellike I should apologize for taking the tone to a kindergarten level.But it is my blog after all, so if I want to reminisce aboutmy childhood some more, I will.
I didn’t become abig fan of monsters until probably my teen years, but the seed wassewn way back when I was a little boy. Looking back there were a slewof monsters I saw in movies and on television–not to mention thechildren’s books–so I thought I’d offer up a fave five list of myfavorite monsters from childhood. Don’t tell me there aren’t at leasta couple from your childhood too, that you hold dear.
5) Gizmo(Gremlins): I wasprobably ten years old when I first saw Gremlinsand lemme tell ya, when those cuddly critters ate after midnight andmetamorphosed they freaked me right out of my own skin. I think JimHenson’s Workshop worked on the character design for these guys(correct me if I’m wrong). In any case, Gizmo was absolutelyadorable. I mean come on, don’t tell me you didn’t want one just likehim when you were a kid. Sure, they were higher maintenance than aprize poodle, but what dog could compete with such a cute littleface.
Andif you consider Gremlins2 the cuteness factoronly skyrockets. Remember the scene where he straps on the redbandana like Rambo and starts fashioning his own bow and arrows.Effin’ sweet. Yes, the movie was kind of crap–but in a good way.
4) Beast Man (He-Manand the Masters of the Universe):When I comes across the occasional episode of He-Manwhile channel surfing, Ihave a hard time figuring out just what the heck I loved so muchabout that show. The animation was recycled to a ridiculous degree,the plots were utterly silly, and talk about an unrealistic settingof the bar for a boy with body image issues. The entire male cast ofthis show had to be on some magical form of steroids.
Anyway,one of the many thugs under Skeletor’s employ was Beast. He was anorange, musclebound halfwit that got thrown around by He-Man probablymore than any other villain–maybe Lockjaw took more thumpings perepisode, but it’d be a close call. Still, the character design wasgreat, and despite being an ineffectual villain the guy struck animposing image when on screen. Of course, he’d open his mouth and theintimidation factor went out the window, but the same could be saidfor every characteron that show. I have a soft spot for the orange galoot though, so Ihad to put him on the list.
3) The TazmanianDevil (Looney Tunes): Lessmonster than marsupial perhaps, but I say the adorable holy terrorcounts so he’s on the list. He’s dumb as a post with sharp claw andteeth, and a ravenous appetite for destruction. Honestly, Daffy Duckhas long been my favorite WB cartoon character, but I’ve got a softspot for Taz. He was one of the villains that I rooted for as achild. Him and Wile E. Coyote.
My memory is a bit foggy, but I don’t think there were many vignettesmade with Taz. I should hit YouTube and see what I can find. Lordknows there are a ton of Coyote sketches. But they’d have to be fromthe early era of WB for me to enjoy them. All the cartoons they didafter 1960 really lost their appeal. It’s those ones from the 40s and50s that are really special to me, in terms of animation style andtone. Sigh, now I really need to go find a Tazmanian Devil cartoon.
2) The Wolfman(Hilarious House of Frightenstein) -I’m not sure if anyone outside of Canada even got this show. Maybe acouple New England stations. Anyway, this was one of my absolutefavorite kids shows when I was growing up. Hosted by VincentPrice–yes, THE Vincent Price–it was basically a sketch comedy andvariety show. There was Dracula, Igor, Frankenstein, the Witch, and afew other zany characters. The vast majority of which were played byone man. But the character I dug the most was the Wolfman
I don’t know who was doing the make-up for this show, but the Wolfmanwas one of the most convincing jobs on the show. And for a campyCanadian children’s show that’s a remarkable achievement. The Wolfmanwas the house DJ of sorts, spitting out a whole lot of radio discjockey cliches with some punny monster gags, then he’d play a classicrock song. Maybe there was some disco thrown in–it was an oldshow–but I’ve blocked those memories out. Throw in a psychedelicbackdrop as he and Igor danced to the songs, and the sketch was justmesmerizing for a kid like me.
1) Super Grover(Sesame Street): I couldhave populated this entire list with Jim Henson’s Muppets, but Iforced myself to keep it to one. Just about everything I loved aboutSesame Streethad something to do with monsters. There was the two-headed monsterwho fought with itself, the aliens who beamed into homes and marveledover household objects, and Cookie Monster of course. Picking onethat was a constant joy to watch though, I gotta go with Grover. Notjust Grover. SuperGrover!
Groverhad to be the most artless andlikablecharacters on SesameStreet.He was a dimwit and a clutz, but so genuine a personality it wasimpossible not to smile when he was on TV. The little sketches whereGrover talked to little kids were surreal in that I could easilysuspend disbelief, ignoring it was just some guy with a hand puppet.That was Jim Henson’s magic, though. Those Muppets, more often thannot, felt as real as the people on the show. So when Grover put on ared cape and a steel helmet to become Super Grover, my eyes wereglued to the screen.
Well, there’s my list. I’m interested to know what you’re list mightlook like, so feel free to leave a comment and share what yourfavorite monsters were when you were a little kid.

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Filed under childhood, fave five, Gremlins, He-Man, Hilarious House of Frankenstein, monster movie marathon, monsters, Sesame Street, Taz