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Happy Halloween everybody! Let’s see if you remember this one! A young criminology student and inventor takes the night watchman shift at the local wax museum so he can go to school during the day. One of his inventions (a crime computer) accidentally wakes up 3 of the creatures from the Legendary Monsters exhibit bringing them to life along with their memories of past misdeeds! But now they feel guilty about all the people they used to disembowel and wish to make amends! So they team up to fight crime… MONSTER STYLE! In this Halloween 2023 special episode of the Dandy Fun House, get ready to get scary crime-fighting funky with… THE MONSTER SQUAD! Let’s step into the Fun House!
Hello and welcome to the 2023 Halloween Special Edition of the Dandy Fun House video show, podcast and blog! This is where we wolf down the best in retro pop culture, toys and games and all the fun stuff. I’m your host Neil Dandy and in this episode, we’re going to open the coffin lid (start tv show intro) on a Saturday morning tv show from the mid-70s that ran for less than a year but still managed to make it’s bite marks on tv pop culture history and to be Frank… should have gotten more attention than it did. I’m talking about… THE MONSTER SQUAD!
The Monster Squad was a Saturday morning tv series produced by D’Angeleo-Bullock-Allen Productions that aired on NBC from September 11, 1976 to September 3, 1977 and starred a young Fred Grandy who later went on to greater tv pop-culture fame playing the role of Gopher on The LOVE BOAT!
Fred played a criminology student named Walt who took a night watchman job at Fred’s Wax Museum. There wasn’t a whole lot to do hanging out all night in a wax museum, so Walt passed the time tinkering with his invention, the “crime computer” which he kept stashed away inside a stone sarcophagus next to the legendary monsters exhibit.
Well… When Walt plugged his crime computer in for the first time, oscillating vibrations unwittingly brought the wax statues of Dracula, Wolfman and Frankenstein’s Monster to life!
Upon their awakening, the monsters found themselves filled with remorse for all the blood sucking, skull crushing and peeing on fire hydrants they were remembering from their past lives and had a desire to right their wrongs with humanity, so they teamed up with Walt and his crime computer to become supermonster crimefighters and take on supervillians all over town.
Not sure what it was about this particular town that attracted all the evil weirdos of crime but I’m guessing they weren’t here in the South where I’m located. Lock and load my friends!
Basically the monsters would go out and fight crime while Gopher err… I mean Walt would hang back in the cushy comforts of the wax museum and monitor everything from the crime computer. Every once in a while Walt would get off his tukus and come help his monster friends in the final climactic battle and rescue them from their screw-ups when he had to.
The Monsters were played by:
Henry Polic II as Dracula: Henry’s best known for his portrayal of Jerry Silver on the tv show Webster.
Wolfman or Bruce W. Wolf was played by: character actor Buck Kartalian
Frank N. Stein was played by: an actor named Michael Lane.
SCARY FUN FACT! An interesting note about Buck Kartalian and Michael Lane. They both came from the world of professional wrestling which I’m sure came in handy for the agility needed in action scenes!
MONSTER SUPER POWERS: Franky had superstrength. Wolfie could climb walls and fight like a rabid dog (he also curled up on rugs and had a crush on Lassie) and Drac could… umm… turn into a bat??? Yep that’s pretty much it!
Of course they had their own decked out Monster Van with wall-to-wall carpeting because you know… It was the 70s baby! And they all wore utility belts because… Batman.
The show actually looked and felt a lot like the Batman tv series, or maybe the discount store version of the Batman tv series with a lot of the visual and scriptual elements mainly because the creator, Stanley Ralph Ross had been one of the head writers on Batman. But it had almost zero star power.
They did bring in the legndary Catwoman Julie Newmar (meow) for one episode to play the supervillianess, “Ultra Witch.” Her evil plot was to turn the entire world’s milk sour and she used a ray gun to turn the monsters into cardboard cutouts. In the end, she stupidly fires the ray gun into a mirror and turns herself into a cardboard cutout. There’s Darwinism in action for ya!
They also brought in Alice Ghostly, best known as Esmeralda the housekeeper on Bewitched to play a villainess named Queen Bee who conducts an enormous swarm of killer bees in a plot to take over the world. Other than that, the special guest actors and actresses were very much B and C list.
SCARY FUN FACT! The title of every episode of the Monster Squad was also the name of the super villain!
TRUCKER HANDLES! Since it was the 70s Convoy was a bit hit and the CB radio fad was all the rage, of course they all had to have trucker handles! Walt back at the museum was “Chamber of Horrors”, Drac was “Nightflyer”, Frank was “Green Machine” and Wolfie was “Furball.”
You know, I can’t imagine why this series didn’t last longer than it did!
HOME VIDEO RELEASE: Although it lasted just under one year, it DID finally receive a modicum of respect when in 2009 Monster Squad: The Complete Series was released on home video. May I also add that there was a movie released in 1987 called THE MONSTER SQUAD which has absolutely no relation to the tv series.
WHAT HAPPENED TO FRED GRANDY? Fred Grandy went on of course to earn pop culture legend status playing the role of Gopher on the iconic tv series The LOVE BOAT and later went on to serve four terms in the US House of Representatives for the great state of Iowa serving on the Ways and Means Committee, Agriculture, Standards of Official Conduct, Education and the Workforce. He also won EIGHT Watchdog of the Treasury awards! Go Go Gopher!
From 1995 – 2000 he was President of Goodwill Industries International and later became a commentator for NPR! These days he spends a great deal of time contributing to think tanks for the purpose of combating domestic terrorism.
A big BIG Dandy Fun House Halloween Special salute to you sir, Mr. Fred Grandy! Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our country, but more importantly, pop culture history!
Umm… ok… there you go! THE MONSTER SQUAD! Campy and goofy as all get out, but still a lot of fun and perfect for a Halloween regurgitation here on the Dandy Fun House! In my opinion, every bit as good as anything Sid and Marty Krofft ever made. That oughta fire up the comments board!
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Alright my Halloweiner Dogs, that about Mummy-Wraps up this Halloween 2023 edition of the Dandy Fun House. Don’t be a turkey. Come back next month for the Thanksgiving episode right here at the Dandy Fun House where everything is always… FUN AND DANDY!