Certainly not rare, but falling somewhere between scarce and uncommon, THE OFFICIAL MUNSTERS MAGAZINE is one of those unique one-offs that defy any kind of reason for being other than to cash in on the subject du jour – in other words it was used exploitatively. Whatever the reason, it is, if not taken seriously, which I’m sure was also the original intent, kind of a fun read.
The first thing the reader may notice is the weird, pinkish, salmon-y hue of the paper it’s printed on. The reason is lost to me, but perhaps it was used to make it stand out amongst the other, pulp newsprint ‘zines that lined the shelves in those days. It may also be just because the printer had a deal on it. I know that some other mags of the day used different color sections occasionally, and I’ll show you an example of this closer to Halloween.
Each of The Munsters – Herman, Lily, Grandpa, and Eddie and Marilyn get their own short bio page. There’s a “Behind the Scenes” article and a story credited to Eando Binder, “The Munsters Go House Haunting”. There is also no shortage of fun stuff, like a Munsters family calendar, a join the Munsters Fan Club page, “Your Own Private Roadmap to Transylvania”, “Win a Phone Call From Herman or Lily Munster” – you get the idea – all done with a comic flair that often comes off quite well considering the absolutely dreadful rag that a funny monster mag could easily become. I suspect it is a result of the higher caliber of writers on the staff. Granted, it might be easier to write monster humor about a topic that was supposed to be humorous rather than trying to make something funny out of a monster that was originally intended to scare the bejeezus out of you.
My personal favorites in the magazine are “Herman Munster Picks His Favorite Horror Films”, in which Herman selects such classics as DRACULA, THE MUMMY, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and THE WEREWOLF OF LONDON and chats them up for a paragraph or two. The other is “On Tour with the Munsters Koach”, the story by George Barris as told to the editor of the magazine, Roger Elwood. Barris is widely known as the “King of Kustomizers”. Among his crown jewels are the Batmobile, Fireball 500, the Monkee-Mobile, and, of course, The Munsters Koach.
There are indications that THE OFFICIAL MUNSTERS MAGAZINE was planned as more than a one-shot. For instance, there was a statement about sending manuscripts for publication consideration in the indicia. Another clue is seen in the Munsters Koach article. At the bottom reads: “PART II – NEXT ISSUE THE FURTHER TRAVELS OF THE MUNSTERS KOACH”. Alas, the second issue never saw print.