Wednesday, April 24, 2024

FANTASTIC MONSTERS OF THE FILMS NO. 7 (PART 1)


FANTASTIC MONSTERS OF THE FILMS
Vol. 2 No. 1
1963 (No month)
Publisher: Black Shield Productions, Inc.
Publisher: Paul Blaisdell
Editor: Ron Haydock
Associate Editor: Jim Harmon
Research Editor: Bob Burns
Contributing Editor: Larry Byrd
Art and Production: Jiro Tomiyama
Circulation Manager: Jackie Blaisdell
Kidnapped Editor: Mad Mummy
Cover: Larry Byrd? (painted cover of Bela Lugosi as Ygor)
Pages: 60
Cover Price: 50 cents

"I never thought horror movies or monster movies could be harmful to the younger members of our society as long as the parents of the youngsters had the intelligence to teach them the difference between enjoying fantasy and living in reality. If I had, believe me, I would never had gotten involved with producing a magazine like Fantastic Monsters, which we knew from the beginning was going to be read mostly by kids." - Paul Blaisdell

When Bob Burns first brought over a pile of monster movie magazines to friend and Hollywood special effects man Paul Blaisdell to his house in Topanga Canyon, they didn't know what they were getting themselves into. After perusing the 'zines, Blaisdell declared: "Hell, we can do better than these guys". After a few more all-night discussions the decision was made and a new monster magazine was born, this time by professionals in the business of actually making monsters for the movies.

Despite this ending up being the last issue of FANTASTIC MONSTERS OF THE FILMS, Paul Blaisdell and Co. were definitely planning to continue their publishing venture as they solicited sales for the next issue on the contents page. What happened next was every publisher's nightmare.

Burns explained that the print quality had been getting worse with each issue, and then suddenly all communication was lost with their printer in Iowa, who was also their distributor. They found out later that there was a fire in the building and it destroyed everything, including thousands of dollars of irreplaceable film stills and other memorabilia that Burns had lent them. They further heard that the fire was suspicious and was likely an insurance scam.

Burns recalled:
"I hate to say it, but I really think we were being set up to take a fall from the beginning. If you look at the entire run of Fantastic Monsters, you'll notice that the printing gets worse and worse as time goes on. Paul and I couldn't understand it. What the heck was this guy doing out in Iowa? Paul would call him up and chew him out, but there was always some excuse. 'Oh, well, my printer is messed up, but don't worry. I'm going to have it fixed. The next issue will look a lot better.' But it never did."
This left Blaisdell and Burns devastated as they had invested all their savings in the venture. Not to say the enormity of the loss of the rare film collectibles. Unfortunately, Blaisdell had nothing going at the film studios and the productions started turning towards movies that didn't require his home-made special effects. He retreated to his Topanga Home and became somewhat of a hermit until his passing on 10 July 1983 at age 55. Upon his death, there was not a single obituary remembering him in the papers.


A set of issue #'s 1-7 in VF-NM condition was auctioned for only $218.50, but it was way back in 2006.

























2 comments:

  1. That's quite the cast of characters involved with this magazine. I didn't realize that Blaisdell's career had wrapped up so poorly for him. There's something weirdly comforting about a good monster magazine. I picked up a back issue of Scary Monsters just yesterday for a bargain price to read during my lunch. It was fine companion for some hush puppies.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jiro Tomiyama, the person named as Art and Production for this issue was hired by the printer to do the work and Paul and Bob didn't even know about it until they received the printed copies! Too bad they didn't act on their suspicions earlier.

    ReplyDelete

Greetings, monster lover! Thank you for leaving a comment at WORLD OF MONSTERS!.

NOTICE! Comments containing self-promotion, advertising or hyperlinks that takes readers off this page will be deleted.