From the 1950s-1990s, manufacturing and selling TV sitcom and film advertising merchandise (e.g., household wares, toys, ephemera) was big business. Many years later, those products have become quite collectible and valuable.
Hugely admired by many, were TV shows, such as Gunsmoke, Star Trek, Batman, Superman and any pop culture sitcom. So much so, that production lines had a hard time keeping up with department store orders.
One of the most beloved TV sitcoms from 1964-1966 was the kooky and spooky weekly show called The Munsters.
Today, one of the most popular collecting trends among baby-boomers and the Generation X and Y groups; is collecting vintage, and anniversary- Munstermania-related items. The baby-boomers and Golden Age group, were the first generations to view “The Munsters” during the sitcom’s premier years, but the groups from Generation X, Y and Z, now have the opportunity to see The Munsters thanks to reruns of the original TV series.
A bit of “Munsters” History
Every week-from 1964-1966- me and my siblings turned on the TV at 7:30 p.m. to watch the unforgettable antics of -the Munster family on CBS. Although, the sitcom “The Munsters” aired using black and white film, not color, it didn’t seem to matter; we cherished each and every episode. (Speaking of black and white film visual affects: did you know the character-Herman Munster-had to have his skin painted violet for each episode? Additionally, the actor, Fred Gwynne had to add an extra 50- pounds of padding to his body to achieve the huge, monsterous and lovable-Herman Munster.
The Munsters featured the usual scary creatures, but in a fun, family-oriented, TV series…We could all enjoy being a bit scared, but without having nightmares.
The Munsters family resided in an eerie and delipidated Victorian Mansion located at 1313 Mockingbird Lane in the small, make-believe suburban town of Mockingbird Heights, California.
Munster Trivia: Did you know? The dismal Munster mansion, was also used in several other Hollywood films and TV shows, such as-The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Leave it To Beaver, and The Burbs.
The Munster family members included-an aging vampire a.k.a. “Gramdpa. ( In 1989, I was lucky enough to meet Gramdpa (Mr. Al Lewis). at a local video store in Omaha, Ne, and get his autographed photo.) Also, the show featued, Grampa’s daughter Lily- who was a very old, but beautiful, vampirette. She was married to a Frankenstein-type monster named Herman Munster.
Lily and Herman’s ‘young and only’ son-Eddie-was a werewolf. During episodes of The Munsters, Eddie carries his favorite stuffed toy…”Woof Woof”, and the Munsters also own a pet dragon named-Spot. Yet…lets not forget to mention the Munsters beautiful niece- Marilyn-who lives with the them on Mockingbird Lane. Her presence on the sitcom, brings some normality to the family; although her family considers her a misfit and unattractive in her appearance.
Sounds crazy right? Well, that’s exactly why we loved to view it every week.
Collecting scary stuff
Currently, there is a massive amount of fans who avidly collect TV and movie film memorabilia…especially anything considered scary and horror-related from the pop culture years.
Those old Hollywood horror flicks are avidly sought-after because they bring back awesome memories of days gone by for most of us. Admit it: We love the thrill of feeling scared (within reason). Whether we were fond of a particular scary monster film we viewed via TV, theatre, or at the local Drive-In- that memory stays with us forever. Thus, we desire to covet anything that helps us hold on to those memories.
Believe or not: Those spooky, nostalgic items can sell for thousands of dollars. Recently, while scanning through eBay auctions, I found a 1960 Bella Lugosi, Dracula poster with a Buy-It-Now option for $30,000…Yowza!
Since I personally love to watch The Munsters reruns; I’ve put together this list of some of the most coveted and valuable manufactured items from the TV series. (Note prices are based on condition, rarity and authenticity/originality.)
Other high-value, Munster-related collectibles to watch for:
- 1964 Leaf Munster trading cards-sets can run in the hundreds
- ’60s Munsters vinyl record album-$100 range
- Sawyer’s View-master 3 D Munster reel sets B-481-$75-$125 range
- 1965 Monster World Magazine with Munsters’ cover-$100 range
- Mattel’s Ken and Barbie Dolls (Munsters) Gift Set-NRFB-value-$400
- ’60s Munsters Masquerade Game-$100-$600
- ’60s AMT model kits for the “Drag-u-la” and “Munster Koach” 13″ cars-$100-$400
The Munster’s Legacy goes on
Today, you can visit (only by special appointment or planned event) a replicated Munster Mansion located in Waxahachie. TX.
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Mckee loved the Munsters so much, that they decided to copy the design of the Munster mansion from 1313 Mockingbird Lane-inside and out. They spent over a year recreating the mansion. In the past, Al Lewis, Butch Patrick (Eddie) and Pat Priest (Marilyn, in the original sitcom) have been known to show up at the Halloween events held at the mansion.
I leave you now with this quote by Herman Munster-