Not long ago, my friend Eric Millen, of Massive Fantastic, pointed out a simple fact that had never occurred to me: namely that the product he considers one of the best I ever did is not included on my website. Eric was referring to the "Creatures" I began in 1993. Later that year, these mini monsters were adopted by Kenner. Thanks to Kenner's sponsorship of one work-intensive Christmas time, they became “The Pets of Frankenstein.”
From there, these newly minted monsters embarked on a long journey that led to their, eventually, being picked up and introduced by Mattel, at Toy Fair 1995. Before the show was over, these courageous critters teamed up with Nickelodeon to become equal partners in Mattel’s, “Aaahh!!! Real Monsters” action figure line. Eric suggested that I should add their story to my website.
His comments got me thinking. Up till now, I have never seen the need or rationale to dedicate a webpage to the rambling saga of my curious two year journey on the Road to Aaahh! Real Monsters. The reason for this was twofold:
First of all, my friend Jonathan Wojcik has already created an excellent article called, “Aaahh! Real Monsters and Mel Birnkrant’s Creatures” on his popular website: Bogleech.com. His article is extremely well done, and covers the story nicely. It is short, sweet, and well-illustrated. I particularly like the way he compares the original creatures to the toys that Mattel turned them into. On the other hand, Jonathan’s website has grown so large that the article about Aaahh!!! Real Monsters has become almost impossible to find there. So, even if, for no other reason, this new series of web pages would supply a link that zeros in, directly to his article!
The second reason that I am finally undertaking this webpage is because I recently found a number of obscure artifacts that I didn’t know I had. It has always annoyed me that, seemingly, so little remained of the herculean effort that went into the creation of the creatures that ended up as secondary characters in Mattel’s Aaahh!!! Real Monsters line of action figures. Thanks to carnivorous Mattel, who gobbled them up, the ten original prototypes and the full color presentation boards are gone forever. Therefore, there was nothing left to show, apart from two videos that have been posted on You Tube, for several years now.
At least, that’s what I thought, until my recent quest for evidence of the many lost toys I made, throughout my long career in the toy industry began to turn up treasures. Among the curiosities I discovered that relate to Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, are all of the thirty original black and white pencil drawings that became the presentation boards, later seen in color, on the first video. There is also a variety of photographs that I shot and forgot, while I was sculpting the working prototypes for Kenner. These are accompanied by the notes and amended drawings from one of Kenner’s art directors that have never been seen by anyone, before.
Furthermore, few people know that Galoob held this concept, as well, for several months in 1994. During that time, they made a video to market test the line. I also found that rare, but uninspired video.
The event that finally convinced me to do this website came about quite accidentally. Amid the panic of a suddenly leaking ceiling in a thunderstorm, I was madly moving boxes to clear the torrents of cascading water, when I came across a package that I received many years ago, and never opened. Inside it, to my astonishment, was a handful of handmade samples of monsters from the Mattel showroom. These, I will share with you as well.
And for the fans of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters I have year one of Mattel’s product line, mint on their original cards. There is also some other offbeat stuff, including the soft dolls that few realized I helped to design. Last of all, I happen to have the top secret drawings that disclose what Mattel had in mind for their second year line if Aaahh!!! Real Monsters had survived. Seeing that Mattel would never so much as give my partners and I a catalogue, when they were featuring items of mine in their line, the vengeful little monster in me feels no compunction, sharing these twenty year old secrets with you, now.
This site is not for everyone. Most mortals will find it boring. It is really just for monster aficionados, and those unique few individuals who harbor a curiosity about the inner workings of the toy industry. And, last of all, it is for diehard Aaahh!!! Real Monster fans, if, by chance, there are any!
”Creatures” and “The Pets of Frankenstein” and all drawings pertaining to them are Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT and KISCOM.
“Aahh! Real Monsters” are copyright 1995 Nickelodeon. All Rights Reserved. NICKELODEON, Real Monsters and all related title, logos, and characters are trademarks owned and licensed by Nickelodeon.
Characters and storyline created by Klasky-Cuspo Inc. Photography and writing on this website are Copyright Mel Birnkrant.