AAAHH!!! REAL PRODUCTS
”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.
So, here we are! The rambling journey that began two years before, eventually led here. This is Mattel’s entire Aaahh!!! Real Monsters product line. On close examination, only three of the above creatures are “mine.” And even those are disguised by a thick coat of porcine lipstick. Along the bottom line, we see five more that were roughly based on my ideas. Roughly, indeed!
Who would ever dream that any of these brightly colored critters could trace their origins back to the creatures below? Which bunch do you prefer? Getting philosophical, I realize, wistfully, that the humble Pets of Frankenstein would have been in for a tough battle, a perilous uphill climb, with no TV. Nonetheless, if there was not a TV series to explain what those bizarre objects, above, were intended to be, would they have fared better on their own than my menagerie, below? Somehow, I don't think so!
I guess, if the truth be known, neither one of these collections of creatures was destined to set the world of toys on fire. As it turned out, the campy-fire, lit by Aaahh!!! Real Monsters flickered and died, before the year was over. The animated series lingered for three more seasons, on Nickelodeon TV , but Mattel never extended the toy line. So what you see on this page is all there was, everything that Mattel made.
The four main monsters: Krumm, Ickis, Oblina, and the Gromble lead the parade. In the tradition of my own creatures, Mattel tried to give them product features. Therefore, each one did something, from forced to clever, as the blurb on each package explains. Krumm, for instance “Spits his eyeballs out!" and his “Armpits really stink!" How lovely! The odor has worn off this example, after all these years, so has the thrill of being a part of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters!.
Next in line, are my three guys, colored arbitrarily. At one point in time “Scarfer,” as he was named, was carefully sculpted to be hairy. This nuance no longer shows, beneath a detail clogging coat of green. The realistic rendering on the package, designed to illustrate where his dinner exits, is a monsterpiece of warped perspective. “Sproink & Groink?” (who makes up these names?) look like they belong in baby’s nursery, all decked out, in powder blue and pink. They were called "Shplit" and "Shplat" in the catalogue.
And finally, we come to “Werfel,” formerly known as "Klimber." Someone actually trademarked these names. Painted Kelly green, he resembles a dill pickle!
Last of all, if I can stop laughing, we come to: “Kaluga,” “Haluga,” “Poomps,” “Splug,” and “Snarfel,”
who in the catalogue were called: "Ufwapo," "Sush-eye," "Choomps," and "Zoomps." ("Snarfel" wasn't in the catalogue). Thank God, Nickelodeon trademarked these names, before somebody scarfed them up! These unnervingly organic looking specimens bear little resemblance to the Pets Mattel purchased from KISCOM. The two that turn insideout are arguably a unique idea, and, in that respect, I earned my royalty. But the configurations are far from Mel-worthy. At least my character turned into a spider. I fail to see the logic of an eyeball becoming something that the package proclaims to be a squid. More repugnant, still, is Haluga, who’s “head changes from blue to guts and goo!” Pass the barf bag, please!
And then we come three that really didn’t need me. First we have Poomps, who looks like some sort of slug, snuggled in a pile of poop. Apparently, “Water jumps from his bumps!” That’s revolting! The Next is Splug who resembles a freshly ripped out tongue, oozing saliva.
And finally we have Snarfel who the package proclaims will “Blow his beak!” Blow his beak??? You gotta be kidding me!
Here are three flashlights that Klasky-Cuspo sent me. Mattel didn’t make these, but they might as well have.
Last of all, we come to the three dolls. I really like these. Krumm’s eyeballs are held in place by Velcro. If any kid still has this doll, I can’t believe the eyes aren’t lost by now. They should have been attached to either end of a piece of elastic, running up inside his arms, the way my mittens used to be in kindergarten.
All kidding aside, when all was said and done, I held out great hope for this strange line. I so much wanted it to succeed. I even watched the episodes of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters on TV. Feeling that I needed to keep abreast of the latest plot twists, in case any of the licensees, which, in the end, turned out to not be many, needed any help from me. The fact is, Mattel did request my input, later on, and you will see what I did on the next page.
Meanwhile, here is Eunice at Toys R Us, with yours truly behind the camera. We were both glowing with hope that our bills might soon be paid, and our fortune made! In spite of this spectacular, spare no expense motorized animated display, things didn’t quite turn out that way. I can’t recall, at this late date, but it would not surprise me to learn that the royalties that Aaah!!! Real Monsters generated, did not exceed, or even equal, our original advance and guarantee.
On the next page, the Real Monster in me will reveal what Mattel was up to, and show you their top secret plans for products that would have happened in year two if Aaahh!!! Real Monsters had been more successful!