THINGS TO COME?????
”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.
It rarely happens, in Real Life, that we get an opportunity to see the shape of things that might have been. But in this case, Fate offered me a glimpse into a hoped for future, that, ultimately, was destined not to be. This final page falls into two categories. The first represents a series of quick idea sketches that Mattel asked me to submit. Andy was working with a guy, named, Michael Andrews at Mattel. Mike requested any product ideas the came to mind to extend the Aaahh!!! Real Monsters line, particularly action features that could be incorporated into the Gromble. So, I sent him the following drawings.
This first one is the only one I bothered to present in color. All the others are black and white, and really quick. But every one, beyond this “Garbage Gang”, incorperated some kind of action feature.
The second category is more interesting! These slick accomplished drawings are far better in form than function. they constituted Mattel’s top secret plans for the second year of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. The dates on these renderings indicate that Mattel was working on year two, in April 1995, immediately after Toy Fair. Clearly, they had high hopes. I had no business seeing these, but Michael sent them to Andy, and he, of course, passed them on to me. And now, twenty years later, I’m revealing them to you. Obviously, this disclosure no longer matters. And if anything, perhaps, Mattel should thank me for preserving this little slice of secret toy history.
This second handwritten note indicates that these ideas had not been shown to Nickelodeon, yet, in June, three months later. The photos show Mattel’s lead second year product actually mocked up. It’s no more than a dumpster on four casters. Calling this a vehicle does not necessarily make it one. To my eyes, it was a piece of junk.
These renderings, so slick and professional, reveal Mattel’s strengths and their weaknesses too. The presentation is impressively polished , I gather the drawings, one might better call them illustrations, represent the collective hands of several artists on their staff. And I should just shut up and show them to you. But before I do, I can’t resist expressing my opinion: Some of the individuals who did this group of product concepts had mild but fanciful ideas. On the other hand, they didn’t have a clue as to what toys, in this world, governed by reality and the force of gravity, can really do. Many of these concepts, although the artwork might look pretty defy, both logic, and the laws of physics.
A knack that I admit to having is the ability to conceive of objects that can be easily translated into functioning reality. The fact is, every toy I ever drew was fully capable of being real. I never conceptualized a toy that couldn’t be translated into the real McCoy. Thus, my eye immediately detects the fact that many of these renderings are simply exercises in wishful thinking. For instance, there is no way that a Ickis’s oversized head , below, could be launched into the sky, with his ears serving as helicopter blades, by squeezing the legs of his tiny body. This might happen in a Road Runner cartoon, but never in reality.
And so, as “Snorchh’s garbage covered tongue unwinds,” spewing out a whole week’s worth of blood red guts, we wonder why the entire Universe failed to take this concept to their hearts, and lap Real Monsters up.