Count Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, the Wolf Man and the Mummy may have been smash hits on the nation's movie screens during the 30's and 40's, but how did these and other monsters fare in the world of trading cards?
Fact is, though wildly popular with filmgoers
of the day, horror film monsters were still considered much too controversial by
many American parents for card companies to risk negative consumer reaction by
peddling these same monsters to children.
|Consequently, during the "Golden Age" of monster movies, not one single
monster was ever placed on an American trading card!
Not only are the actual monsters
absent from trading cards from this era, but
Lon Chaney Sr.
1931 "Sulma Bilder" (DE)
It wouldn't be until 1959 that trading cards featuring monsters of any kind would be mass distributed in the U.S. (But, we're jumping ahead a bit.)
The complete lack of any pre-1959 USA monster cards is rather depressing news for those who may want to collect them, but there are cards out there to partially fill the void.
And to find them, one has to look to Canada,
England, Germany, Spain and other card producing countries.
1934 "Film Stars"
John Sinclair Ltd. (UK)
While American card companies cranked out sports heroes and
"legitimate" movie personalities, several foreign card companies
featured classic horror film actors, and occasionaly the monsters
they portrayed, in many of their sets.
Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lon
Chaney Jr. and Colin Clive can
Secondary players such as Ernest
"Doctor Pretorious" Thesiger and
That being said, it is important to
note that even though foreign card
1934 "Cinema Stars"
This evidence can be found by observing the many more frequent appearances of horror film actors "out of character" on trading cards than their appearances on trading cards "in character." There had to have been either less interest by consumers with seeing monsters, or some amount of hesitation to produce them.
The latter option seems more likely as all other genres are well represented with the actors "in character." Movie star "Cowboys", "Gangsters" and "Soldiers" can all be found on trading cards as they were seen on the big screen.
Below, as an ongoing project, we will be
developing a database of all foreign cards featuring classic horror film monsters as these
cards are encountered.
A Foreign Trading Card History of Monsters
Important note: Many foreign cards (of all
types), can be found with different backs and attributable
to many different producers. As an example, the
Boris Karloff card below was released by several British as well as Canadian companies.
Lon Chaney Jr.
The Wolf Man
1953 "Historia del Cine" (SP)
1938 "Actors Natural & Character Studies"
Hignett Bros. & Co. (UK)
1953 "Historia del Cine" (SP)
1959 You'll Die Laughing
1961 Horror Monsters (Green)
1961 Horror Monsters (Orange)
1961 Spook Stories
1962 Mars Attacks
1962 Adventures of Captain Chapel
1963 Monster Flip Movies
1963 Monster Laffs
1963 Monster Laffs (Midgees)
1963 Monster Magic Action
1963 Terror Monsters
1963 Famous Monsters
1964 The Addams Family
1964 The Munsters|
1964 Outer Limits
1964 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
1964 Dracula's Greatest Hits
1965 King Kong
1965 King Kong (Test Issue)
1965 Monster Cards
1965 Monster Greetings
1965 Ugly Stickers
1966 Make Your Own Name Stickers
1966 Lost in Space
1966 Frankenstein Stickers|
1966 Insult Postcards
1967 Terror Tales
1967 Star Trek
1967 Baseball Weird-Ohs
1968 Dark Shadows (Pink)
1968 Flash Gordon (Test Issue)
1968 Land of the Giants (Test Issue)
1969 Dark Shadows (Green)
1969 Quentin Postcards (Dark Shadows)
1969 Planet of the Apes
1973 You'll Die Laughing