Hello, everybody, and welcome back to The MonsterGrrls' 31 Days Of Halloween! Today I'm reviewing something we probably should have let you know about a little earlier, but now is probably even better since it's close to Halloween. After a long, long time unseen and unaired, the NBC cult-classic series The Monster Squad is now out on DVD in a 2-disc collection.
Bethany had reviewed the popular cult movie of the same name a while back, but there were some fans of this series who originally thought that it would be a movie based on this TV series, which ran for one season in 1976 on NBC's Saturday morning lineup. The Monster Squad is the story of Walt (Fred Grandy, who was also on The Love Boat and later became a member of the U.S. House Of Representatives for Iowa--such a checkered career!), a criminology student who works at a local wax museum, specifically in the Chamber Of Horrors. Walt builds a large crime computer in a nearby sarcophagus, which turns out to be a triumph of Mad Science, as the computer's oscillating vibrations bring to life the statues of Frankenstein (Michael Lane), Dracula (Henry Polic II) and the Werewolf (Buck Kartalian). Wanting to make up for being "hated and feared for centuries" due to all their wrongful deeds, the monsters join with Walt to create the Monster Squad, a supernatural crimefighting crew that investigates and defeats various supervillains. The show was created by Stanley Ralph Ross, who had written for the Batman TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward.
While this show is definitely a product of the 1970's, and very cheaply made (the same storefront set is used over and over again in nearly all the episodes), it retains a certain goofy charm that more than makes up for its shortcomings. It's just fun, and not meant to be taken too seriously at all. Plus, the villains end up being the stars on occasion, as most of the baddies are played by such noted character actors as Avery Schreiber, Alice Ghostley, Vito Scotti, Marty Allen and Julie Newmar (who herself was the villain Catwoman on Batman). The other Grrls and I even found ourselves enjoying the monsters; though I don't really care for Creatures being displayed as dumb (and you can understand why), Michael Lane's version of Frankenstein is so good-natured and sweet that it made up for my usual dislike of such things. And we really liked the monsters being presented as the good guys for once. (Hey, monsters are good guys--and good Grrls, too!)
This show also has the distinction of being a really big influence on our Mad Doctor, who watched it fervently as a monster-kid and is enjoying having it again. Pick up The Monster Squad if you want something a little different for Halloween, and try pairing it with the Monster Squad movie for a cool mix of creeps and silliness!
I have to go now, but don't forget to come back tomorrow for our next post on The MonsterGrrls' 31 Days Of Halloween! See you there!
Francesca "Frankie" Franken
POST-MORTEM: Get your copy of The Monster Squad at Amazon.com by clicking here.