From that night on I was hooked! As often as my mom let me, I stayed up to watch! Soon I found these books at the library, orange covers with glorious black and white images of each monster. I checked out the Dracula book first…and discovered there was more than one Dracula! Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Lon Chaney Jr. Then the Frankenstein monsters, the Wolfmen, the Mummies, and more…I can’t even begin to imagine the number of hours I spent looking through those books or how many times I checked them out, over and over again. It took me years to find them again…the Crestwood House Monster series.
From there it was comics. I’d already been reading stuff Batman, Superman, Archie, Spider-Man…but I soon discovered these monsters weren’t just on late night TV or at the library…they were in comics too! One Sunday morning after church my mom took us to a flea market. Not only that, she let me grab a stack of comics…tattered covers, yellowed pages…and full of monsters! ”Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery", "I...Vampire", "Ghostly Tales" and more.
As an adult, I still love this stuff! I look forward to each new Hellboy comic, I've been stocking up on DC Showcases like "House of Mystery", "Secrets of the Sinister House", "Ghosts", and back issues of "Weird War Tales" with the Creature Commandos. I own all my Universal Monster favorites on DVD and Bluray. Heck, the titles of these “What The Kaji Dha Wednesday” posts have been homages to those Universal classics of the 30’s & 40’s. Every time I read one of those comics, or watch one of those movies it takes me back to when I was kid, brings back so many great memories. This has been a year of ups and downs for me. We lost my mom back in January to cancer, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. Heck, I wouldn’t be the man I am today if not for her and her love and support. Halloween is no different…she said yes, all those years ago, to letting me watch “Dracula”, she drove me to the local comic store and flea market as I built up my collection of comic book monsters and heroes, and at Halloween, she used to help me make my costumes; mummy wrappings, Dracula capes, pirate swords and more. So it seems fitting to me as tribute to her to spend tomorrow, Halloween Night, reading some of those comics while I wait for trick-or-treaters to appear at the door. After the lights are out, and the little ghosts and goblins (and my girlfriend) are all tucked in bed…I’ll curl up on the couch, press “play” on the remote, and wait for that familiar flicker to come across the screen...
Happy Halloween Beetlemaniacs!