Monster Mail Orders from Captain Company!

Weirdest 8mm Movie Ever Made!
Weirdest 8mm Movie Ever Made!

Like most normal boomer kids of the 1960's, we grew up lusting over the mail order offerings afforded by Captain Company in the back pages of Forrest J. Ackerman and James Warren's Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine! The fact that the ads were riddled with hyperbole and that the prices pretty much resembled a king's ransom to their intended audience of 12-year-old consumers did little to diminish the allure of these products! After all, what self-respecting Monster Kid wouldn't aspire to own "3 Very Important Collector's Films," or fail to see the necessity of securing "The Weirdest 8mm Movie Ever Made!"? And, of course, all of us scholarly Monster Kids just knew that Uncle Forry hadn't really meant to imply that Max Schrek (pictured as Nosferatu) had actually appeared in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari!...

Wotta Bundle!: Projector + Film for $12 Bucks!
Wotta Bundle!: Projector + Film for $12 Bucks!

Of course, film ownership demanded the tandem necessity of a film projector to properly enjoy one's acquisition. And Captain Company had you covered, offering no less than three 8mm projector models for your consideration!

 

At first glance, the ad to the left might have seemed like the obvious choice:  an 8mm projector PLUS Lon Chaney ("Mr. Monster" himself!) in "The Most Frightening Horror Movie Scene Ever Made!" for just under $12 bucks (before the Captain's obligatory "handling" fees)! However, you might have incurred a red flag when you read that the $4.95 Phantom movie was only 50-feet in length (and similar "headline" editions cost only $1.95 to $2.25 back in the day, even if they didn't rate as being the "most frightening" scene ever!). Or maybe the real deal breaker here was that the fact that the $6.95 projector was hand-cranked (no motor!) and the lamp was powered by flashlight batteries!

 

No, in the final analysis, the most worthy considerations were the "100% electric!" $9.98 unit ("not a toy, but a high-quality, precision projector!") or, that cadillac of all Captain Company projector offerings, the top-of-the-line $29.95 full-featured Thunderbird model!...

All Electric! All the Time!
All Electric! All the Time!

Although the $10 price sticker of the Fantastic Low-Cost 8mm Movie Projector was mighty tempting, we see that this unit was limited to showing maximum capacity 50-foot reels. The "showman" in our 12 year-old collector's heart aspired to the robust 200-ft. reel capacity of the mighty Thunderbird! Besides, we harbored secret ambitions to eventually acquire that dual 200-ft. reeler, The Human Monster, and breathlessly exclaim: "Bela! Bela! At Last We Have You On Film!"...

Bela Lugosi: Terrifying as Only He Can Be!
Bela Lugosi: Terrifying as Only He Can Be!
Killer Gorillas in the Mist
Killer Gorillas in the Mist
Monkeys on Our Back!
Monkeys on Our Back!

Of course, Captain Company knew of the deep, dark secret that enticed all us Monster Kids: that we all fell prey to the allure of "gorilla exploitation"! In other words, when stricken with this unique brand of "jungle fever," we were perilously susceptible to purchasing the likes of "Jungle Witch" (Nabonga) or "Blonde Gorilla" (White Pongo), when cooler heads might have opted for the likes of The Lost World (or even the Invisible Woman)!

 

It was the editors of DC comics that noted the inclusion of a gorilla on the cover of any of their periodicals of that era (no matter how incongruous), drove sales up appreciably for that issue -- a phenomenon that was seemingly not lost on Messrs. Warren and Ackerman at Captain Company, either!

Gorilla Exploitation at It's Worst!
Gorilla Exploitation at It's Worst!

The most blatant example of Captain Company's affinity for gorilla exploitation was their perennial offering of Killer Gorilla! Despite the Captain Co.'s claim that it was "truly a classic of the motion picture screen," this Castle Films title proved not to be an extract from some conventional Hollywood production, but rather a "newsreel" offering of some sort.

 

At this point, we feel the necessity to clarify that all Monster Kids prefer their gorillas to be either men in monkey suits (a la Crash Corrigan), or stop motion puppets (a la Willis O'Brien). In no wise, do they particularly care for real gorillas, especially the grisly spectacle of one being felled by a mortal gunshot wound to the gut and its carcass being manipulated like a giant puppet by hunter tribesmen! More disturbing (by far) than King Kong's demise from the Empire State building -- it's a real mystery how this title endured for so many years in the Captain Company inventory!

Horrible Herman: Frightening Asiatic Insect!
Horrible Herman: Frightening Asiatic Insect!

We leave you with this quote from the "CEO" of Captain Company, James Warren:


"I remember as a kid how much I loved the old Johnson-Smith mail order catalog. I loved sending away for things—loved it. I thought, 'I'm going to find the items that appeal to me. I know I'm 29 but I also know I'm a supreme case of retarded development, so I can think down to an 11-year-old, and I know what I would like if I were 11...

 

"So I spent a lot of time—a couple of months—searching for things I thought would be right for our audience. FM was a horror/monster magazine, so I looked for the horror/ monster items they couldn't readily find or see in their local stores—the monster nails, Frankenstein mask, Horrible Herman in the box, spy camera, shrunken head, the Venus Flytrap...

 

"Stephen King, Stevie Spielberg, Georgie Lucas —here they are!...

 

"And please enclose 25¢ for postage and handling."

Jedi Master Janice
Jedi Master Janice

Jedi Master Film Handler, Janice, from the 8mm Forum, was gracious enough to share her video review of the Brumberger 1503, which appears to be an exact doppelgänger of Captain Company's "Thunderbird" unit! She states that the Brumberger company hailed from Brooklyn, which was certainly within the stomping grounds of Famous Monsters of Filmland in NYC (if not the actual Captain Company site in Philly)!

 

Thanks for your Jedi insight, Janet!

Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    Janice (Sunday, 16 June 2013 14:48)

    The Thunderbird looks identical to my Brumburger 1503 except that the 1503 has a 300 watt bulb. Here's a brief video I have of it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhYlsN6UpxQ

  • #2

    Christoher Will (Friday, 11 October 2013 16:43)

    Loved your website. If you send e-mail updates I would like to have them sent to the e-mail Address I provided-Christopherwill60@gmail.com. Your website brought back a lot of fond memories the good old days of FM of my childhood. Thanks for the nostalgic memories

Steve Osborne, Keith Wilton & Shorty Joe Caruso
8mm Amigos Steve, Keith & Shorty Joe Salute Castle Films boxes of yesteryear!

Godzilla Stomps Ohio This Summer on the Big Screen at Monster Bash!

Get your discounted tickets to see Godzilla & Friends: Toho Kong, Gorgo, Tarantula, Them!, The Giant Claw and -- maybe even Bijou Bob Statzer??? --  here!

New Additions to our cine product lineup now on display at The Reel Image Web Showroom!...

Reel 3-D Anaglyph Glasses from The Reel Image
Outfit your Whole Audience with 99-Cent 3-D Glasses from The Reel Image!
Filmguard in 16 0z Spray Bottles -- a little goes a LONG way!
FILMGUARD now available in Economical 16-OZ Spray Bottles!
REEL-y Nice Tuscan Reel/Can Sets Now Available from The Reel Image!
REEL-y Nice Tuscan Reel/Can Sets Now Available from The Reel Image!
ESC Lamp Buy Out: That's REALLY All, Folks!
ESC Lamp Buy Out: That's REALLY All, Folks!
The Reel Image: A Reel Film Company
Visit The Reel Image Showroom!

Online Editor,

Alfred E. Osborne,

invites you to peruse

our super library of

archived articles on

Our Back Pages!

Click for Archive of Reel Image Articles!
Click for Archive of Reel Image Articles!

Plenty of vintage

8mm Memories on tap

at the newly-updated

Castle Films Tribute

page!...

W.C. Fields makes Castle Films debut
Click for Vintage Castle Films ads!
Wanted! More Reel Image Readers like Joey Schmidlap!
Wanted! More Reel Image Readers like Joey Schmidlap!

Bijou Bob Statzer

overcomes "50-ft. Frustration"

and finds "REEL FUN"

with Double Digests!

Twice the Footage!... Twice the Fun!
Twice the Footage!... Twice the Fun!

2006 "Rondo" Award Winner

Bob Statzer

is back with a memoir of his misspent youth as a Super 8 movie-maker!:

BEAUTIFUL NOISE:
The Making of a
Silent Musical

Bijou Bob owns the World's Only Silent Musical!
Bijou Bob owns the World's Only Silent Musical!

Read Bob Statzer's "Remembering

Ray Harryhausen"!...

Bijou Bob's Tribute to Ray Harryhausen!
Bijou Bob's Tribute to Ray Harryhausen!

Be sure to visit our good pal Phil Sheard at

Classic Home Cinema!

Classic Home Cinema at The Reel Image
Be sure to visit Classic Home Cinema

Looking for Intermissions???

BRAND NEW 16mm prints of VINTAGE Drive-In

INTERMISSION

films are HERE!

Intermissions on Brand New 16mm Prints!
Ads, Snipes, Clocks in 16mm!
dvd 7 blu-ray transfers
Visit our pals at Speakeasy Archives for all your video & film transfer needs!

Sir Roger Moore says: "Cinema Retro Magazine is a must for fans of movies from the 1960s and 1970s -- And they didn't have to pay me to say that!"

Cinema Retro magazine
Sir Roger says Cinema Retro is "a Must!"

John McElwee's

Greenbriar Picture Shows is hands down the best site for general film essays on the internet, period! 

Visit John McElwee's Greenbriar Picture Shows
Visit John McElwee's Greenbriar Picture Shows

If your heart beats faster at the mention of "Forrest J. Ackerman," "Aurora monster models" or "Shock Theater," be sure to check out artist Kerry Gamill's Classic Horror Film Board.

Our good pal "Bijou Bob 8mm" Statzer is one of the board's resident kibitzers and pontificates there much and profoundly, to our continual edification!

Visit the Classic Film Horror Board
Visit the Classic Film Horror Board
Visit the 8mm Forum
Visit the 8mm Forum

Great minds think alike???...

Both Steve Osborne's The Reel Image (in the USA) and David Ollerearnshaw's The Reel Image (in the UK) sprung up somewhat simultaneously -- but they remain entirely unrelated to one another (except, of course, for Steve & David's

shared enthusiasm

for 8mm and Super 8!)...

  Be sure to visit David's UK site for his latest box artwork scans and film catalogs, including a terrific nostalgic look at a vintage Thunderbird Films flyer from the 1970's!...

Download a vintage Thunderbird Films catalog at The Reel Image (UK)!
Download a vintage Thunderbird Films catalog at The Reel Image (UK)!

Danajerrye Films

Buying/Selling 16mm,

Super 8 & 8mm films!

Features, Educationals, Two Reelers,  Cartoons, TV Shows & Scopitones!
Features, Educationals, Two Reelers, Cartoons, TV Shows & Scopitones!

8mm Forum Worldwide

The International Forum for

8mm, 16mm & 9.5mm film!

Dedicated To Collectors Around The World!

Visit the 8mm Forum Worldwide!
Visit the 8mm Forum Worldwide!
Steve Osborne's Reel White Screen Paint
Reel White Screen Paint
The Fort Knox of Reel Image Blog bullion!
The Fort Knox of Reel Image Blog bullion!
The Reel Image is published by Steve Osborne!
The Reel Image is published by Steve Osborne!