It’s been a long time since I participated in Brian Adams’s Cool & Collected weekly topic discussion — Pop Culture League — an online gathering of like-minded collectors, enthusiasts, fans and popular culture historians.
This week’s topic is a nice place to get back on track: Here There Be Monsters — ‘Tis the Halloween Season!
There is perhaps no brand that has added more value to Halloween pop culture than Don Post Studios. In fact, DPS is historically credited for kickstarting the “Monster Kid” phenomenon of the 1960s and 70s. The company was responsible for the creation of the rubber Halloween mask and was the leader in the industry for over seven decades. DPS also dabbled in special effects work for the film industry from 1947 through 1988. If there was a Mount Rushmore for the monster/fantasy/sci-fi genre, Don Post would be on it (along with Forry Ackerman, of course).
Don Post Studios will always have a special place in my heart because it was the subject that launched me into publishing. When an unassuming Canadian lawyer named Lee Lambert, who has a oversized love for monster masks, approached me in Spring 2014 about publishing his book, I was curious but uncertain.
For one, I didn’t know anything about publishing. Up until that point, I was in the auction business. I had produced catalogs for the auctions, but printing was different from publishing. However, once I got past that little detail, I was able to see the potential.
It struck me first and foremost as inconceivable that there had never been a book about Don Post Studios, let alone the incredibly detailed work that Lee had done. What Lee did, it turned out, was the most comprehensive history of the company to date, detailing its inception in 1938 to its closure in 2012 and chronicling every mask produced. He tracked down all the major players, from the Post family members to executives and artists who worked for the company. Lee also found the most avid Don Post mask collectors in the community to share their collection in the book.
What Lee Lambert finally produced, and we helped published, was a 600-page fully illustrated 9-pound tome, entitled The Illustrated History of Don Post Studios. While there was never a book written about DPS before, Lee practically ensured that there might never be a need for another DPS book.
We released the first edition in September 2014, a paperback brick, if you will. We quickly sold out and decided to release a hardcover Deluxe Edition the following year with 100 additional pages. For this edition, we also offered a limited collector hand-casted and hand-painted rubber latex slipcase. As the first book in my publishing business, I could not be more proud of what we did.
Our collaboration with Lee Lambert went so well that we’re publishing Lee’s next book, Remember the Future: The Distortions Unlimited Story, to be released in 2017. This book will take you behind the scenes at Distortions Unlimited, the haunted attraction industry’s leading supplier of props and animatronics, starting with the company’s humble beginnings as a Halloween mask company in the late 1970s through to the present. Distortions and its owner, Ed Edmunds, were the subject of the Travel Channel’s Making Monsters TV show. What Don Post did for Halloween has been admirably continued by Distortions and I’m excited to help document that fine tradition.
The Halloween tradition is alive and well, as evident by these terrific postings:
Head over to this week’s Cool & Collected topic page to read other musings about the subject at hand.