Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Monster Decals!

America during the 1920s-'30s was a turbulent time. In the midst of the Great Depression, Americans sought refuge in new forms of entertainment as an escape from reality. Model A's rolled off the The Ford Motor company assembly line like there was no tomorrow. The picture shows were hopping as Universal Studios doled out creepy new horrors like Dracula & Frankenstein, each film more shocking & terrifying than its predecessor. 

Flash forward about 30 years. 

Just like the creation of Frankenstein's monster, a new generation of kids cooped themselves up in the garage, toying in their concrete-floored laboratories for countless hours bringing to life their own visions of "Frankenrods".

They took those old Model A Fords, chopped the tops, threw in a souped-up engine, and decorated the body full of flames & pinstripes. Their idols included Ed "Big Daddy" Roth & Von Dutch; eccentric car customizers who taught America's kids that it's okay to be a weird-oh -- in fact, it's cool! Wolfman charms and Dracula flicker rings flowed freely from gumball machines. Frankenstein could be seen everywhere from your Old Maid playing cards to the green-headed speaker at the drive-in. 
This was a whole new era for classic monsters & the products to market them by; their resurgence was followed by a craze and demand for all things monster.

I'd like to think that cars & monsters make a great marriage (take George Barris' Dragula or Munster Koach, for example), and the kids of the '60s must have thought so too. No exception is hot rod decor & accessories.  I could cover a lot of things like bobbleheads or rearview mirror danglers (shrunken head, anyone?), but for now I will zoom in on... DECALS!

Water slide decals. 
A pain in the butt to get on your window sometimes, but boy do they look cool! Hot rodders did not want to miss out a single detail in making their ride truly unique, even if you couldn't afford to do a lot in order to stand out. So what better way to finish off your car and showcase your finkster taste than with a cool monster decal?

Probably most famous of kustom kulture decal artists is Ed Roth. His designs of monsters like "Drag Nut", "Mother's Worry", and of course, "Rat Fink" graced everything from t-shirts to model kits in the 1960s. Other companies like Impko caught on to the monster craze and decided to make their own line of off-beat auto decal characters. Though more obscure & simplistic, they were drawn in the same vein and often paired with sarcastic phrases to express the owner's loyalty to juvenile delinquency.
Having a sense of humor helps when viewing these decals, especially ones depicting witchy women and the word, "Pin-Up".

Here is just a small selection of cool decals. You can still find these or similar ones often on ebay, though some for a price. Impkos range anywhere from $10-25, while original Ed Roth vintage decals can ring in 60 bucks a pop or more!
But don't fret; you can buy repops for much cheaper (they're probably easier to stick on too... maybe).

So feast your eyes on some vintage monster madness and stay tuned as I highlight more '60s monster toys & accessories in the future, including original memorabilia that we carry in store!

Stay cool, Wheel Cats.

From the Land of All Things Horrorbles,
Lisa Louise

Hot pin up! Vintage Impko decal from the '60s

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