Monday, November 22, 2010

Don Post Glenn Strange Frankenstein Mask

With literally hundreds of different Frankenstein monster masks having been produced through the years, the character remains one of the most popular to be represented in latex form. While some have more significance than others, the conversation usually starts here, as the Don Post Glenn Strange Frank is arguably the greatest Frankenstein mask of them all. It also happens to be my personal favorite of all the Calendar mask monsters, which is rather odd, as is that I have always preferred the Karloff monster on the screen. But in mask form, the Strange Frank has far more character and history!

Depending on the variation of the mask, and your source of information, production on the mask is said to have begun production between 1963-64, but could have been as late as 1965. The initial sculpture was made from a life cast of Glenn Strange from the movie Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein, and has been dubbed the "Smooth" Frank due to it's smooth forehead. This version is incredibly rare as the mask was produced in limited in very limited quantity, as the mask was too small for most heads, and the Strange Frank was re-sculpted by Pat Newman. It is the Newman re-sculpt which appears in the famous Monster Calendar.

Don Post "Smooth" Frankenstein
The mask saw a brief re-issue in 1975-76. And finally, another re-issue (and re-sculpted) 300 copies were released in 1998 with the calendar re-issue series.

There's some great history provided in this clipping from the Halloween Society's All Hallows Eve Companion , the Strange Frank was the featured mask in the Classic Corner from issue #1.
All Hallows Eve Companion Classic Corner from issue #1

The above clipping offers more background on the mask. Some similarities & discrepancies can be found between the two write ups which cloud the history of the Strange Frank.

Here are some photos I've collected of the Strange Frank mask that over the years. It's quite amazing to see the different custom paint schemes between these! Disclaimer: I have no recollection of the source of these photos. If the owner of a photo wishes that they be removed, please let me know and I will gladly remove them from the blog. I post these purely for documentation purposes. Although I have grouped these images for ease of viewing, all images are copyrighted by their respective owners. Enjoy!
I am fairly confident that all three of these are from the same collector. Any info as to the owner and the artist(s) who customized these would be appreciated!

Beautiful vintage-style gray paint scheme

Legendary calendar photo 
My personal copy of the 1998 re-issue

That concludes our look at the Don Post Strange Frank. I'll try to post at least one featured mask like this every month. If you missed the first featured mask post and write up on the Topstone Mummy, you can read about it here.


  1. Hi. Great blog idea and thanks for the cool pics as well!

    I believe the mask you mention in this thread is the Glenn Strange 'Calendar' mask featured in the famous Monster Calendar. However, the HS GAzette article above is actually about a different mask, the 'Life-cast' version os the mask. That one came out in '63. The Calendar version was 64-66. It was replaced in the Don Post line-up by a Boris Karloff Frankenstein from '67 to 1974. In '74 the re-released the 'life-cast' version for a year. By the end of 1976 Don Post wasn't making the Frankenstein masks any more because they lost the Universal license - 'til the early 80's.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, and for the clarification! This certainly helps make better sense of the dates.

    I'm guessing this is also the difference between what a lot of folks refer to as the "smooth" Strange Frank and the Newman sculpt. The smooth version coming form the life cast.

  3. More than welcome! Yes, the 'smooth' version was released first but was soon considered too small to sell as a wearable mask - due probably to its life-cast origins. Pat Newman sculpted the 'Calendar' version and it replaced the life-cast one until Karloff came along - '67-8. In 1974 it was Don Post Studios sculpter Bill Malone who reintroduced the 'smooth' mask - more as a delux displayable bust than as a mask. It sold for a year or two along with the wearable Karloff version. The Karloff was re-introduced in the 1983 line-up but the life-cast version was never again released. An original 'Calendar' mask (the Newman version) was scanned and details retooled back into the sculpt for the 1998 re-release - 300 copies were sold of that one.

  4. Very cool! So there are actually 3 versions of the Strange Frank released through the years? I had no idea that the re-release was sculpted by Bill Malone.

  5. no no lol

    Bill didn't sculpt it - it was just his idea to start making it again.

    I've also been told that the smooth was actually first introduced in 64-5 and the cal in 65-6. Either way there were only ever two different masks.

  6. Lol! That explains why I had never heard of a Malone version.

    It's funny how the history of the mask varies. The dates are usually a year or so apart depending on the source of information. I think it only adds to the whole allure of the mask!

  7. I think I read somewhere that the Don "smooth Strange" was re-released in 1983. Tis has to be the case, because I distinctly recall seeing the Glenn Strange likeness on a deluxe mask that was displayed in the store window of Spencer's Gifts when I was a kid in the early 80's. At that time, it seems like it was priced at around $30, which seems like an incredible bargain now, but my mom still refused to buy it for me! I know it was the a Glenn Strange, because that was my favorite version of the monster as a child, and it was very very clearly that distinctive design. It had to have been a Don Post Strange Frank, there's no other explanation.

  8. One of the hardest things for a kid to do is to try and talk Mom into buying a $30 mask. I was never successful either Prof.

    1. I bought a Frankenstein mask at the Magic Shop in Disney World in Florida. It was between 1976 and 1979. It is the best version I have ever seen for wearing. Is there a way I could send a picture to see if anyone could identify which model it is?

  9. Sure, I'd love to see pics! You can email them to peteinfelise (at)

  10. Hi Pete,

    I found out that pic of the "Beautiful vintage-style gray paint scheme" was done by VXX. Unfortunately he's not doing masks anymore. I inadvertently found this out when I used that pic as a reference for a Pat Newman blank I'm having done by David and Laura Lady and he saw it. I love that paint up! Thanks for the great blog/site. I visit all the time! :)

  11. Thanks for the info! It does indeed look like Darrell's work.