Monday, May 7, 2012

Spook Show Week Day 1: Studio Masks for Exploiting Spook Shows

Welcome creeps to Midnite Spook Show Monster Mask Week here at the Blood Curdling Blog of Monster Masks!

The more I learn about the history of monster masks and their makers, the more I become fascinated by the origins of modern rubber monster masks and the industry pioneers. Furthermore, as I continue to dig deeper into the depths of early monster mask history, the more my research tends to overlap and crossover into the world of the midnight spook shows. That is the inspiration behind Midnite Spook Show Monster Mask Week.

For the first day of Midnite Spook Show Monster Mask Week, I pose the question that I have asked myself many times over the past few months... is it possible that  the first deluxe monster masks were created for use in spook shows? Are the origin of early high-end masks tied to the late night performances of the showmen, conjurers and illusionists that could benefit from such a product?

Consider for a moment... spook masters needed the ability to transform stage hands and stooges into monsters quickly and cheaply. For this task, monster masks offered showmen two distinct advantages over make-up:  #1 Time factor. Make-up takes time to apply before a show, where-as a mask can be slipped on almost instantly. #2 Cost factor. Make-up needed to be constantly purchased and kept on hand, again, masks eliminated this for a one time purchase cost.

These advantages were not overlooked by spook show suppliers. Here is an early 1960s poster which contained an ad for "Studio Masks for exploiting Spook Shows"...

I'm not sure that this poster directly answers the question I pose above, but it does contain a promo directed at the spook masters and magicians, which certainly shows there was a demand, a market niche, and a very specific target demographic.

It should be a fun and shocking week here. So shocking some will faint! In fact, you may even See Monsters!! And Hear the Dead!!! Be careful not read this blog alone in the dark this week.

No comments:

Post a Comment