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Monster Squad

Monster Squad
Developed by Stanley Ralph Ross
Starring
Composer(s) Richard La Salle (1.1)
Country of origin  United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 13
Production
Producer(s) Michael Mclean
Running time 30 minutes
Release
Original channel NBC
Original release September 11, 1976 – September 2, 1977

Monster Squad is a television series that aired Saturday mornings on NBC from 1976-1977 that is unrelated to the later movie of the same name.

The series stars Fred Grandy (who also starred in The Love Boat and was later elected to the United States House of Representatives) as Walt, a criminology student working as a night watchman at "Fred's Wax Museum". To pass the time, Walt built a prototype "Crime Computer" hidden in a large stone sarcophagus near an exhibit of legendary monsters. When Walt plugged in his computer, "oscillating vibrations" brought to life the wax statues of Dracula (Henry Polic II), the Wolfman (Buck Kartalian) who here was named "Bruce W. Wolf" (with one episode revealing that the "W" stood for "Were"), and Frankenstein's Monster (Michael Lane) who was referred to as "Frank N. Stein" in the credits.

The monsters, wanting to make up for the misdeeds of their pasts, became superhero crimefighters who used their unique abilities to challenge and defeat various supervillains. In most episodes, Walt would send the monsters out to investigate crimes and fight the villains while monitoring the activities from the wax museum via the Crime Computer, presumably because his job required him to be at the wax museum at all times. However, Walt would sometimes join the climactic battle with his comrades in some episodes and come to the rescue when needed.

The Squad had their own customized black Monster Van, and each monster had a "utility belt" with a communicator device used to keep in touch with Walt, who had apparently created them for the monsters to use. Their CB-style code-names were "Nightflyer" (Drac), "Chamber of Horrors" (Walt), "Green Machine" (Frank), and "Furball" (Bruce).

The show was comparable to the 1960s Batman TV show, not surprising considering that creator Stanley Ralph Ross had been one of the main writers on that series. The villains were often exaggerated camp villains much like the ones on Batman in keeping with the "superhero" tone of the show, and were often played by familiar-faced guest stars of the time period like Alice Ghostley ("Queen Bee"), Marty Allen ("Lorenzo Musica"), Jonathan Harris ("The Astrologer"), Julie Newmar ("Ultra Witch"), Avery Schreiber ("The Weatherman") and Vito Scotti ("Albert/Alberta").

A later, unrelated animated television series by Hanna-Barbera Productions called Drak Pack had a similar premise.

Though the Squad are supposed to be wax statues, it often appears that they are something else entirely as they apparently have all the memories of the monsters they are based on. In several episodes a statue of the Invisible Man can be seen in an alcove on the opposite side of the monsters' exhibit. It is never explained why this statue remains unaffected by the Crime Computer's oscillating vibrations.

Contents

  • Episodes 1
  • DVD release 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Episodes

Each episode is named after the villain of that episode.

No. Title Original air date
1 "Queen Bee" September 11, 1976
2 "Mr. Mephisto" September 18, 1976
3 "The Tickler" September 25, 1976
4 "The Ringmaster" October 2, 1976
5 "Music Man" October 9, 1976
6 "No Face" October 16, 1976
7 "The Astrologer" October 23, 1976
8 "Ultra Witch" October 30, 1976
9 "The Wizard" November 6, 1976
10 "The Skull" November 13, 1976
11 "The Weatherman" November 20, 1976
12 "Lawrence of Moravia" November 27, 1976
13 "Albert/Alberta" December 4, 1976

DVD release

Monster Squad - The Complete Series was released in Region 1 on June 23, 2009 by Virgil Films and Entertainment. The Region 2 release follows on August 3, 2009 by Fabulous Films.

References

  • Jones, Stephen, ed. The Illustrated Werewolf Movie Guide. London: Titan Books, 1996. (page 137) ISBN 1-85286-658-6

External links

  • The Monster Squad at the Internet Movie Database
  • Monster Squad at TV.com
  • YouTube: The Monster Squad - TV intro 1976
  • Monster Squad - Pilot Episode in-depth review with screenshots
  • TV Shows On DVD news
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