Monster Squad

Behind The Scenes Photos Of 1987’s The Monster Squad!

I believe we have more than demonstrated our love of The Monster Squad here on The Retroist. From numerous posts featuring artwork by the likes of Traivs Falligant to epic apparel by Fright-Rags. Naturally there was also the 70th Retroist Podcast episode – all about The Monster Squad of course!
Retroist Monster Squad Podcast

However we haven’t had a lot of opportunities to share vintage behinds the scenes photos from the movie. Furthermore photos supplied by none other than the Stan Winston School of Character Arts.

Monster Squad

All Images courtesy of the Stan Winston School of Character Arts

It turns out that right after the Stan Winston Studio finished the effects work on 1986’s Aliens. The team finished up on Amazing Stories and then took on the job for The Monster Squad. A project that as you can understand caused quite a bit of excitement for the artists. A chance to play with the designs of the classic Universal Monsters. Having said that though, it seems that also initially caused some gritted teeth. As Shane Mahan explains on the Stan Winston school blog:

“The challenge was to suggest those classic creatures, without really copying them,” explained Shane Mahan, “because we didn’t have permission or the license to use those specific images. So we could do a ‘Gillman’, for example, but it couldn’t look too much like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. It was frustrating for us at first, because, of course, we wanted to do the original designs! But we couldn’t. We could only suggest those designs. So the Frankenstein monster looks a bit like the Karloff creature; but instead of bolts in the neck, he has bolts in the forehead. There was a certain percentage of changes we had to make to get away from any legal copyright infringement.”

Of all of the wonderful monster designs and I truly believe each and every one of them is great. The Gillman is still my favorite, hands down.

In August of this year it will mark the 30th anniversary of Monster Squad. I have no doubt that something must be in the works to celebrate this film. Having said that it would be hard to top the 20th Anniversary Blu-Ray.

Who knows though? Perhaps we might be lucky enough to get a comprehensive coffee table book? One in which even more of these great on the set photos might be shared. If I learn anything about such a special tome – I’ll be sure to share it with you all. Follow the link to the Stan Winston School up top – for additional photos and information from behind the scenes.

Did you enjoy the behind the scenes look at The Monster Squad? Don’t forget that well put together trailer!

[Via] Mr. Psycho 313

Red Quarters

The Mystery Of The Red Quarters…Solved!

When I originally thought of writing about red quarters, I had three examples ready to be photographed as accompanying artwork.

However, when you have a young son who is fascinated with arcade games, ticket redemption machines and all manner of gumball dispensers, keeping quarters handy is difficult.
Red Quarters

So, just imagine that this is a photo of a real red quarter taken on my dining room table, and not one I grabbed online this morning.

Have you ever sorted through your change and found an older quarter painted red, or the remnants of red paint that has been worn away during a few decades in someone’s pocket or change jar? Congratulations! There is a good chance that you are holding a piece of arcade history.

First of all, let me point out that there are a few alternative origins that are possible – but, not as neat as the arcade connection. Red quarters are also used for free laundromats and the occasional jukebox at the local tavern, but with change machines more available in 2017, and the increasing prices of these services, dollar bills are used much more often.

Red quarters are known as “shills” or “house coins.” When I managed an Aladdin’s Castle arcade back in the early 1990s, I called them “freebies.”

Arcade machines are amazing pieces of technology. From the start button, to the circuitry, to the joysticks, to the screen and speakers, millions of bits of high-tech electronic signals are bouncing around inside that pressboard cabinet before “Ready Player One” ever appears in colorful, pixilated glory to you.

But, before the credit button can ever be activated, the quarter has to make its way from your pocket through a series of mechanical twists and turns before the game recognizes your offering as a legitimate form of payment. Along the way, there are many places for your quarter to become lodged or even fall through to the coin collection box without giving you a credit to start the game.

If your arcade didn’t have an attendant back then, you usually just kicked or beat the coin door in a futile attempt to make it either accept the quarter – or generously return it to you. This usually never, ever worked.

Arcade attendants were the best people that minimum wage could hire at the time. While many could be trusted to open the front doors on time, most arcade owners did not trust their minions with keys to the coin doors or collection boxes.

When a customer complained about not receiving credit for their coin, an attendant would use a red-painted quarter in the slot to make the game work. If it did, the customer could then play their game and smile. If the game still did not work, an “Out of Order” sign would be placed over the screen until a repair technician could render first aid.

When it came time to count the game’s coin box each week, the red quarters would be sorted out from the silver ones and returned to the attendants to use again. They wouldn’t be counted as income and the arcade owner’s accountant would celebrate and rejoice at the reduction of paperwork.

At Aladdin’s Castle, we also used painted quarters, but only for the Rowe change machine or crane game. Our attendants had access to the coin mechanisms because tokens were used to credit the machines instead of cash – and our accountants rejoiced at the reduction of paperwork.

Why the red paint? Red paint stands out better in a sea of silver coins in the automatic counter, and in many cases, it’s also the only shade of nail polish that a female employee had handy at the time.

The next time you spot a red quarter, and the date on it is from before 1992, there is a very good chance that it was used to make someone’s arcade experience a happy one. Keep the cycle going and use it to credit-up the next video game you come across!
Retro New Year's Eve - 2016

Do You Remember When Obi-Wan Kenobi Cut Off…Ponda Baba’s Head?!

Star Wars - Behind The Scenes
A friend of the site sent us this behind the scenes photo on the set of Star Wars showing a much different ending to the cantina brawl between Ponda Baba and Obi-Wan Kenobi. I have no idea if this was a gag photo or what but I do know that I prefer the fight we see in the movie to what might have turned out to be a beheading…I personally don’t think a Jedi Knight would do such a thing…

[Via] The Star Wars 2266

…Um…never mind.

Behind The Scenes: The NeverEnding Story (1984)

Image courtesy of Ain't It Cool News and "Donald".

Image courtesy of Ain’t It Cool News and “Donald”.


Look what we have here, friends! By my count in this very Behind The Scenes photo we have a ChildLike Empress, a Luck Dragon, and a Bastian. I assume this photo was snapped during a break from the filming with Falkor and Barret Oliver as it looks like a blue screen has been set up behind the Luck Dragon. Perhaps Tami Stronach dropped by to remind Bastian that she still needed a name?

As always a huge thanks to Quint of Ain’t It Cool News for sharing these wonderful Behind The Scenes photos as well as to “Donald”, who provided the photo.