The Other Telco: The Economy Motion-ettes of Halloween

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The following is a sub-article about the economy line of the Telco Motion-ettes of Halloween.  To read the full article on the history of Telco and the 24″ line of Motion-ettes, click here.

After the initial Side of 18 inch Telco Boxsuccess of the 24″ line, Telco opted to expand its offerings to a wider consumer base.  The 24″ electric Motion-ettes retailed at $69.99, a fairly hefty price for a Halloween decoration in the 1980s.  As such, Telco decided to create an economy line of animated figures that could be purchased by Halloween enthusiasts on a budget, thus the 18″ battery-operated Motion-ettes of Halloween were born.

The first wave of figures included smaller versions of the original Witch and Vampire, as well as smaller versions of the 1988 Monster and  Ghost.  This debut line varied greatly from the economy Motion-ettes that followed.  The most noticeable difference was the size of the lighted accessory each figure held.  The first wave had larger accessories than the versions that succeeded.  The second difference was that these figures included AC adapters, meaning that they could be powered by electricity in addition to batteries.  There were some minor variations in certain characters as well.  The hair on the first edition Witch resembled that of her 24″ counterpart, meaning it was fluffy.  She was later given curly hair.  It should also be noted that early editions of the Monster came equipped with a skull accessory as opposed to the more traditional lantern.  Over the years, the economy line became more standardized.  The AC adapters were phased out and the accessories became smaller.  The initial four figures continued to be produced and additional ones were added, including a green Beastman and a Skeleton, neither of which had accessories.  An alternate version of the Witch was introduced later on.  And, at one point, Telco was offering both its original Witch and the alternate Witch.  Lighted eyes and “spooky sounds” were trademarks of the 18″ line, with most of the figures coming with the iconic electronic wailing sound that defined Halloween in the early 1990s.

Once Telco acquired a license from Universal Studios, they debuted an 18″ line featuring official Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolf Man, and  Creature from the Black Lagoon figures.  The Bride of Frankenstein and the Mummy came out the following year, but neither were as big of sellers as the original four.  Some retailers carried 16″ variants, which causes confusion among collectors to this day.  These figures did away with the lighted accessories, but maintained the lighted eyes.  The electronic wailing was replaced with “life-like” laughter, moaning, roaring, and cackling, depending on the character.

In 1990, Telco debuted an intermediate line of Motion-ettes, slightly larger than the battery operated counterparts, but much smaller than the 24″ line.  These were electric-powered figures and included the aforementioned “life-like” sounds.  The Witch, Ghost, Vampire and Monster were part of this special line that is often confused with the other two on the secondary market.

To read the main article about the Telco Motion-ettes, the original animated figures of Halloween, and to learn about special figures released in the economy line, click here.

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