Howling Home Depot: Werewolf Motionette

1

Home Depot always has a fang-tastic selection of Halloween decorations, and this year is no exception.  But, perhaps, the greatest offering this year is a new spin on a blast from the past.  For the past few years, Home Depot has carried a line of 3-foot animated Halloween figures, very similar to the Telco Motionettes of Halloween.  While the designs have always been fun and creative, one piece really stands out this year…  The Werewolf!

Home Depot Werewolf

Home Depot Werewolf

 

This figure has an awesome design, great movement, and an eerie howling soundtrack.  Its fierce lighted eyes and moving jaw really make this a one-of-a-kind piece, earning it the Big Scare’s “Best Halloween Decoration of 2017” award.  Check out the action shots of the figure below and tell us what you have found in stores that has you excited…

 

Advertisements

The Greatest Halloween Packaging of All Time

1

In the history of mass-produced Halloween decorations, there have been many remarkable boxes and packages that have housed decorations both stellar and less-than-stellar.  However, there is no artwork that matches this beautifully macabre scene.

SONY DSC

Behold the morbid and the macabre!  What sort of heinous decoration could be housed in such a gruesome box?  There are bats, skeletons, zombie hands, graves, mausoleums, and spider webs…  and this is only the bottom of the box!

SONY DSC

Gruesome Ghoul Artwork

Gah!  Look at that drooling ghoul in his eternal shroud!  And what is that, a toppled cross below him?  This must really be some sort of sick and demented decoration.  But wait!  There’s more!

SONY DSC

Gruesome Ghoul Artwork

This must be the grimmest of reapers!  Look at that snake protruding from his eye socket!   He’s even wearing another serpent as a scarf!  Could whatever is inside this box be as terrifying as this?  Could it ever live up to the utter fear that this image inspires?

Believe it or not, this packaging is from a company called Funny Toys.  Funny Toys.  There doesn’t seem to be anything funny about this box.  Perhaps they should’ve called themselves “Great Packaging” instead.  Okay.  Okay.  You have waited long enough.  Here’s the big reveal, the “funny toy” that was inside of this petrifying packaging…

SONY DSC

1990 Funny Toys “Spooky Coffin” Animated Figure

 

Behold the Spooky Coffin, released in 1990!  For 1990, this probably was a pretty gruesome Halloween decoration: a miniature coffin, a vampire rising from it, creepy creaking sounds, menacing music playing, and evil laughter.  Taking all that into consideration, it was pretty advanced for its time.  One thing is for certain, they don’t make ’em like they used to…  And that includes the packaging!

 

The Best Halloween Decoration of 2016: Target’s Raven Clock

0

So what is the best Halloween decoration of 2016?  Well, there are certainly a lot of great ones out there.  But taking price, size, and novelty into consideration, The Big Scare has decided the title of “Best Halloween Decoration” for the year 2016 goes to The Clock of Doom from Tekky Toys.  Available at Target, this spooky clock houses a talking raven who predicts doom for all who pass his way.  When activated, the minute hand spins, the clock face lights up blood red, and a talking raven’s head emerges from inside the clockworks.  The bird gives an ominous warning and then retreats back inside its haunted home.

SONY DSC

Target’s Clock of Doom

 

It’s a throwback to an earlier, simpler, yet more elegant type of Halloween.  More in line with the decorations of All Hallows’ past than the overwrought blood and gore of today, it really is a unique piece perfect for any home or haunt.  It also reminds us here at The Big Scare of The Munsters’ own spooky, kooky cookoo clock.  Retailing at $25.00, it’s the perfect price and size for any Halloween enthusiast.

Spook Spotter: Grave Surprises, Franken-Families and More!

0

Big Scare spook spotter

Ghastly Greetings, Boils and Ghouls!   We’re baaaaaaaaaaaack with some of the best products available for purchase this Halloween season.

The following does not constitute an endorsement of any product or retailer.   It is for information purposes only.

Grave Solution

Hands down, the best tabletop animated Halloween prop available this year can be found at The Home Depot.  (A similar prop is also available at CVS).  Behold, the rising Grim Reaper and tombstone!

SONY DSC

Rising Grim Reaper Tabletop Animation

This beautiful, animated table-top piece is reminiscent of the old Telco Motion-ettes and the 1990s Gemmy line of animated figures.  It features a Grim Reaper that pops up from inside a gravestone.  When you push the button or make a loud sound, the Reaper will rise from the grave and utter eerie phrases of doom, accompanied by a soundtrack of haunting music and crashing thunder.  Not only do the Reaper’s eyes illuminate, the tombstone also puts on a fairly elaborate light show, probably intended to be lightning to go with all of that scary thunder.

There are also some other great items out there that we feel you have to know about, including a set of Wilton candy cake decorations featuring Frankenstein, the Bride, and their family.  These can be purchased at Target.  Another must-mention item is the Halloween party plate and napkin set that is available for purchase at Rite Aid.  Check ’em out!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And let us know what cool products you have found this year by leaving a message in the creepy Comments section below!

Telco Halloween Motion-ettes Price Guide

33
All Fair Market Value ranges are based upon the final selling 
prices of Motion-ette figures on the secondary market for a 
ten-year time period (2003 - 2013).  Prices reflect average 
ranges for figures sold, online and offline, in excellent 
condition with original boxes. 

No official guide has ever been created for Fair Market 
Values. So, during the ten years we researched the Halloween 
Motion-ettes, we kept a log of final selling prices for 
various figures in the Telco line.  We created a range using 
our recorded statistics.  These prices are based on our 
collected data and should only be used as one resource when 
determining a fair price for a particular animated figure.  

Please note that the following list is not a complete price guide.
Certain figures and variations are not included.  It is intended for
information purposes only.  For more information on the  Telco 
Motion-ettes, please visit our Collector's Guide and FAQ. 

Fair Market Values for the 18" Line of Halloween Motion-ettes

Most of the 18" battery-operated Motionettes, in excellent
condition with original box, sell anywhere between $15.00 and 
$35.00 with the exception of the Universal Studios Mummy, the 
rarest figure in the 18" line.  The Beastman also sells for more.

Fair Market Values for the 24" Line of Halloween Motion-ettes

Witch:
Original Witch with jack-o'-lantern: $35.00 - $65.00
Glow-Head Witch: $35.00 - $75.00
Witch Casting Spell: $175.00 - $300.00
Flying Wicked Witch:  $150.00 - $250.00

Vampire:
Original Vampire with skull: $35.00 - $65.00
Vampire with bat: $100.00 - $150.00
Glow-Head Vampire: $100.00 - $125.00

Monster:
Original Monster with metal lantern: $100.00 - $175.00
Monster with plastic lantern: $40.00 - $75.00
Glow-Head Monster: $100.00 - $125.00

Ghosts and Phantoms:
Original Ghost: $300.00 - $500.00
Pumpkin Ghost: $150.00 - $250.00
Phantom of the Opera: $150.00 - $250.00

Skeletons and Death:
Skeleton with top hat and varying accessory: $350.00 - $700.00
Glow-Head Grim Reaper (Mr. Bones): $125.00 - $250.00
Masque of the Red Death: $150.00 - $250.00
Haunting Skeleton: * - **

Scarecrow:
Original Cloth Scarecrow:  $300.00 - $600.00
1988 Plastic Scarecrow:  $400.00 - $600.00

Creatures:
Devil with glowing eyes: $500.00 - $750.00
Bat with glowing eyes:  $75.00 - $150.00
Bat with bug eyes:  $150.00 - $250.00
Werewolf with glowing eyes:  $550.00 - $850.00
Werewolf with bug eyes:  $800 - **
Green Werewolf (Beast Man):  $75.00 - $150.00
Gorilla - $800 - **

Universal Studios Monsters:
Universal Monsters Frankenstein: $100.00 - $150.00
Universal Monsters Dracula: $100.00 - $150.00
Universal Monsters Wolf Man: $100.00 - $150.00
Universal Monsters Creature from the Black Lagoon: $500.00 - **
Universal Monsters Bride of Frankenstein: $450.00 - $650.00
Universal Monsters Mummy: $1500.00 - **

*Indicates a lack of data for an accurate low-end price 
** Indicates a lack of data for an accurate high-end price

Telco Halloween Motion-ettes FAQ

15
Editor’s Note:  Below are some of the most common questions we have received about the Halloween Motion-ettes.  This article is a sub-article of The Motion-ettes of Halloween Collector’s Guide.  Please review the Guide before reading the FAQ.
 

The Big Scare BG_alt Q: What’s the big deal about Telco?  Why not create a guide for Topstone or early Gemmy Halloween figures?

A: The Big Scare has plans to produce, at least, one article focusing on the other brands of tabletop animation.  The reason we started with Telco is because, as a company, its offerings were extremely expansive, yet incredibly underdocumented. Twenty-five years later, there is a lot of confusion about the line and very little information.  This has led to misunderstandings in the worlds of collectors and Halloween enthusiasts alike.  While the folks behind The Big Scare own relatively few Motion-ettes, we love their charms and the fact that they represent a simpler time in the world of Halloween.  We have spent the past decade gathering information, comparing photos, and assembling a cohesive history of the line.  To us, it was an endeavor worth the while.

Q: My Telco Halloween Motion-ette is dated 1987 (or 1986).  That’s all I need to know about the year oskeleton glowf its release, right?

A: Unfortunately, no.  Simply because your Motion-ette is dated 1987 (or 1986) doesn’t mean it is from that year.  Telco was notorious for stamping misleading dates on Motion-ette heads, hands, and boxes.  1986 refers to the creation of the Halloween line, while 1987 simply refers to the (true) national launch of the Halloween figures and the introduction of a particular body type.  All Motion-ettes of Halloween are somehow tied to 1986 or 1987.  If your figure has a 1986 or 1987 date, it most likely isn’t from that year… especially if it’s a bug-eyed Devil or a Green Werewolf (Beastman).  Neither was released until years later.  But that’s why we created the Motion-ettes guide!

Q:  I found a Motion-ette that has a very different costume from the ones I see pictured on this site.  Did I stumble upon a rare figure?

A: All  images in our guide are photographs of archival catalog and stock images, intended to educate Halloween enthusiasts on what the actual original products looked like.  So, chances are, if your figure has a different costume from what is outlined in the guide, you probably stumbled upon an imposter, at least a partial imposter.  Motion-ettes were released at a time when crafting was still at its height. Crafters and hobbyists found Motion-ettes to be quite enchanting — not for their factory-born charms, but for the possibilities of modification and re-sale.  Many times, Motion-ette figures were given new costumes, new accessories, or additional lighting features after they were purchased.  They were then re-sold at craft fairs for higher prices.  So, yes, your Motion-ette find is indeed rare.  It’s one of a kind!  But don’t go thinking that makes it better than an original Motion-ette.  In fact, that probably would appeal less to most collectors.  But the only thing that really matters is that you like it!  Many of the Motion-ettes altered by hobbyists are very well done.

Q: I have a figure that has a nearly identical color scheme to the Motion-ettes in the guide, but the face is sculpted a bit differently, and the accessory is one I didn’t see pictured or mentioned in the collector’s guide.  Is it a Telco?

A: Probably n1987 skullot.  It could very well be an EPI animated figure.  In fact, we here at The Big Scare are still trying to pinpoint the make of certain lookalikes, especially the ones that really look like they could be Telco Motion-ettes but don’t have any of the standard accessories.  The accessories make for one of the best ways to determine the brand of your animated monster.  If your figure has the regular skull, the rectangular lantern, or this blow mold pumpkin, it’s probably a Telco, although the pumpkin was also used by lookalike companies.  The cobra, crazy bat, and threatening cat blow mold accessories are also extremely indicative that yours is indeed a Telco Motion-ette.

 Q:  I see a lot of these Motion-ettes listed for high prices on [a popular online auction site].  These prices seem a bit excessive to me.  Is there a conclusive list of fair market values for the Halloween Motion-ettes?

A:  No official guide has ever been created, but, during our ten years of research, we kept a log of final selling prices for various figures in the Telco line.  We created a range using our recorded statistics.  You can find the average price ranges for popular figures in our Telco Halloween Motion-ettes Price Guide.  Please note that these prices are based on our collected data and should only be used as one resource when determining a fair price for a particular animated figure.

Have a question?  Ask it in the comments section, and it could appear above in our official (and ever-growing) Q&A.

Telco Motion-ettes of Halloween: History and Collector’s Guide

8

Overview:

Photograph of Telco Box ArtBefore the late 1980s, Halloween decorating was mostly comprised of putting up ceramic jack-o’-lanterns, cardboard cutouts of ghosts, and the occasional lighted blow mold.  But, in 1986, one company developed an idea that forever changed the way haunters decorated their homes, for that was the year when Telco Creations introduced a revolutionary concept to the witching season: animation.  Nowadays, Americans take for granted that they can walk into any store to purchase an animatronic figure to “frighten up” their All Hallows’ displays.  Before Telco, that would have been impossible.  Telco Creations was renowned for its innovative Christmas decorations, and it only seemed an appropriate next step to tackle Halloween.  Thus, the Original Telco Motion-ettes of Halloween were born: the Witch, the Ghost, and the Scarecrow.  The line immediately expanded to include the Monster and the Vampire characters, as well as the Skeleton in the top hat.  Each tabletop figure stood 24” tall, sized to be reminiscent of the motorized holiday window displays for which department stores had always been known.  They featured head and arm movement, as well as illumination, and were powered by electricity.

Telco Bat _BigScare

By 1987, Telco Creations had introduced its line-up of groovy ghouls nationwide in retailers like  Woolworth and Kmart.  By 1988, the catalog was even more expansive, even including smaller (18″), battery-operated versions of the figures, each of which had lighted eyes and a spooky sounds.  (An intermediate line of figures followed.) The characteristics of the larger Motion-ettes morphed over time to include additional features like lighted heads and “life-like” audio.  In 1992, Telco joined forces with Universal Studios to create officially licensed monster Motion-ettes.  After this release, the larger, electric figures were phased out.  However, the smaller, battery-operated Halloween figures remained in stores through the end of the century.  This guide is intended to help you understand the development of the Motion-ette line and identify certain figures you may have seen.  If your question isn’t answered here, it may be addressed in our Telco Halloween Motion-ettes FAQ.  You may also be interested in our Fair Market Value Guide based upon our ten-year observations.

Editor’s Note:  The images on this page are archival images, many of which are over 25 years old.  In some cases, there are obvious defects in our particular copies of the images.  The Big Scare has done its best to present the best quality Telco stock, promotional, and catalog images for your reference, so as to provide you with the most accurate depiction of the products.  All information and images on this page are for educational purposes.

The Original Motion-ettes of Halloween

The first Telco Halloween figures are uniquely different from those that followed.  While all early Telco figures featured electric power, motion, and an accessory (usually illuminated), the first wave included figures with single-arm motion as opposed to the more common double-arm movement.  The figures were activated by a red button on the base, as opposed to the more common cord rotary switch.  Furthermore, the figures had a glossier, shinier finish.

Their accessories were also less standardized and, in the case of the Monster, more elegant.  Unlike later versions, the first Monster came equipped with a metal lantern.  Other differences include a more Karloffian head-sculpt and a lighter costume.  The other figure that experienced a major overhaul from its initial incarnation was the Ghost.  The first release looked like the classic “bed sheet” ghoul.  Later on, this spook received a glowing jack-o’-lantern head.  Its lighted skull accessory was also replaced with a cat (which was illuminated in some figures and not in others).  The Scarecrow later received a set of plastic arms and a sculpted head, though the cloth version returned for a brief stint in 1989.  The Skeleton only experienced a change of accessories.  For the most part, the design of the original Witch remained unchanged throughout the entire run of the line, as did that of the original Vampire.  While materials changed and additional features were added, these two were the most steadfast figures in the whole series, though it should be noted that the Vampire was given a range of accessories in addition to the traditional skull and later received a “glowing head.”

Awful Accessories

The Telco series of animated figures was unique in the fact that its figures had a variety of accessories.  The most commonly used accessories were skulls, pumpkins, plastic lanterns, and cats.  However, broomsticks, canes, pitchforks, and crows/ravens were also added to certain figures.  The most unique accessories would have to be the Witch’s crystal ball and the hard plastic bats and cobras (snakes).  The bat accessories were actually modeled after Telco’s own animated bat figure.

Chilling Changes

Devil Regular Head Sculpt - Telco Stock ImageBy the time 1988 rolled around, Telco had given most of its original characters makeovers, and it added new designs to the mix.  The Vampire Bat, “Wolfman” (Werewolf), Gorilla, and Devil all made their debuts in the 1988 catalog.  Each of these figures included a feature new to 24″ Motion-ettes: lighted eyes.  Depending on the character, the eyes either glowed red or orange.  In addition, Kmart carried an exclusive Witch (with an alternate head sculpt) and the Phantom of the Opera that year.  Both were distributed to other retailers the following year.  1988 was also the year that Telco introduced a feature that would later become a staple of the Halloween line: glowing heads.  The first figure to feature a fully illuminated head was the newly-designed Ghost Motion-ette.  His plastic jack-o’-lantern head turned side to side, while glowing bright orange.

From Bug Eyes to Glowing Heads: Telco Grows Up

 By 1989, Telco continued to expand its character offerings, introducing new characters such as the “Flying Wicked Witch” and a Grim Reaper.  And while the original six characters remained unaltered from the previous year’s makeover, the 1988 additions each received a new treatment.

The g1989 MAD DEVILlo1989 MAD WEREWOLFwing eyes on the Devil, Wolfman, and Vampire Bat were all replaced with sculpted eyes, though the resulting “bug eyes” made the characters look “crazed” and “mad,” making these versions less popular than the former glowing-eyed figures and far more rare on the secondary market.  While the glowing-eyed beasts can be purchased rather easily, the bug-eyed monsters don’t show up that often, and, when they do, they generally sell for 1.5 to 2 times the amount of their lighted-eye counterparts.  The Devil and Wolfman later received glowing heads.

In fact, in 1990, all of the Halloween Motion-ettes debuted with fully illuminated heads.  To make the new technology work, most of the figures’ heads were re-cast in lighter-colored plastic.  The Vampire and the Phantom of the Opera were now extremely pale, the Monster was now molded in yellow, and the Wolfman became green.  (This green “Wolfman” was later renamed the “Beast Man.”)  The Witch saw no change, which made the feature rather ineffective.  An alternate Witch also received the “glow” treatment.  Additionally, a new character was added to the catalog, this one based on the 1925 Universal picture, The Phantom of the Opera.  The figure was named “Red Death,” after the sequence in the film and the character in the Edgar Allan Poe short story.  By 1991, Telco streamlined its output, reducing the Halloween offerings to the glowing versions of the Witch, Vampire, Monster, and the Grim Reaper character (which now adopted the “Skeleton” moniker).  In its final effort to innovate, Telco added “life-like” sounds to its 24″ line.  The audio (usually cackling, laughing, or moaning) could be controlled by a switch on the base of the figures.

Inspirations and Imitations

The muse behind the designs of the Halloween figures has always been a bit of a mystery, but it is clear that Telco drew inspiration from  images of the classic monsters and assorted Halloween toys that were available at the time.  For example, comparing the head sculpts of the Telco Motion-ettes to 1980s Halloween masks is an interesting exercise.  The Devil sculpt has a lot in common with the “Be Something Studios” Lucifer mask from 1980.   The argument could be made for other characters as well (albeit with different mask companies).  But no one will ever really know if Halloween masks were the references used by the Telco team.  What is clear, though, is that designs of the Monster, Vampire, and Phantom all appear to be based on the characters portrayed by Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, and Lon Chaney, Sr. respectively, making these innovative figures the first animated Halloween tributes to Horror films.

Because Telco’s idea was so successful, other companies immediately started production on their own lines of animated Halloween figures, all with the same basic features, many with eerily similar character designs, some with totally unique takes.   Competitors included Witchtime, Topstone, Rennoc (now Santa’s Best), EPI, and, of course, Gemmy — the current powerhouse in Halloween animation. Additional companies joined the holiday animation war, but they went as quickly as they came.

Something Different

By 1991, the market was so saturated with Halloween animation, Telco decided that it had to do something different.  The following year, it joined forces with Universal City Studios to create an official line of Motion-ettes modeled after the Universal Studios Monsters.  These Motion-ettes were the first ever animated Halloween figures to be licensed by a movie studio, thus inspiring a trend that would forever change Halloween decorating.

18" Universal Frankenstein (Alternate Coloring) Box ArtThe initial release of the Universal Monsters included the four main characters: Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.  All of the characters received official head sculpts and costumes.  They were produced in both electric 21″ (instead of the regular 24″) and battery-operated 18″ formats (There were also 16″ variants).  Unlike their generic predecessors, they did not have lighted accessories, but they did include sound.  They were widely available at Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Meijer stores, as well as smaller retailers.  After the success of the first line, the Bride of Frankenstein and the Mummy were added; though, by this point, Telco’s focus had shifted to the more economical battery-operated 18″ line, making the last two difficult to come by in the larger size.  The 21″ version of the Mummy is the rarest of all Motion-ette figures, though he has surfaced on the secondary market.  It should also be noted that there were two versions of the Frankenstein Monster produced.  The first release came with a bright green paint application, while the second was released in a pasty, grayish green color.

Moving Forward

With so much competition, Telco’s decision to focus on its smaller, battery-operated line was a smart one and kept the Halloween figures in stores through the end of the 1990s.  For the most part, the character offerings remained limited.  After the Universal line, Telco returned to the traditional generic characters.  The 18″ line-up included the Vampire, the Monster, the Skeleton, and two versions of the Witch.  (To read more about the small line and the intermediate line, click here.)  Telco also released a few unique takes on these characters during this time: a Witch rising from a cauldron and a Grim Reaper rising from a chair.  The latter featured some of the most technologically advanced animation in Halloween decorating to that point.  It also featured a unique soundtrack with spoken dialogue and sound effects, a huge improvement over the previous “life-like” sound.  Telco folded shortly after the start of the new century due to factory problems, but its legacy lives on and today’s Halloween animatronic manufacturers owe Telco everything for paving the way for their success.

Have a question that wasn’t addressed in this guide?  Check out our Telco Halloween Motion-ettes FAQ!