Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
Created by AmToys, a
subsidiary of American Greetings,
My Pet Monster was a plush doll targeted towards boys; the first of its kind.
Designed to be simultaneously cute and terrifying, the large doll came came with bright
orange manacles that had a trick link that would allow the simulation of his
escaping from them. The manacles could also be removed and worn by kids to act
like the monster themselves.
To promote the doll,
American Greetings went all-out for a major media push by commissioning a
direct-to-video live-action special based on the toy. It was produced by Nelvana with The Global Television Network and Telefilm Canada. Also titled My Pet
Monster, the special finds young Max Smith (Sunny Besen Thrasher) being transformed
into a monster whenever he was hungry due to a strange statue in a museum. Dr.
Snyder (Colin Fox), the man who found and brought back the statues, sought to
capture Max to prove that the legends of their power were true and to validate
his work. The special was written by J.D. Smith and directed by Timothy Bond. It would be
VHS by Hi-Tops Video
with the doll in 1986.
Monster with Chuckie, Max and Jill.
The doll proved a
hit, and American Greetings sought to keep up the momentum by commissioning
Nelvana to expand the special into an animated series. However, changes were
made to the overall concept. While it still featured Max (again played by Thrasher,
although depicted as blonde and without glasses), this time Monster (Jeff
McGibbon) was a separate entity that could become an inanimate toy when magical
manacles were placed on him. The only others to know about the monster were Max’s
sister, Jill (renamed from Melanie in the special and also made blonde, but
again played by Alyson Court), and Max’s friend, Chuckie (Stuart Stone). Fox
also returned as a new character: next door neighbor Mr. Hinkle who lived with
his dog, Princess (Tracey Moore). Hinkle knew about Monster but always failed
in trying to prove he existed to others. A new antagonist was introduced in the
form of Beastur (Dan Hennessey), who came from Monsterland like Monster and sought
to drag him back home by any means. Beastur was briefly mentioned in the
special in relation to the statues.
The show actually
proved popular enough to warrant a continuation, but American Greetings felt no
need to pursue a second season at let it end after 13 episodes. The My Pet
Monster toyline continued to thrive into the early 90s, spawning dolls of various
sizes, spin-off characters and other merchandise like books,
boxes and puzzles,
until the appeal had run its course. In 2001, a company named ToyMax
attempted to cash in on nostalgia by releasing a new 22-inch
talking version of the doll. Somewhere along the way, My Pet Monster came into
the possession of Saban Brands and was included in the Hasbro buyout in 2018.
“Goodbye Cuffs, Goodbye Monster” (9/12/87) – Max discovers his new
monster toy is alive while another monster comes looking to bring him home.
“The Wolfmen are Coming!” (9/19/87) – Max tries to get tickets for The
Wolfmen concert while Jill’s costumes make Mr. Hinkle think there are real
wolfmen loose in the neighborhood.
“Boogie Board Blues” (9/26/87) – Max’s friends come to his aid to help
him win the Junior Boogie Board Competition.
“Rock-a-bye Babysitters / Monster Cookie Mix-Up!” (10/2/87) – Max and
Chuckie have to babysit Mr. Hinkle’s niece for Jill, and Monster wants to help.
/ Monster devours the cookies Jill baked for a charity drive and Beastur
interrupts the attempts to replace them.
“The Masked Muncher!” (10/17/87) – Chuckie and school bully Leo make a
bet for the upcoming pie-eating contest, and if Leo wins, he gets Monster.
“Runaway Monster” (10/24/87) – Monster decides to run away when he
thinks everyone forgot his birthday.
“Finders Keepers / My Poet Monster” (10/31/87) – Everyone is after
Monster when he decides to keep the stolen jewels he found. / To thank Max for
teaching him to write, Monster signs Max’s badly-graded essay so that his
mother won’t see it.
“Escape from Monsterland!” (11/7/87) – The kids and Monster end up
trapped in Monsterland.
“Little Bigfoot” (11/14/87) – The kids and Monster go camping with Mr.
Hinkle in an attempt to solve the mystery of Bigfoot.
“Monster Makes the Grade!” (11/21/87) – Intrigued by the school
elections, Monster poses as an exchange student to get involved in the process.
“Monster Movie Mayhem! / Superhero For Hire!” (12/5/87) – The kids
make a movie with Monster that accidentally gets switched with a video of a
show dog. / Monster becomes a superhero and fights crime.
“Gorilla My Dreams” (12/12/87) – Beastur crashes the gang’s trip to
“The Monster Hunter” (12/19/87) – Not only does Monster have to evade
Beastur, but a monster hunter that’s looking for him.