For Our Consideration: In the 1960s, Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolf Man came for your kids

For kids who grew up in the late ’60s through the mid-’70s, as the song says, every day was Halloween. That decade’s span saw a strange, relatively short, yet concerted effort to sell monsters—specifically the Universal Studios trio of Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolf Man, in all their various forms—directly to children.

With the benefit of hindsight, it’s kind of a peculiar idea. As an A.V. Club primer pointed out a few years ago, the 1930s and ’40s saw the definitive versions of these three horror-movie mainstays created in Universal movies designed explicitly to scare people. Of course, even then, they had some sympathetic elements: James Whale’s Frankenstein, its monster personified by Boris Karloff, had a sort of childlike innocence. Bela Lugosi’s gothic version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula came across as a tortured romantic. Lon Chaney Jr. in 1941’s The …

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