View Issues‎ > ‎2018 Issues‎ > ‎1809 September 2018‎ > ‎

180903 September 3, 2018


 Back in My Days: Readin’
(Part Three)
Tommy Towery
LHS ‘64

    This week I continue my memories about the magazines of my youth. I did an article back in 2005 in Lee's Traveller telling about my experiences with some of the magazines I bought and read (and kept) when I was growing up in Huntsville in the Fifties and the Sixties. The main point of my story back then was the group of horror magazines which I called "monster" magazines. At the time my favorite movie genre was monster movies. I remember the many Saturdays of sitting in the Lyric Theater watching giant bugs, reptiles, and sea creatures fill the big screen in mostly black and white action. Of course there were also the classics of Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolfman, the Mummy, and Zombies galore.  Some were scary and some were funny Bud Abbot and Lou Costello offerings, but all were exciting to me. 

    Because of my love for those movies it is no wonder why I jumped on the opportunity to buy the first Famous Monsters of Filmland when it hit the racks of the Grand Newsstand.

    Famous Monsters of Filmland was originally conceived as a one-shot publication by Warren and Ackerman, published in the wake of the widespread success of the Shock Theater package of old horror movies syndicated to American television in 1957. But the first issue, published in February 1958, was so successful that it required a second printing to fulfill public demand. Its peak years were from its first issues through the late 1960s, when the disappearance of the older films from television and the decline of talent in the imaginative film industry left it with a dearth of subject matter acceptable to both editor and

    Here is the text of the 2005 story about my magazine collection:

    As a child,invest 35 cents into crude looking special interest magazines.
    Hide magazines for 46 years.
    Wait for someone to invent personal computers (the hard part).
    Wait for someone else to invent the internet and the worldwide web.
    Wait for someone to invent e-Bay and complete the architecture.
    Put magazine up for auction on e-Bay
    Sit back and watch bids start at $75 and climb.
    Sell magazine and reap hugh profits..

    It's not exactly what Dave Ramsey (Total Money Makeover) would suggest, but the above plan has sure proven to be a winner for me. I think it is ironic I kept all the textbooks from our senior year at Lee. I don't know if I thought they would ever be worth anything, but I kept them just the same.  During one of my cleaning out of storage stuff from my mom's house when we sold it a few years ago, I got rid of all of mine except for the English book that had the start of the journal written inside its pages. 

    Basically, the school books are not worth much today, except for the Dick and Jane readers, which I did not keep. What I never expected to be worth anything were the baseball cards, the comic books, and the monster magazines I bought. The baseball cards disappeared over the years, the comics got eaten up by bugs of some type, but the monster magazines somehow survived.

    When I left Huntsville the day after graduation, they and my school books went with me. When I arrived in Memphis, they went into the attic at my mother’s house. They sat there for probably ten years. On a visit home a decade later, my step-father told (not asked) me to get up in the attic and do something with those boxes of books. I opened the dusty boxes and found a stack of Boy’s Life magazines, some college textbooks, my high school text books, and a few copies of Playboy from the mid-sixties with photos of naked women in an era when the air-brush was a vital necessity to be able to publish them. But I digress. Also, I found my Famous Monsters of Filmland and my Mad magazines. 

    I had the original Number One Famous Monsters of Filmland in that stack, and it was the only one to disappear in the next 30-plus years I hauled them around from state to state and in and out of storage. I remember it had printed on it that it was a collector’s first edition or something like that, but I never really expected it to be worth anything.

    Finally, during this storage cleanout, I decided to sell the monster magazines, like I said last week. They were bought in 1958 and 1959 from the Grand News Stand, as many of you guessed. They were purchased for 35 cents each.

    Last week, I put them up for sale on e-Bay. The one that sold for the most money was issue number two. It sold for $255 when the final bid was in. All total, the nine monster magazines for which I had paid $3.15 cents total or 35 cents each, were auctioned off for a grand total of $767.51. Yes, over $750 profit! Two are still being bid on, but they are currently going for $36 for one and $15 for the other.

        Memphis, TN - I do not know what is going on with my emails to you . Last week I got over 200 of them returned saying their delivery was being delayed. I do not know for sure if anyone got the one I mailed out or not.

    Write this down on a sheet of paper and put it by your computer or table. Each Monday you can find the latest issue of the Traveller by going to
   If you do not receive a notice from me as you have in the past you can still read the latest edition by going to that web address. Hopefully the email mess with straighten itself out. I can't be the only gmail user having this problem, so I hope they are working on a solution.

A Youtube Video on Famous Monsters of Filmland

Famous Monsters of Filmland

Last Week's Question

    Thanks to Max Kull for sending the answer to last week's question about what song was inspired by the movie The Searchers. In June 1956, Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison and Sonny Curtis went to see the movie The Searchers, starring John Wayne, in which Wayne repeatedly used the phrase "that'll be the day". This line of dialogue inspired the young musicians. It was first recorded by Buddy Holly and the Three Tunes in 1956 and was re-recorded in 1957 by Holly and his new band, the Crickets. The 1957 recording achieved widespread success. 

"That'll Be The Day" - Buddy Holly

That'll be the Day - The Searchers


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Alma Mater

Ingrid Ireland

LHS '65

    I enjoy reading the newsletter,  but have never felt the calling to write anything.  However, this time I would like to respond about the Alma Mater.  I feel it was there for the first graduating class, but definitely for those graduating in 1965.  I wish I still had my program.

    This is what I remember.  An Alma Mater writing contest was held for anyone wishing to participate.  It might be that it was initiated by Mr. Jenkins because he had music for it.  However, I do know that my my good friend, Anne Chambers, entered the contest.  It was her words that were chosen.  I was so proud of her and that is probably why I have never forgotten.  I know the music and words by heart to this day.  I was too late suggesting it be sung at the 50th reunion of the Class of 1965.  Anne is a member of that class

    Thank you to Max Kull for taking me down Memory Lane.



Join the Mailing List to Receive Notification When New Issue is Available 


 Email Me