October 17, 2006


We've reached the halfway point of this roller coaster ride of a countdown. Between now and number one there's a commendable line-up of skeletons awaiting to haunt you. No filler, just calcium enriched goodness. But first, lets take a moment to dip into the mailbag.
This letter comes all the way from Livingston, Texas. It says..

Dear Casey,
When I was a boy my father and I traveled our great nation with a small carnival. We ran a portable dark ride called the "Geisterhaus" which means something like "Ghost House" in Germany. It folded neatly into a tractor trailer that was driven by our good pal Mickey. The ride scared those teenage punks to death, and we all know they deserved it for crying out loud.
My pop didn't have a lot of cash for babbysitters or nothing so he'd just put me in our spook ride for hours and hours every night. It was real scary at first but I got real brave over time. I didn't have no friends so I ended up becoming best buds with this skeleton that I named Gordon. He wore a ratty cloak, and we were closer than brothers. (we even fought sometimes just like brothers)
Well, my pop has come on hard times lately and he had to sell that old Ghost House along with Gordon too. Some ******* teenager got out of his carriage and got shocked and he sued my father for all he had. So anyway I'd like to dedicate one of your skeletons to my dear old dad. His name is Monty. And it would be extra special if you had one that wore a cloak or something.

By the way, I'm writing this from prison.

Chris Wulliman
Inmate #
Polunsky Prison
Livingston, Texas

You got it Chris! Moving up the charts to the number fifteen slot, it's... skeleton number fifteen!
Monty, this one's for you!

Era: 1970s
Glow-in-the-Dark?: Technically yes- his head is a flashlight
Place of Origin: Toys "R" Us
Rib Count: Unknown (covered in shrouds)
Celebrity Look-alike: Zippy the pinhead
Description: You read it correctly, his head is equipped with a light bulb. Why, you ask? Because there's an ink pen pointing out of his skull, and the light enables you to write in the dark!! Please take a moment to wrap your mind around it all.

So one might assume this fact would grant him "ultimate skeleton" status in my mind. In truth, his existence only places ideas in my head concerning the unmet potential of toy skeletons in general. For instance, why didn't they at least embed a digital clock in his chest? Why doesn't he play MP3s? Why don't his hands contain vaccine for minor diseases?
Additional Info: A word to both current and future parents.. if you and your spouse ever drop the kids off at their grandma's on your way to an exciting day trip in Tulsa and later return to find that your son is irritable, angry and making accusations of abandonment.. the above item is guaranteed to eliminate any bitterness harbored by the youngster.
Cause of Death: Dead battery
Rating: 8.6


HarveyMidnight said...

This is the hands-down the best skeleton in your countdown so far!!

Metal head with a spike on top... plus it lights up? Totally cool. The ONLY negative thing I could say deals with the green shroud he's wearing. And I do realize now, that it is a shroud...

... but...

...when I first saw him I thought he was supposed to be an asparagus.

Smurfwreck said...

Oh man. This is a pretty darn cool skeleton. When I was younger (hell, probably now too) one of the best accessories a toy or what ever could have was a removable helmet or some type of headgear. G.I. Joe backpacks? Eh, all right, but a Stormtrooper Luke with detachable helmet? Awesome. Lando in skiff gear with removable mask? The coolest. (Yeah, I was a Lando kid...)

Anyway, I know it's a pen and all, and it's not uncommon for pens to have pen caps, but this makes the skeleton cool, like he would be welcome sitting at a table drinking an ice cold Colt 45 with Lando in skiff gear. Yeah.

Devlin Thompson said...

I'm pretty sure that this guy is a bit older than you think, more like 1978/79, because I believe that he came out simultaneously with the Cylon pen like this. I had one at the time, but my current one was found still on the shelf at Lionel Play World in Atlanta during their final death throes in '91 or '92. He sure is something...I really don't see why he was such a slow seller.

gugon said...

I agree, this is an excellent skeleton. And I also thought he was supposed to be an asparagus - or dressed up as an asparagus for Halloween. (Does the ink smell funny?)

Man, I would have loved this as a kid! Who am I kidding? I'd buy it NOW! Use it at work.

Are the arms bendy?

Todd Franklin said...

I’m with the others, as I too thought this one was the skeletal remains of an asparagus!

Kirk D. said...

I'm glad to see this one is so pleasing to all. I almost saved him til later, but I've been putting up such junky ones lately and I wanted to inject some quality at the mid point.

Ha! Harvey you called it. I guess they didn't do any test marketing because it's evident that people would have cried Asparagus right off the bat.
I always thought it looked like a candle. A rather unfortunate body design indeed.

Smurf, I'm with you on the detachable headgear. In addition to the ones you mentioned Leia as Boush and Zartan with his fake face come to mind.

Devlin, I'll bet you're right that he was made in the 70s.
(I've seen the Battlestar pens you speak of too.) I received him in the very early 80s (heck, maybe it WAS the 70s) and he had a clearance sticker on him so he'd probably been on the shelf for a while.
I'll adjust the entry.

Gugon ha, the ink smells normal.
His arms are not bendy, but they are articulated at the shoulder so they raise in an 'I dream of Jeannie' fashion.

He also has a base that I recently saw in my garage. Nothing too great, has a stone pattern.

I'm struggling to remember where, but I could swear that I saw this exact skeleton pen/light repackaged in a crappy 90s Photoshopped blistercard a few years ago. So he may still be out there on store shelves!

Rozum said...

This is a great skeleton. I didn't think of an asparagus, but did think it was a candle at first.

It's a nice break from all the traditional, albeit deformed, skeletons that you've posted so far.

Xopl said...

My grandma who lives in Round Lake, MN bought me and my brother one of these green skeleton flashlights years ago. Wow.

Flashfink! said...

I'm wondering if the letter from Chris Wulliman is for real or not, but I DID once ride a dark ride called Geisterhaus here in Vancouver, Canada in the '70s. The front of it had a big painting of Frankenstein copied from the Aurora model box. I can't remember much about what was on the inside, but at one point the cars would emerge onto the roof where the riders would be menaced by somebody wearing a rubber monster mask. The whole thing was small as far as these rides go and looked as though it could be easily dismantled and transported to other locales.

Kirk D. said...

I'm glad you're pleased with it Rozum.

xopl- what a cool grandma you had! These must have been a popular gift among relatives.

Flashfink- the letter is fictional
but it seemed appropriate since countdowns always have dedications, and for some reason many of them are written from prison.
But how cool that it's so true-to-life! Another case of Halloween magic.
I didn't know there was a real Geisterhaus, I based the name on the fact that they call them Ghost Trains in Germany (Geisterbahn)

Two years ago in Seattle I did see a dark ride with a rendidtion of the Aurora Frankenstein painted on, but the cars didn't go on the roof.

Flashfink! said...

Now that I think about it,the ride I rode on was called GEISTERBAHN and not GEISTERHAUS. At the time I was familiar with the word "poltergeist" , so I figured the first part of the name meant "ghost" but I didn't know what "bahn" could possibly mean. It must have been before I had heard about the autoBAHN.

Kirk D. said...

The only reason I know them as Geisterbahns is because there's a cool HO scale ghost train made by Vollmer that I used to bid on. (I must blog about it) I used babblefish and it said Geisterbahn means 'torture chamber' (of all things) and just bahn translated to 'course'which makes sense with the autobahn and all.
Boy these skeletons make us so smart.

da_boatswain@yahoo.com said...

What is this skeleton pen called? I had one of these as a kid and I loved the thing. I've been trying to find one for my daughter but I can't remember what it was called so I can search for it.

Kirk D. said...

da boats- I wish I could tell you, but I can't remember what it was called. If I come across it I'll see if it has any markings. Good luck in your search.

Ilsa Seib said...

Dang - I had this as a kid and I miss it!

I need to buy a replacement...

navshark@hotmail.com said...

I remember having one of these as a kid myself. I think the name was on the base, but I can't remember if it was stamped on the bottom or on the sides.