The Creepy Commercials Countdown!
October 21st, 2012: “Wacky Monster Writers!” (1980)
In what will be the oldest spot featured on the Creepy Commercials Countdown, get a load of the Wacky Monster Writers – a set of three horrific ballpoint pens!
The commercial was still airing by 1980, but from what I can tell, the pens actually debuted in the ’70s. Makes sense, because if you’ve seen toy commercials from the ‘70s, this one will immediately remind you of their simpler, goofier vibe.
These things are way out of my geeky comfort zone, and until Larry donated the commercial, I’d never even heard of them. I’m far from alone in my unfamiliarity, as online mentions of the Wacky Monster Writers are nearly nonexistent.
Making matters worse is the commercial. It had a catchy tune and a kid doing a cheesy vampire impression, but it wasn’t terribly clear in describing what the pens were. Miraculously, one was sold on eBay a while back, and I see no issue in stealing the auction images for archival purposes:
From what I gather (and I’m very sketchy on the exact specifics), each pen’s “barrel” had a plastic monster — or a plastic trinket associated with the monster — trapped inside. When you used the pen, an additional, spookier liquid would flow over everything, representing the creature, or at least the specific type of ooze that he preferred to swim around in. I don’t know, it was over thirty years ago.
The one shown above was named “Mushy Martian.” In this case, the ooze WAS the monster, which attacked a plastic spaceship. Rounding out the trio was “Creep of the Deep” and “Dracublob.” The package art representations of each monster were a hundred times cooler than the actual pens, depicting them as half-solid, half-liquid murderers with mean faces and undefined feet.
I’ll end the history lesson there, as I’m admittedly not the right person to teach it. The real reason I’m including the Wacky Monster Writers is because they had a killer commercial:
When you see toy commercials parodied on shows like Family Guy, they’re usually taking aim at the ’70s. In that decade’s toy ads, you constantly saw kids freak out over nothing. Children were directed to act like they’d just received a brand new puppy, no matter how simple the toys were, and no matter how ridiculous it looked. So, the kids in this ad, who do slow-mo “wows” and practically grow teary at the sight of ballpoint pens, fit right in.
Even if I can’t precisely pinpoint how they worked or what the goop inside was supposed to “be,” I’m still intrigued, and I hereby add “own a Wacky Monster Writer” to my bucket list. It’s a little late for this year’s Countdown, but if I’m still doing this next year – and God knows, I will be – I’ll see if I can dig one up for a full review.
Until then, let’s just sit here and play the commercial jingle over and over again, until it’s glued to our brains and driving us mad.
“You can write – to a friend – with the Mushy Martian Pen!”
Careful, guys. It really will get stuck there.