Sunday, February 21, 2016

Your own Thing: "The Crawling Hand" from Captain Company

For those times when you could use an extra hand...

This advertisement is featured in the August 1970 issue of Creepy, a magazine from Warren Publishing1 that featured serialized horror comics. (It was published as a newsstand magazine to skirt the oversight of the Comics Code Authority.)

This ad certainly fits in with the magazine's horror theme. The hand cost $4.95, plus 50 cents shipping, which is the equivalent of about $34 today. It was sold by Captain Company, based in New York City, which also hawked 8 mm film for such titles as The Blob, War of the Colossal Beast and It Came from Outer Space in the full-page ad.

The copy states:
"TURN ON the switch the watch! THE HAND comes to life! THE FINGERS flex as the hand starts to walk across the room. The large ring on the third finger sheds a light of erie [sic] horror over the room. The silent life-like plastic hand, made of latex rubber with a bandaged wrist, stalks across the room and only YOU know where it came from."

I discovered a relevant forum that was started in 2007 on the The Classic Horror Film Board. The original poster asks: "So, what cool stuff did you order through Captain Company, out of the old Warren magazines? I got many of the Warren back issues, some great iron-on transfers, books, posters, too many things to name. And, do you still have any of that stuff?"

The first response, and the best one for our discussion, states:
"The one and only item I ever ordered from Captain Company was a doozy — the disembodied 'crawling' hand, complete with jeweled ring! I'd looked at that thing many, many times in the mags and finally begged my folks to buy me one. I wasn't disappointed! It came in a box, was a mechanized wonder with a battery compartment in the bloody stump of a wrist, and actually crawled across the floor when you flicked a hidden switch. Granted, it made a whirring sound, but hey, this was 1969! The outside of the hand was a kind of flesh-colored rubber that eventually deteriorated with age. Somewhere, I still have the skeletal structure!"

You should check out the forum for the other responses and also to see a vintage photo of The Crawling Hand packaging.

1. Warren Publishing was perhaps best-known for Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.

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