If you wore Ben Cooper costumes in the 1970’s, loved watching horror films on VHS in the 80’s and 90’s and want to dive into Halloween today then we have something for you! Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum in Burbank, CA just premiered a new exhibit on Sept. 9th where you can see rare historical Ben Cooper vintage costumes and Slashback Video’s pop up video store. I was so excited for this trip back to yester-decade/century I could hardly contain myself. Sarah and I posted the event as a group meet-up on Facebook and got friends to share our excitement.
Do you remember the days when there were mom-and-pop video stores on every street corner? Every 3rd cassette was a schlock horror film since they were extremely cheap to produce and they played well in all markets. At Mystic Museum you can step back in time (considering you were born in or before the 70’s) and revisit the golden era. Comments in the pop-up store/museum ranged from, “I saw that!” to “This film was the worst piece of (insert expletive), but I loved it!!” There were even some B-level horror films of the 90’s, many of which I worked on. For what it’s worth, I would put Puppet Master 3 at a solid B+!
But the real thrill for me was the Ben Cooper exhibit and tribute art show. We had just interviewed Ben Cooper’s nephew, Ira, who had a big hand in the success of the costume company, and artist Frank Romano on Skywalking Through Neverland so I was caught up in Ben Cooper fever. Plus, I wore many of these costumes in the 1970’s and I was eager to go back to the time when Halloween was innocent and fun before it turned into a holiday of gore.
Prominently displayed on two shelves were Star Wars masks including Darth Vader (which I wore in 1977) a Stormtrooper (I wore in 1978), Boba Fett (that was me in 1979), Chewbacca (my friend Jimmy Pruy claimed this one first) and, Princess Leia. Not only did I not wear the Leia costume, I never knew it was produced until I saw it on display. I was so ashamed!
Other costumes on display ranged from the tomato monster from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Gizmo and the gremlin from the film, Gremlins. Caesar from Planet of the Apes was there, Doctor Strange from 1978 and so many others from film, TV and comic books.
The most surprising items on display were the original molds that were used to vacuform the masks for Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz. I wish someone from the Ben Cooper company was there so I could’ve asked them how these survived after all these decades!
So many great memories in the Ben Cooper exhibit and Slashback Video retro store. If you’re in the Southern CA. area this is definitely worth checking out. It is located at 3204 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91515. The event will be running until early November for the admission price of $10 – well worth it! There are plenty of vintage shops and boutiques in walking distance so make a day of it. Happy Halloween!