Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Freddy In Space Exclusive Oh Lantern Family Update!

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You may recall that back in October of 2011 I posted the above photo here on Freddy In Space, wondering if anyone could help me identify this pumpkin decoration.  This thing has been in my family since I was a kid, and I've always wondered where it came from, and what its story is.
 
About an hour later, I received the answer to my prayers, which led to me making another post soon thereafter.  Turns out the pumpkin dude was from a line called The Oh Lantern Family (his name is James), foam human faced pumpkins that were sculpted by movie makeup artist Todd Masters and put out by 'Pumpkin Productions' in the late 1980's.  Suddenly, in a flash, a life's worth of curiosity was put to rest, and my quest for more information about James and his family was set forth.
 
The reason I'm making this post here tonight is because a couple days ago, I received a comment on that post I made back in 2011, from a man by the name of Nate Herget.  Turns out Nate's dad Harry was one of the marketing men behind the Oh Lantern Family line, and he dropped his e-mail at the end of the comment, should I want to talk further about the Oh Lanterns.  Of course, I jumped at the opportunity to learn more, and had a nice little chat with Nate, wherein he informed me of a couple different Oh Lantern products that I never knew about.
 
If anyone else is as interested in the Oh Lantern Family as I, here's what Nate had to say, along with some pictures he sent my way, which I had never before seen!
 
 My dad was the last of four men responsible for the line; Todd Masters, Jack Erker, another man whom I can't remember his name (Bob Williams), and then my father.  It took me looking on the internet for a day or two and talking to my dad to get all the facts straight.  It had been 25 years since those things had crossed my mind.

     I found out that Todd had made 30 original heads to send to studios to try and get some gigs for movies.  Instead he received 29 replies for orders.  Somehow he got in touch with some business guys, Jack and the other man, to start to produce them.  Jack, being from Jonesboro, AR (and us as well), knew my dad and knew he was in the marketing business and approached him to come up with the names (which Todd helped also) and then the stories behind the OLF and each of its members (so in other words, everything on the tag that came with them was almost all my dad, Harry Herget).

 
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(The large ones are the ultra rare grandparentsCLICK HERE to see the whole image, which shows off every Oh Lantern Family pumpkin released, including the babies!)
 
     They sold the originals in 1987 and then came out with the babies and the 'Pumpkinify Yo'Sef' kit in 1988.  Todd also did 2 grandparents (which are rather large) and auctioned them off for charity (we still have one and from what I hear they are VERY rare).  I do not have a Pumpkinifiy box but I do have a newspaper article with my dad and me in the picture (when I was 10), with my orange face paint and all that good stuff.  You can get a glimpse of the box on my dad's desk and can almost actually read the lettering.

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(click to make bigger, so you can read the text better!)
 
     Unfortunately the empire came down due to lawsuits (which, I believe, led to the company going bankrupt).  I don't know if it was internal bickering or if it was trademarks?  There were knock offs that came out shortly after.  I didn't keep any of our originals or babies due to us having them around the house constantly.  I remember giving most of my pencil toppers to my classmates because we had boxes of those things.  Hind sight is always 20/20 I guess.  Todd even came to Jonesboro and autographed one of my pencil toppers! I wonder what that would have been worth?  Oh well, this has been so fun getting to go back 25 years and relive some really neat memories.

     I knew the business did well for two years but I didn't realize, because I was too young, how popular these things were and continue to be.  If you have any more questions I would be more than glad to find out or do some research.
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So cool.  Had never known about the Pumpkinify Yo'Sef kit, or the grandparents, and I'm pretty certain that the pictures Nate shared with me are being seen here on the internet for the very first time, right here on Freddy In Space.  So that makes me super happy.  Hopefully someone who had the same childhood questions as me about these things will stumble upon this post and the one I made back in 2011, and be filled with nostalgic glee.  That's what it's all about!
 
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Nate mentioned Oh Lantern pencil toppers in his e-mail, and I did manage to actually find the above image of one of them, which is pictured next to an Oh Lantern wax candle.  That image comes courtesy of the site The Collector Gene, who did a nice post about the Oh Lantern Family this past October.  Check it out, if you haven't yet had your Oh Lantern fill for the night.  Some nice photos in there!
 
A search for 'Oh Lantern Family' on eBay turns up only two results, which gives you an idea of how hard these things are to come by.  So glad my family hung onto James, all these years! 
 
I plan on staying in touch with Nate and if I should learn any more, I will of course post further updates! 

2 comments:

AllHallowSteve said...

I just learned about Oh Lanterns a month or so ago and was doing some research just now to learn more about them and POOF... here I am back at Freddy in Space.

Nice post and congrats on the "internet exclusive" on this!

Paul B said...

I made the Happy Halloween all characters shot, and took that photo on my front porch. It was only really meant for the Facebook page. if you would like more shots of the grandparents let me know.