It’s another slow week for fans of classic television. In fact, it’s a slow week for television on DVD in general. The TVShowsOnDVD.com release schedule that I use shows only seven new releases compared to 26 last Tuesday. One of those seven releases is Monster Squad, a Saturday morning live-action kids’ show (not to be confused with the 1987 movie of the same name) that ran from 1976-1977 on NBC.
Monster Squad starred future The Love Boat regular (and later a member of the U.S. House of Representatives) Fred Grandy as Walt, the night watchman at a wax museum. Walt builds a device that somehow brings three of the wax figurines to life. Those three just happen to be classic monster movie characters: Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman.
The now contrite monsters decide to fight crime together as the Monster Squad. Walt would dispatch them to face off against bad guys and they’d go off and battle all manner of villains. A total of thirteen half-hour episodes were produced and repeated during the 1976-1977 season. Monster Squad premiered on Saturday. September 11th, 1976 and aired from 10:30-11AM as part of NBC’s Saturday line-up.
The previous evening (Friday, September 10th) the network aired a half-hour special titled “The Great Smilin’ Saturday Morning Parade” hosted by Freddie Prinze. It included a parade at the Magic Mountain amusement park in Los Angeles. In addition to Grandy, Monster Squad starred Henry Polic II as Dracula, Buck Kartalian as Wolfman and Michael Lane as Frankenstein.
Critic Lee Margulies, reviewing the 1976 Saturday morning field in kids’ television for The Los Angeles Times, called Monster Squad a “potential parent-pleaser” . The Chicago Tribune‘s Lee Winfrey wrote that “the dialog was light and amusing and the acting, including Henry Polic II as Dracula, matched that on many prime-time sitcoms I’ve seen” .