In 1964 the Ideal Toy Company came out with what would become the “Holy Grail” collectible for monster toy collectors.
The Ideal Monster Lab was first introduced in 1964, and made its first public appearance on the Magilla Gorilla T.V. show. According to Popular Mechanics magazine in December of 1964, “Opponents try to keep the monster away from their end of the Monster Lab as buttons make him walk back and forth. If he reaches either end of the lab, he raises his arms, emits a growl and the mask over his face drops off.”
At the time, Monster Lab cost a whopping $16.00. The toy measures 27 inches long with the monster standing 9 ¾ inches and requires two D batteries. The box is 29” x 11 ½” x 7” and touts the “game” as “A contest of spooky suspense.”
The “game” was very popular when it first came out. Its popularity didn’t last long though, after the game proved to be too much of a game of chance rather than skill. To make the monster stop advancing towards your side of the “lab” you had to turn the knob at the exact right time. If your timing was off, you lost.
It has been suggested that the rarity of this “game” is because it was a disappointment, and people didn’t feel the need to hang on to it.