Raving Toy Maniac (RTM): How did Sideshow come to the decision to make this figure? Was it a suggestion of the Chaney estate, or did Sideshow suggest it?
Tom Gilliland (TG): It was definitely our decision. Most of the Sideshow Toys Staff are devoted Monster fans to one degree or another. We have been aware of the London After Midnight character for as long as many of us remember monsters. While there is no film to see, many photos and paintings of the Lon Chaney 'Vampire' have been printed in magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland which many have read since they were children. It has always been a very striking make-up and has added mystique since the original film source no longer exsists.
RTM: Was there any doubt about fan interest in it?
TG: Our Universal Monster toys fans are very loyal and have given us a lot of positive reaction over the years. We knew they would really love this one, especially since it had never been handled in toy form before. So to answer your question: No, there was no doubt in our minds at all.
RTM: How quickly did it sell out on the Sideshow Toy site?
TG: Faster than we could have imagined. I do not think it lasted longer than three weeks. It is very difficult to gauge what the public will bite into. Even with hard core fans. We really thought it might take a bit longer which explains the smaller run. Also, although we are sold out on our site, the product is available at www.lonchaney.com as well as websites, specialty and collector shops nationwide.
RTM: How was the edition size (5,000) decided?
TG: Basically we had to make our best prediction at an amount that would make economic sence for us. No company can afford to stock a huge inventory of products for long. Thus we had to place a number on the edition that we felt would cover the fan interest and sell through in a timely manner. In this case we were off, fan interest and product sell through exceeded our best predictions.
RTM: Were there any difficulties in explaining to people (press, collectors, retailers) why this figure is unique - that the movie is lost? A friend pointed out that most people probably just think that they
haven't seen the film, not that they can no longer see it at all.
TG: Actually Monster fans are pretty savvy, they had no problems identifying and accepting the character. In fact, they did it with open arms. While it is fun to create product of the Monsters from film, it is a little extra rewarding when you can offer something that everyone has always wished would be done. The Lon Chaney London After Midnight character is a perfect example.