Sunday, November 10, 2002

Magician's monsters lurk in his `dungeon'


Prize possessions

By Marsie Hall Newbold
Enquirer Contributor

Who: Tom Rozoff, 48, of Milford, a professional magician and monster aficionado.

On display: Memorabilia relating to "classic" modern monsters including Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, Dracula, the Mummy, the Invisible Man and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

[photo] In his Milford "dungeon," Tom Rozoff keeps monster masks, models, videotapes, books and movie posters.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
| ZOOM |
Where: In a customized "dungeon" in the basement of the home he shares with wife, Vicky and their sons, Tom, Jr., 24; Eric, 17; and Alex, 14.

Deep and dark: "I call it `The Dungeon,' '' Mr. Rozoff says with a chuckle. "But it is really a storage room. I dry brushed the cinder block walls so the white shows and it looks old. It's really a great place to store my collection. Plus, the kids think it's pretty cool." He has hung movie posters on the walls, and bookcases hold items such as 40 masks, 100 models, flipbooks and videotapes. His most treasured item is actor Bela Lugosi's autograph.

Scary stuff: "Ninety-five percent is vintage stuff from the '20s on," he explains. "Maybe four pieces are more modern stuff like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Michael Myers (from the Halloween movies) or The Cryptkeeper."

Mr. Rozoff's interest in monsters began when he was 9, but waned when he entered his "rock 'n' roll years."

Boomerang: "I had the entire Aurora model collection when I was a child," he says. "But I gave them to my friend Mike Lilly when I was about 15. I didn't think about them again until about 10 years ago when I saw one at a garage sale."

By that time, they were selling for around $80. So Mr. Rozoff rang his old chum and asked if he remembered what had happened to them.

Minor miracle: "He was pretty sure that they had been thrown out years and years ago," he says. "But then, he called back and said that he had found them in his mother's attic. So, I got them back 25 to 30 years later."

Mr. Rozoff adds to his collection by visiting thrift stores, antiques stores, collectible malls and trading with friends. So far, he has eschewed Internet sites such as eBay. "I'm too low tech," he admits. "It takes some of the fun out of it for me. All you need are deep pockets, and you can get everything you want. It's a second childhood thing. I'm buying back all the things I looked at and thrilled over as a child. Besides that, I enjoy the hunt!"

Share your prize possessions with Marsie Hall Newbold by mail: c/o The Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202, e-mail: marsolete@aol.com. Please include a daytime phone number.



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