Monster Monday – I Joined The Beale Street Monster Club

This Saturday the 13th, I attended the Beale Street Monster Club‘s first meeting.

My boss Jaime had mentioned seeing a flyer for the event at the 901 Comics midtown store. I immediately called the shop and asked Shannon (my other boss) to please send me a pic of it, and he did!

The meeting was held downtown on historic Beale Street at A. Schwab, which was established in 1876 at 66 Beale. A. Schwab later moved to 149 Beale, and the store relocated to the first floor of 163 Beale later in 1911. The footprint of the store expanded to the second floor of 163 Beale and then into the building next door at 165 Beale in 1924. It has remained there at 163 Beale Street, Memphis, TN 38103 – and the store now includes 3 floors…and there’s a basement (more about that in a bit).

From their website: As the century wore on, A. Schwab remained an anchor in a community that experienced much change; ultimately, it was the only business that survived.

At A.Schwab, you can find everything ranging from cast iron skillets to stick horses to old fashioned candy to ukuleles.

Our merchandise is high quality, old-school, eclectic, and quirky. It reflects the delta, local music, local culture, and our own unique history.

In the 1980s, the Schwab family played a vital role in the re-launch of Beale Street as an entertainment district. They adapted their merchandise to appeal to tourists while continuing to offer an old-fashioned experience.


They say if you can’t find it at Schwab’s, you don’t need it!

I got a bit of a late start heading up to Memphis, but traffic was light and I didn’t have too hard of a time finding a parking space about a block away behind Beale. It was a quick (and cold) walk to the store.

A. Schwab’s is located next door to Jerry “The King” Lawler’s bar & restaurant (159 Beale Street)


Jerry is a big monster kid himself, and I remember watching him and “Frankenstein” on the local TV5 Saturday morning wrestling show – even Adam “Batman” West made an appearance alongside the Super-King!

Jerry’s attended one of my Monsterpiece art shows, and I was in a group SIVAD tribute art show with Jerry and other local artists a little later.

So, when I got to Schwab’s on Saturday I immediately headed up to the third floor where our host (Tony), his wife (Amy), and a couple attendees were waiting. A few minutes after I arrived a couple familiar faces showed up, Carlin Stuart and Josh Plock who are some fiends, uh- “friends” from MidSouthCon. Just as we were starting to get on with the meeting a couple other folks joined us. Tony said hello and welcomed them to sit down and join us.

Tony Kail is the co-founder of the Beale Street Monster Club . His fellow co-founder got a last minute call to go into work and had to miss the event- the invisible man!

Tony showed us a slide show on some monster items/moments/history, and then we watched some classic monster movie preview trailers.

We also got to see the opening intro for “Fantastic Features” which played here in Memphis on WHBQ/Ch13 (now Fox13) back when I was a little kid (actually had become “Fantastic Double Feature” just a month or so before I was born). It ran in some form or another from the early ’60s to the early ’70s.

It was our local horror show and was hosted by SIVAD (Watson Davis) who would scare the mess out of me..! Whenever I heard the theme music and saw the horse drawn hearse I’d run and hide behind my grandparent’s couch until I would hear the movie being show that week start up.

I survived the experience, but I’m afraid there’s not much of SIVAD’s performances that have survived…mostly just the intro and a few commercials have been all I’ve seen online. Video tape was very expensive back then so the tapes were reused over and over again by the stations and many things were lost. Honestly, I haven’t seen a lot of great quality photos of him, either. 


It was tricky to do a SIVAD sketchcard with such limited reference shots, but I had to add him to the line-up of horror hosts I drew for them RRPARKS Cards Halloween Trick Or Treat set. (Click HERE, HERE, and HERE for more info on SIVAD and Fantastic Features.)


During this inaugural meeting we discussed a lot of personal monster kid memories and which movies, shows, and characters were our favorites.


We also each got our own membership card. Our new cards also came with a 10% discount on monster merch in the store.

I’m member (or should I say “dis-member”..?) number five!

I wish I had been old enough to be a member of the SIVAD/CH13 Horror Club… 

After the meeting had wrapped up like a mummy, Tony offered to take us on a tour of the shop. First stop was the Hoodoo/Voodoo mini-museum which was on the 3rd floor, too.

Tony is very knowledgeable about the subject and it’s history in Memphis. He’s been working on this collection/display for a while and continues to add to it. It was originally a traveling exhibit but has found a home upstairs at Schwab’s.



A lot of the fear behind hoodoo/voodoo had to do with a lot of racism- kind of “Satanic Panic” back before movies like “The Exorcist” and “The Amityville Horror” or the heavy metal court trials in the ’70s and ’80s. Hollywood has played a big part in sensationalizing voodoo and perpetuating the stereotypes and myths over the years.


We also found out that there’s a reason Tony knew so much on hoodoo and voodoo (and the differences between the two)…he’s actually written about it! One of his published books was on display in the museum. You can purchase a copy of it “A Secret History of Memphis Hoodoo: Rootworkers, Conjurers & Spiritualsor “Stories of Rootworkers & Hoodoo in the Mid-South” ($21.99 USD) through Schwab’s website, in-store on Beale, or on Amazon. 


After our hoodoo/voodoo museum tour Tony took us downstairs to show us the monster merch Schwab’s offers for sale.


And thanks to Tony we could get that 10% discount with our membership cards while we were there. I really wanted that plush ROBOT MONSTER, but I ended up taking home Nicki some souvenirs.

It’s not like I need more monster merch…more like I always want more! Recently got to share some of my monster collection with folks at the Hernando Library this last October. (Apparently I really love wearing my Beetlejuice Geeky Jersey.)


Next up at Schwab’s was my favorite part of the tour…getting to check out the basement! It’s off limits to the general public, so this was very special opportunity for us. We didn’t find any monsters, but we did see a mummy – sort of. It was a “Ramesses the Great” exhibition poster from the Wonders Exhibit downtown at the convention center back in 1987. Those exhibits were always amazing. The “Imperial Tombs Of China” exhibit was narrated by Leonard Nimoy!

Lots of cool stuff down there, and while we explored the store’s underbelly Tony told us more history about Beale and Schwab’s, including the tunnels that ran under Beale that were used from time to time for removing dead bodies off the street! Plus, there was a time they were used during prohibition. Want to learn more about Memphis’ history from back then, and wish I had a basement like this- how awesome of a Batcave would it make..?!

It was creepy down there, but extremely cool at the same time. I would’ve loved to have taken more pics (and maybe some that were actually in focus), but I was happy to have had the chance to check it all out. Thanks to Tony and Schwab’s for the experience.


After the basement tour many folks went ahead and vanished, but Carlin and I stayed and checked out the soda fountain bar. Elliot, who’s family runs Schwab’s these days, whipped up a Coke float for Carlin and a chocolate malt shake for me.

I used to work at Area 51 Ice Cream and made a lot of floats and shakes while I was there. They were almost always a messy endeavor and it was nice to have someone else to make one for me..!

It was cold outside but that shake was very tasty. We also got to talk to Elliot about some of the history of the building and Beale Street. It was interesting to hear stories about some of the renovations and repairs done to the building, and some of the things his family would like to do to improve the space in the future. Oh, apparently the building is the only one on Beale Street that has it’s original flooring and beams/joists. Many buildings stood vacant and without roofs for years, leaving the interiors open to ravages of the elements and time.

I had brought along some of my art prints, trading cards, and stickers to give away to attendees, but they all had been left upstairs so Tony asked if he could use them as giveaways for a future monster meeting- I said, “Sure!” I’ll try and bring some new stuff to future meetings. Have got more scary stuff in the works.

Carlin and I got to talk to Tony and Amy a bit more and then we all parted ways. I walked up and down Beale a bit taking pictures with the new camera Nicki got me for Christmas. I need practice to get the hang of operating it- so used to just taking pics with my iPhone!

It was a very overcast day, but I always love getting a chance to take pics around town like a tourist- although I have had to remind a couple folks on Beale that I’m a local Memphian..!


These two folks though were awesome to meet (I believe they were Eric and Ashley). I ran into them outside of the Walking Pants Curiosities shop- which features art, tees, jewelry, photos, and more created by local artists.  I also read that the folks in charge (Ashley Parham and Daryl Andrews) have started Dreamers’ Revival, a program to help aspiring small business owners, and a new retail renovation/build-out reality TV show and podcast space. They are also working with Black Diamond next door. Daryl and their dog were working inside the Walking Pants store.

The store, originally situated on GE Patterson in the South Main District, is now in the same location as the long time Beale Street resident Tater Red’s Lucky Mojos shop once operated and has a very similar vibe.

I’ve known Tater since our days with Rock 103 (which used to be located on Beale Street as well). Sadly, Tater’s shop was another casualty of the pandemic and closed in 2021– and in December of last year the iconic sign out front fell victim to strong winds which snapped the bracket holding the cable into place and almost caused the skull signage to fall onto the sidewalk on Beale. Not sure what became of the sign…I do know that I have two wooden bar stools from the shop and am going to restore them.


It finally got a bit too cold and windy for me so I headed up the street back to where I parked behind the New Daisy Theater.

Going to have to come back and check out W.C. Handy’s house/museum near the New Daisy a the west end of Beale. I noticed a few buildings across the street had been torn down (one was a notorious night club), and there’s a lot of vacant real estate down from Auto Zone Park on Union Avenue, including a large patch of vacant lots. I think that’s where the old Greyhound bus station was located.)

I did notice a few new businesses closer to Sun Studios just up the street, and what looked like a community garden in one former parking lot. Memphis is always changing…sometimes it’s for the good. đŸ˜‰

The 2022 Monster Market was held at Marshall Arts just down Marshall from Sun Studios. Nicki and I had a blast at the opening receptions event. (I swear I really, really don’t wear the Beetlejuice every day…)


I’ve lived most of my life here and have been a monster fan as long as I can remember. I began drawing monsters as early as 3-4yrs old and haven’t stopped yet. Being in horror art shows has been my favorite type of art shows- either solo or as part of a group. (That’s my 2013 “Frankie Goes To Hollywood” art show at Theatre Memphis.)

I’m excited to attend more of the monster club meetings on Beale (and taking more pics of inside Schwab’s and Beale Street). I’m also so looking forward to upcoming events around the M-town this year like the Memphis Monster Market, Halloween Comic Fest, Crosstown Concourse Record Swap & Zine Fest, and the new Memphis Monster Con this fall. Planning on creating a “Scared Silly” card set, zine, and more prints, buttons, and stickers to have for sale at the events.

Beast wishes!


Monster Monday – I Joined The Beale Street Monster Club