Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Skeletons in My Cupboard

When I was a little horror in the Sixties I was monster mad. I drove my poor parents crazy with my dark penchant for Dracula, Frankenstein and all their Universal fiends. Like many monster kidz one of my earliest ghoulish Christmas goodies was the Airfix Skeleton, realistically jointed and able to move like a proper 'scalliwag'! [piccied above]. Not satisfoed with simply making the model I then proceeded to create a small theatre by removing the seat from a dining table chair, blocking off the back and sides and dangling the skeleton on cotton strands! It was joined by somewhat stiff Pyro Dinosaurs like Anklyosaurus, my favourite. Rubber monster jigglers completed the gothic stage and I put on performances for friends and family on dark winter evenings![ Is that strange?]. My older brother's collection of Aurora monsters was for me the peak of monsterdom, which included the creepily boney Forgotten Prisoner of Castle Mare. Ugh!

When I started to read about vintage toys in the early 1990's I got hold of the great Bill Bruegman's books [I once wrote to him and got a reply!]: Aurora Models and Toys of the Sixties, where I learned about more skeleton kits I would have LOVED as a kid but somehow they passed me by, MPC's Pirates of the Caribbean [example above]. I also discovered the ultra-rare Creature from the Black Lagoon by Penn Plax [below]. Penn Plax were the kings of fish tank thingies or 'action aerating ornaments' and the combination of monster toys and aquariums is irresistible. I'm unsure if they are actually toys but I do love their plasticcy looks now. I'll never have the dabloons for the awesome Creature but I have owned a beautiful Fishing Boy and red Frogman [below]. Penn Plax also brought outer space to the bottom of the sea with UFO's and Zoid-like craft. I particularly like their version of the LEM, which they've cleverly re-badged the Sealab Explorer [below].
Anyone else like skeleton toys, Aurora/ Pyro models or Penn Plax and other aquarium ornaments? Stories and piccies welcomed!


  1. Aurora monsters? Sure! And glow in the dark too! I had the Forgotten Prisoner and Frankenstein's Monster that I can recall for sure. Lovingly painted with gloss enamel left over from my Granddad's DIY endeavours. :)

    Thanks for bringing those up

  2. Was the theatre show strange behaviour? No, not at all. Imaginative? Yes. Extrovert? Perhaps. But not strange.

    The text on the Sealab box says, "Really travels around aquarium". Tell me, Woodsy, did the frogman do that too?

    I'm curious as to how the Sealab moves. And the frogman, if he does.

    I think I vaguely remember the Aurora Monsters. Wasn't there one for The Bride of Frankenstein? I always thought Elsa Lanchester looked so good in that!

  3. But I really associate Aurora with the 2001 models and even more with those wonderful prehistoric animals. My favourite was the cave set.

  4. Aurora glow in the dark Frankenstein. Had to put it in a cupboard as it scared the hell out of me stood there shining at night. Also had a ghostly hand piggy bank. Put a coin on the slot and a skeletal hand grabbed it. Creepy.

  5. Toadsterm I never got the frogman out of it's wrapper I'm afraid but I think it would bob and float in a tank suspended on a line from a baseplate. I imagine the LEM did something similar. I found the LEM picture on Ebay. As an aside, I realised recently that 'frogman' and 'skin diver' are not common parlance nowadays and have given way to 'scuba diver'.

  6. Toadsterm! I meant Toadster! Sorry!

  7. I remember the Pirates of the Caribbean models from the comic book ads; however, the one I owned was the only model in the line to depict a living pirate and not a skeleton.

    (And nobody asked, but my choice in Aurora monster models was King Kong, purchased immediately after my first viewing of King Kong versus Godzilla.)

  8. I remember the colour comic ads for Pirates as well RAB. I was amazed that they weren't re-issued when Jonny Depp's Pirates movies started up [maybe a copyright issue?]. And oh yes, King Kong, one of my favourite Aurora models with Kongy clutching his victim. I remember that it came out around the same time as a particular Creepy comic with a fabulous Kong-like cover by Frank Frazetta called The Beastman Cometh - brilliant!

  9. Toadster, yep, the Cave Set of prehistoric monsters. I didn't have it but the box art of that series was just brilliant. There was a Tar Pit and Vulture too I think.

  10. Don't give it another thought, Woodsy. It had "Toad" in it, that's all that matters.

    Yes, there was a Tar Pit, but I've only ever seen that online, not in the plastic. I do have bits of the Swamp scene, with the trees and lil critters and such.

    I don't know the King Kong model. Never understood the monster thing, really. But tell me, which comic had the Pirates of the Caribbean ads?

  11. i had the Aurora Creature from the BL, a cool kit. King Kong looked a bit silly with his glow in the dark head though! Ill have to fetch out my old Aurora catalogues now! Anyone recal Airfix (MPC) Gigantics ?


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