October 12, 2015

Toys in the Attic: Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 7 'The Aurora 13' The Phantom of the Opera & The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Aurora's first monster model was Frankenstein which appeared in 1961. Aurora followed with twelve more monster kits over the next five years. These 13 kits are affectionally referred to by collectors as "The Aurora 13.' 

'The Aurora 13'  No. 6 The Phantom of the Opera
"Deep in the recesses of the old opera house, far below the streets; hidden under the sub-basements and in the sewers he lurked. The mysterious stranger engaged in acts of terror against all who dared enter the theater or stepped on to its stage. Some called him a ghost, others coined the more popular name-'The Phantom!"


Original Kit Issued: 1963 - 1969 as Catalog #428
Plastic: Black
Sculptor: Attributed to Adam “Larry” Ehling
Box art: James Bama
Re-Issued: 1969-1975, 1992, 2000

In 1963 Aurora, working their way down the horror character ladder, released their model kit devoted to the Lon Chaney version of the Phantom of the Opera. The character is posed dramatically, revealing his disfigured face and holding his (removable) mask aloft. He is apparently standing at the summit of a dungeon of some sort, as there is a miserable-looking person wailing behind a barred window at his feet; a rat also scurries by. 


In 1969 Aurora reissued this kit with glow-in-the-dark pieces - specifically, the head, hands, and mask. Owners had the option of building the model with all normal black pieces, or substituting the glow pieces for certain ones. The 1st issue box was the Frighting Lighting Strikes 13" x 5" version.

The Phantom of the Opera Glow in the Dark
1970-75 Reissue of #461/481
Plastic: Black & luminous
Square box format
Box art: Harry Scheme


Original artwork for box
'The Aurora 13'  No. 7 The Hunchback of Notre Dame
"A figure was seen darting about the towers and scaling the walls like a human fly. The figure was that of the grotesque hunchback foundling, named Quasimodo after the Sunday on which he was found. He was now the bell-ringer and keeper of the bells at the cathedral. Now, in the middle of the night when decent people were in bed, the bells could be heard pealing out as if for some evil celebration. Demonic laughter could be heard over the sound of the bells."
Original Kit Issued: 1964 - 1968 as Catalog #461 and reissued with new art as #481
Plastic: Tan
Sculptor: Attributed to Adam “Larry” Ehling
Box art: James Bama
Re-Issued: 1969-1975, 1992, 2000



The first box art by Jamesl Bama was based on a publicity photo of Anthony Quinn in the then-latest movie version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Mr. Quinn sued for the unlicensed use of his likeness, and Aurora had Bama add hair and change the face a bit to do away with any simliarities to Quinn. "Quinn" boxed kits in excellent condition go for many hundreds of dollars.


Dr. Jekyll as Mr. Hyde Glow in the Dark
1970-75 Reissue of #461/481
Plastic: Brown & luminous
Square box format
Box art: Harry Scheme



Toys in the Attic: Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s

Sources: 
Web: "Collecting Aurora Monsters" Dennis L. Prince
Web: Professor Plastiks "Aurora Monster Kit History"
Print: Aurora Model Kits by Thomas Graham

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