Friday, May 24, 2013


It's not often that you see such a rarity as this up for sale, or even just available to view for that matter. This auction lot includes one of the original acetate sculpts from the legendary Aurora monster model kit series. The minimum bid for this gem was $5,606 at MastroNet. Amazingly, it did not sell.

Here is the description of the auction lot:

"Can you remember the days when you would beg your parents to let you stay up late on a Friday night, so you could watch your area's TV version of "Creature Features?" Do you remember the thrill you got with the sighting of the newest issue Famous Monsters of Filmland, or with the opening of a brand new pack of Fleer's "Spook Theatre" cards? Can you recall your amazement when you found out there were actually two different Lon Chaneys? Or how about the feeling of wonder still with you from your first discovery of the Aurora monster models during that fateful trip to your local five and dime? If you answered "Yes!" to any of the above, then the chances are you gave the same answer to each, and you, like us, are forever doomed to a lifetime of monster mania! It is a state to which only 45 to 55 year olds can fully relate, for the early 1960's were the golden days of monster fandom, yet to be repeated with the same intensity, and probably never to return again with the same level of ferocity. When this monster craze of the early 1960's began, Aurora was in there from the very beginning. They started their monster kit line very late in 1961 with the release of "Frankenstein," followed very soon after in 1962 by "Dracula" and "The Wolfman." The year 1963 found us drooling over the new releases of "The Mummy," "The Phantom of the Opera," and "The Creature" (of the Black Lagoon). More were to follow in the ensuing years, but those original six are the ones we remember with the most fondness. They were our Golden Age for monster kits, and all are treasured memories of our very well-spent youths.

For many collectors, the built-up kits are enough, with the original box being an added, but unnecessary plus. For others, only Mint-In-Box and still sealed is required. For a very select few, even that isn't enough. We want it all. We want the advertising materials, the original cover art paintings by the talented James Bama and others, hobby store displays, model building contest prizes, flicker rings, you name it. We want one of each, assembled with perfect painting and original box and directions, as well as a pristine, untouched by human or any other kind of hands, Mint, sealed example. No, that's not right! We want a dozen of each like that, still in master cartons, just like the five and dime's inventory! There's one other thing we want, only we seldom mention it for fear of jinxing the miracle that may one day happen. We want (hushed whisper) the original acetate sculpts that the models were made from.

The miracle has arrived. It is even more of a miracle than you would allow yourself to hope for, for it is one of the original six that you see before you. Long before you even dreamed of the model's existence, a talented sculptor was hard at work to bring the Creature of the Black Lagoon into three-dimensional reality. Here it is, complete and as perfect as it was on the day that sculptor set aside his knives until the next project. It is slightly larger than the cast versions you are used to seeing (due to molded styrene's nature of shrinking slightly after cooling), and the detailing is crisper, but it is your creature, the one you still look upon with wide-eyed wonder. To add to the perfect nature of the original, you see that the tiniest claws are still present, the base's separate pieces are all still perfect. Even the models are often found in a lesser condition than this one-of-a-kind, phenomenal sculpture! By studying the heavy original, you can see that it was sculpted as separate pieces for casting. These assembled pieces correspond exactly to the finished product you are used to seeing, but with greater detailing that was lost in the molding process. The creature and the lizard have been painted in a flat silver to highlight that detailing, with earth tones and whites on the base. Yellow has been applied to his amphibian eyes, white to his teeth, red to his lips, and his clawed hands are dripping with the bright red blood of an unseen victim. It is perfection [more like sacrilege, I'd say!].

Not only do you get the original sculpture, but you also get an attractively built-up Aurora store display of the Creature production kit, assembled and painted by the Aurora marketing division to entice us to buy their phenomenal product (like we needed any convincing)! The offering is made complete with the addition of a Near-Mint original box and instruction sheet! Yes, brothers and sisters. The Golden Age is here once more!"

Bill Lemon was the sculptor of this kit and many others from the Aurora line. Here is Mr.Lemon's obituary from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

W.J. Lemon, 70, A Master Maker Of Model Monsters

Posted: October 03, 1994

William J. Lemon, 70, a master model carver who sculpted a popular series of monster models in the 1960s for the now-defunct Aurora Plastics Corp., died Friday at Montgomery Hospital.

Mr. Lemon, of Norristown, served in the Army in World War II. Upon returning, he started working as a cabinetmaker but soon realized that his true gift lay in sculpting models. He started sculpting cars and airplanes, then came into his own carving lifelike images of everyone from Frankenstein to Michael Jackson.
When Aurora wanted to add so-called figure kits in the mid-1950s to its lines of car and airplane models, they called on Mr. Lemon.

While many of Aurora's early figure kits flopped, the company forged ahead with a plan in the 1960s to market a series of monster models. This followed considerable concern on the part of the firm's officials about potential criticism for selling gruesome models to children.

As it turned out, the children of America were captivated by the figurines of Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, the Mummy and the like, each of which Mr. Lemon had slaved over in his studio on Main Street in Ambler.

"The major toy companies would come to him with a picture they wanted," his son, William M. Lemon, 40, a mortgage banker, recalled yesterday, "and he would take a block of plastic and basically a dentist's tool" and bring the picture to life.

Along with the line of monster models, his son said, Mr. Lemon sculpted everything from anatomy models for medical schools to dispensers of Pez candy to a popular Michael Jackson doll marketed in the 1980s.

"Mr. Jackson did not like the nose my father put on the doll," William Lemon said. "But he took it right off the picture."

Mr. Lemon hung up his dentist's drill and retired eight years ago, never to sculpt another model.
Mr. Lemon is survived by his wife, Barbara D. Lemon; two sons, William M. and Robert T.; a brother; a sister; and five grandchildren.

Services will be 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Boyd-Horrox Funeral Home, 200 W. Germantown Pike, Norristown. Interment will follow at George Washington Memorial Park, Plymouth Meeting.

Contributions can be made to Montgomery Cancer Center, Powell and Fornance Streets, Norristown.

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