Thursday, January 7, 2010

Remembering The Forgotten Prisoner

(Click on images to enlarge.)

"He’s the last remaining prisoner from years gone by. Long since passed, and now all that remains are his bones as proof to his existence. His crimes have long been forgotten. His sentence fulfilled. However, this unfortunate prisoner was lost in the system, and now his bones are the only remains that hang from the dreaded shackles of his prison cell. Until now."

Note: this is a re-post imported over from my earlier blog, "Sweet Skulls." It fits in nicely with the theme of "My Monster Memories," so in case you missed it over there, you can enjoy it here.

Oh, man... this brings my younger days back so clearly I can actually smell the model glue and paint. And the giddy, light-headed feeling I had while working on it in 1974 had very little to do with the fumes. Even today, taking out my little Prisoner model invokes such a strong sense of nostalgia that it almost hurts. Among the relics of my youth, only a few survive, and I'm grateful this one did. I had stored it away in a box of collected goodies in my grandmother's guest bedroom closet. Since her house was my one refuge from the strain of a controlling and intolerent stepfather, I kept the things I treasured there, for I had seen more than one item go into the flames of the trash barrel simply because my having them irritated him.

He was an ex-Army sargent, a hunter and construction worker with a sixth-grade education; while I was a bookwormish monster-loving kid who had an artistic bent. Needless to say we clashed, and I always came out on the losing end, being a pacifistic kid who loved nothing more than finding a quiet place to read my comic books. Unfortunately, that also irritated him. That's why my weekend stays at Grandma's house, a haven of love, freedom and normalcy, loom so large in my good memories. Stress-free afternoons reading my newest Monster Times or Castle of Frankenstein, putting together a model, and evenings watching the good stuff on TV: "Kung Fu," "Planet of the Apes," Night Stalker," and the Saturday Night Movie.

The Skeleton in my closet

Over a decade after I built my Forgotten Prisoner model, I re-discovered it in that box in the closet when I went to bring the things I had stored there into my own home. It was in several pieces, but easily fixed and lovingly touched up (except for a missing foot). It was funny, for he had become forgotten for awhile, but he was relocated, restored and placed in a collection bookcase for safe-keeping. Now he comes out yearly and joins the Halloween decorations on the mantle.

It's ironic that the one model that is most remembered by Monster Kids is the one called The Forgotten Prisoner. My lonely friend, you are not forgotten. You are fondly remembered and loved. I think I related to you a lot.

As much as it means to me, you won't find a picture of my own Prisoner on this page; my efforts are painting him were amaturish next to these awesome examples and not worthy to be compared. But you will see some great interpretations of the Prisoner paint job, all of which are terrific. Enjoy!

The two images above come from a great FP page:

A new larger version is available! Wow, but for the price I would possess this...

Here's a Youtube video of "a" forgotton prisoner that's pretty funny. Not a re-creation of our beloved bones, but in the same spirit.
Update: All these years I thought that the awesome and iconic box art was done by James Bama, who did the other monster model box covers.... but in my Facebook roamings, I came across the actual artist: Mort Künstler! Visit his official website here or the Facebook fan page to see more awesome art!


Ivan said...

While "The Forgotten Prisoner" was an Aurora kit I never had (I leaned more towards vehicles--like the Seaview--or more mobile creatures: all the better to blow up), I love reading about others' Aurora memories.

Did you use Testor's glue? Remember when then changed the formula so kids couldn't huff it anymore?

Thanks, and keep up the good work,

Frederick said...


Thanks for commenting! I wasn't much of a model builder, this was the only one I did as a kid, but it was fun. WHen I used the Testors glue it still had that distinctive smell; I didn't know they changed it later.

Thanks for dropping by!

Anonymous said...

Those really are some awesome paint jobs!

Just found your blog and I'm enjoying checking it out!

Shelagh @ KinderScares


If ever there was a model kit that creeped me out it was this one!

And I just wanted to let you know I have awarded you a ONE LOVELY BLOG award...

rpchurch said...

What a great post! Extremely well put together. Kudos, buddy.

ein doppelganger said...

I love this post. I just re-read it. Thank you for sharing the memories the Prisoner inspires. I think many of us had similar experiences in childhood and also found comfort with the monsters.


Armpit Studios said...

I just ran across this post a few days after seeing another post about the Forgotten Prisoner of Castlemaré. This was also one of my favorites, and I too had forgotten about him for years, even though I periodically see his non-glowing skull on one of my bookshelves (filled with models, toys, and other cool stuff - not books:). I opted to use the glow-in-the-dark pieces on all the Aurora monster models I built; the Prisoner, King Kong, and Godzilla. But this skull has always been with me, on display throughout the years, and I got so used to seeing it that I forgot from where it came. Until now.

So thanks for the post! I need to dig mine out.