NOW Versus The Nabisco Plastic Monsters

victimYou didn’t think I’d abandon all politics for SHOCKTOBER here at TD did you? Speaking of models, you all know that Aurora changed the plastic landscape of the 1960’s with their incredibly popular series of monster kits that lined the shelves and closets of creepy kiddies. In the early 70’s, Aurora was bought out by Nabisco (yes, that Nabisco) and as usually happens in consolidation, the new owners didn’t know what they had or how to keep it afloat.

The real end of the Fantastic Plastic Monster era probably came in 1971 when Aurora released a bold new line of kits titled “Monster Scenes,” li’l dioramas of mad scientists and helpless female victims. You have to wonder what year the folks at Aurora thought it was, since they pushed these politically incorrect kits as the next big seasonal trick r’ treat (and they were even “Rated X…for Excitement”). When liberated moms saw the half-nude models they were outraged, culminating in a National Organization for Women protest at Nabisco HQ. The company leaped into ZAP/ACTION! mode and pulled the “Monster Scenes” stock from toy/hobby stores, fired most of the Aurora staff, and instead re-released the original monster kits with “Glow In The Dark” parts, which proved to be very successful. Still, Aurora never recovered from the take-over as most of their creative staff was gone, replaced by bottom line snack makers. Aurora had some good kits left, especially the cool “Prehistoric Scenes” but the coffin lid was closing fast.



13 Responses to “NOW Versus The Nabisco Plastic Monsters”

  1. THAT was the series is what i was trying to think of!!! I may have had a wolfman or something. Aurora made all the cool stuff. I recall having a few of the prehistoric scene models.

  2. oh. never having seen the actual dioramas but just going by the ‘monster scenes’ advert pic shown above, perhaps as troubling as women being depicted as helpless victims is that the woman in the picture is shown dressed in short, tight, provocative clothing, thus depicting ‘the victim’ as what could be construed as a vixen, not exactly a ‘nice’ girl.

    this sort of provocative imagery is troubling because it can feed into the insidious notion that the victim isn’t exactly ‘innocent’, or ‘asking for it’ because of how she was dressed (but like i said i might be WAAAAY overstating the case based on a single picture, just putting in my two cents for the sisterhood as usual)

  3. christian Says:

    I agree, it was clearly a mis-step on Aurora’s part, but if you look at any horror movie ad you would have seen the same half-clothed terrified women. The comic ads were more offensive as the fiends kidnap “the victim” off the street with a cavalier “This is New York — nobody will help.”!

    Vampirella was the other model included in the series, so I guess she was sposed to represent the sisterhood;]

  4. “but if you look at any horror movie ad you would have seen the same half-clothed terrified women”

    of course, totally (i guess i could widen my same argument to the entire, too often sexist horror genre – my all-time fave genre – but i’m too pooped! i got no moxy left in me, i’ll have to live to fight another day)

  5. christian Says:

    And mind you I’m not defending the representation. It’s part and parcel of the sexual sub-conscious of the genre and Aurora was pulled into its warp. But you have to love “Rated X…for Excitement.” Couples were going to DEEP THROAT and LAST TANGO IN PARIS. The Swingin’ 70’s had begun…

  6. I had totally forgotten that this even existed. But now that you mention it, it’s coming back to me.

    As kids, we thought it was the lamest model ever. “It’s just a GIRL. Ewww.”

  7. christian Says:

    I know. I saw the kits in the back of Famous Monsters and thought, looks kinda lame. Vampirella was cool though. Still shoulda bought one for a buck fiddy seeing their value today…

  8. Who was I talking to about these?:

    Was it you? And if not, do you remember them? The bases fit together, which made for a very weird and improbable scene — rampaging t-rex two feet away from rhino in tar pit, right next to Neanderthal man about to smash an allosaurus with a rock. Must’ve been the inspiration for those Creationist museums.

  9. christian Says:

    I loved the Prehistoric Scene. I had the Tyranasaurus, which was fooking HUGE. And the tail did come off. I also had the pteradactyl and the triceratops (the coolest). Yes the perspective was crazed, but that’s kind of a kid’s POV…

  10. As I recall, the instructions were to paint the t-rex orange with yellow dots. Never did understand where they got that notion.

  11. christian Says:

    We never painted the T-Rex. Looked just fine…orange.

  12. That’s right, it was orange to begin with. With glow-in-the-dark teeth. And yeah, it was massive. Coolest model ever.

  13. christian Says:

    Though I believe “the movers lost it.”

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