Updated: January 30, 2021|
It seemed as if overnight in January of 1966, classic movie monsters were out and comic book superheroes were in. Batman premiered on January 12th 1966 on Wednesday and Thursday nights at 7:30. It was a difficult decision since Wednesday was Lost in Space, I would watch after January, only the second half yielding to Batman. Thursday nights wiped out The Munsters during the winter and led to its cancelation, shame too since season two of The Munsters was great.
Over at Aurora production was going round the clock producing their Batman kits to fill store shelves, their monster kits once very popular, now took a back seat. The DC Batman comic was hot as a pistol again, Famous Monsters and Mad Magazine were still staples, and one of the last monster kits released in 1966 was collaboration with Famous Monsters of Filmland and Aurora, The Forgotten Prisoner of Castle Mare.
But the sheer amount of kit releases at Aurora that year was staggering and was never repeated again. Television and movie licensing was in overdrive, and this is not counting the 12 inch dolls, they werent called action figures then, that also lined toy shelves.
In 1966 boxed model kits some with beautiful box art and an instruction sheet with a finished photo of when completed, your kit will look like this, and it never did. Well painted airbrushed retouched photos were not my kits, they should shown the glue bombs slathered with gloss Testors paint in primary colors, the obscured any detail on the kit.
I got my Batman three weeks after the show aired; I remember thinking how it didnt look like Adam West costume. Weeks later at Woolworths and the 5 and 10 cent store, where we bought our kits, the shelves soon filled up with James Bond and Odd Job, both Man From U.N.C.L.E., the Seaview, Lost in Space (both kits), the Castle Creatures, Hercules and the Lion (really Tarzan), Jessie James (reissue of the Marshall) The Musketeer (reissue with a base) by September the Batmobile from the show, the Batplane, and Robin the Boy Wonder and to top it off, the Marvel Superheroes, Spiderman, The Hulk, and Captain American. My head was spinning.
I recall seeing the Man From U.N.C.L.E factory build up in a store and getting depressed that my kits didnt turn out that way. Lately I have been restoring some of these old kits, like Batman, Superman, Robin, and Willie Mays after being inspired by the late Buzz Conroy, I believe I got the hang of it after 52 years of building kits.
But I cannot leave out a tribute to one of the greatest toys that became a model kit, Captain Action, that box was confusing since it had the same box art as the figure. So much so, I got him for my birthday, and had to tell my grandmother she got the wrong one, after digging through the garbage to find the receipt to get the right one, all was well. 50 years ago, WOW!