Origin of "The Forgotten Prisoner of Castlemare"?

I remember from the 1970s, seeing ads in comic books and monster mags for a plastic model of a skeleton chained to a wall, called “The Forgotten Prisoner of Castel Mare” (or “Castlemare” – spelling varies) – obviously a prisoner somebody chained up and then forgot to feed – and I always assumed it had its origin in some horror or gothic novel, or story, or movie, or legend. But does it, or is it simply the invention of some 20th-Century model-maker?

Ahh, the old Aurora models. I built many of them, but not that one.
They advertised incessantly in Forrey Ackermsan’s Famous Monsters of Filmland, which was my constant reading material. You’d think if anything about this related to reality or fiction it’d show up there.

But I can’t recall a single thing in that magazine, or in any movie or book about a Forgotten Prisoner of Castlemare (I only recall it being one word). I always figured it was just a name they came up with that suggested creepiness. (“Castle mare” – like “Castle Nightmare”!)

But I have no definite information about it.

This site claims that it was FM that created the “character”. If there was any backstory or inspitration, you’d think they’d be the ones to tell it. And they didn,t, AFAIK


This thread on a model hobbying forum might help:

It comes to the conclusion that it was designed in 1967 by a company called Aurora as part of a collection of models to promote a series of horror comics by Warren Magazines.

Not quite – as my post above states, there was a tie-in to FM, but the kit didn’t “promote” it – it didn’t even mention the magazine. And, as the site I link to states, the kit was designed in 1966.

I built the whole series. The Forgotten Prisoner was, far and away, my favorite.

A friend gave me a re-issue of that model and I built it - I have it in my office right now! :smiley:

Hey, this is MY thread! I asked this question here on this board back in the day. (Didn’t get a definitive answer if I recall correctly; no one has reason to believe it was based on anything in particular). Dang it, I can’t find that old thread! It must have been one of those vintage 1999-2000 threads that got archived.

I never collected the Aurora monster models, but I did have a lot of their prehistoric kits – from different periods, some with dinosaurs, and some with neanderthals or cro-magnons, and a tar pit with a woolly rhinoceros stuck in it – but despite the anachronism, all the bases were designed to fit together like jigsaw pieces to form one big collect-‘em’-all prehistoric tableau! Brilliant marketing!

And now dinosaurs are big with the kids again . . . But I don’t know who is making anything like that.

Not dinosaurs specifically, but in the Aurora vibe:

Moebius Models
Polar Lights

yup, and I can’t believe how much fun I’m having building these - once I realized that the "Monster Scenes’ kits fit together as descirbed by BrainGlutton, I’ll be picking those up -

Working On a Dr Jekyl kit now - brings back memories from when I built the original - and there are plans to remake the "Forgotten Prisoner’ kit - looks like it will be good.

The “monster model kit” hobby is alive and well; here are a couple sites with nice discussion groups:


And, coincidentally, this last weekend was Wonderfest, the national fantasy & sci-fi model contest, in Louisville. To have done well at Wonderfest’s contest really means something; the standard of work there is spectacular. Here are some pictures:


I should also mention Monarch Models, who have a very lovely kit of Sindbad the Sailor coming out very very soon (the first production kits, flown over from China, were at Wonderfest):


One more thing (last edit, I promise): If you wanted to get an idea of who’s producing kits, a good way would be to go to the Wonderfest website and find the list of dealers who were there:


Cretaceous Creations, for one, makes spectacular prehistoric creature kits. Pricey, but spectacular.

I imagine it may have found its inspiration in Château d’If, the prison featured in The Count of Monte Cristo.

Château d’If has the appearance of a castle set on a rock in the sea.

Castle. Sea.

Castle Mare

(Mare of course being Latin for sea.)

This probably has nothing to do with the OP at all, but…

Castellemare is a medievil castle in Sicily, not far from Palermo. It’s the town my dad grew up in. Unless I’m crazy, I seem to remember my father telling me of a legend about someone being locked away there, unfairly, untill they died. Then again, I was a boy when he told me that so who knows.