It Came From Behind The Shelf No. 3

The Madame Tussauds Chamber Of Horrors Guillotine has been stuck behind my books in various locations since my father helped me to paint it in 1964, and it still works. The head is held on with a little peg that the blade hits, knocking the prisoner’s head into the wicker basket.

This was part of the Aurora range of horror model kits, and I had them all, my favourite being the Phantom of the Opera because I liked people who had masks. The model kits were incredibly popular but were discontinued after worries about their unwholesomeness. Little did parents realise what their children would get up to on the internet.

The coffin was a ‘birthday card’ from my best friend at school, Simon, and is an early example of his ability to engineer something from nothing – you pulled a threaded cord and the coffin lid opened, and the corpse sat up, unrolling a message. This is the kid his careers officer told to go into the army because there was no hope for him. Simon wanted to design cars, and had the good sense to stay with his dream. He designed the Atom, the most popular car ever to appear on Top Gear, and became wealthy by pursuing his dream.

I don’t know what happened to the careers officer, but I bet it wasn’t good.

5 comments on “It Came From Behind The Shelf No. 3”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    Careers officers (counsellors?)only get it right when the future is so obvious no one could miss it. Everything changes between the time a person takes an aptitude test and the time an actual choice is made. I wonder how long it was before computer options turned up in the tests. The closest would have been electronics, I suppose. The thought of a person like Simon in the army is not pretty.

  2. Susan Shepard says:

    You should ALWAYS ignore your career officer/counselor, and any standardized testing they make you take in an attempt to quantify you. My oldest son was told he’d best go into the army. He’s now a very well-paid heavy industrial worker. Middle son was told he should be a garbage man. He’s now working in a production job he really enjoys and is well-recompensed, too. My youngest, age 12, is planning to be a research scientist no matter what anyone advises to the contrary.

  3. Rick D says:

    Used to have all those models. They had a whole torture chamber series — how sick/cool is that!

  4. Dan Terrell says:

    Wish I could have made those models, rats.

  5. J F Norris says:

    I had that guillotine model. There was an iron maiden and a rack also, right? I had a bunch of those Universal movie monster models – Creature from the Black Lagoon (all the unpainted pieces were green instead of black), Dracula, the Phantom, the Wolfman. They had glow in the dark pieces, too. Loved them.

    Amazing you’ve managed to keep a hold of something so fragile for so long. And it still works! All of mine ended up in the junk heap when I graduated high school.

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