Tag Archives: Willis O’Brien

(Video) Monsterama Episode 12 – Giant Ape Movie Collectibles

See Bob Burns’ King Kong & Might Joe Young Memorabilia

Bob Burns King Kong Collector

Anyone who has spent any time on this website knows that I am a passionate fan of King Kong.  From my formative days as a Monster Kid seeing the 1933 film for the first time, Kong has held a special place in my favorite monsters and favorite monster movies.  We’ve written numerous articles about collecting King Kong from Aurora Model Kits, toys and games and  to original film posters as well.

But no Kong collectible can beat the original armature used by Willis O’Brien in bringing the giant ape to life on screen, and Bob Burns is it’s caretaker.  Not only Kong’s armature, but Might Joe Young and a host of other original pieces from these fantastic films about giant apes.  Enjoy this video, Monster Kids, this might be as close as you ever get to some of these items!

Read more about King Kong Collectibles:

 

Classic Movie Posters – Valley of Gwangi

Classic Movie Poster Gallery

Valley of the Gwangi One Sheet

Valley of Gwangi (Warner Brothers, 1969)       27″ x 41″ U.S. One-Sheet

Poster art by renowned western artist Frank McCarthy who has an impressive movie poster resume that includes such minor works as The Ten Commandments, Thunderball and The Green Berets.

I highly recommend you click on the image above to enlarge it and spend some time looking at the incredible level of detail in McCarthy’s painting.  The juxtaposition of the larger-than-life Gwangi against the hordes of battling’ cowboys and fleeing civilians against the backdrop of a dinosaur boneyard is simply awesome.

Filmed in Technicolor with creature effects provided by Ray Harryhausen.  Valley of Gwangi was the last dinosaur-themed film to be animated by Harryhausen, who had inherited the project from his mentor Willis O’Brien.  O’Brien had planned to make The Valley of Gwangi decades earlier but died six years before the film was realized.

The story follows a similar trajectory as O’Brien’s King Kong with the giant beast being captured by greedy men who plan to make a fortune displaying him to the public, only to have the dinosaur break free from his cage and send the masses running for their lives from the rampaging beast.

The poster copy sums this movie up perfectly:

Cowboys Battle Monsters in the Lost World of Forbidden Valley.

Unbelievable!

Fantastic!

Amazing! 

Terrifying!

Synopsis

The discovery of a midget horse, thought to be of a species fifty million years old, prompts members of a Wild West show to venture into Mexico’s Forbidden Valley in search of world-wide fame and untold wealth. But they are met by prehistoric monsters, including “Gwangi,” a giant Allosaurus that decimates their ranks.

Here’s the film trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Poster Value

High-grade copies of this poster are usually priced between $400-$500 but better deals can be found.  The combination of Frank McCarthy‘s gorgeous art for a Ray Harryhausen dinosaur vs cowboys flick make this a poster that will continue to be desirable for collectors and genre fans for a long, long time.

Several current listings on eBay range in price from $150 to $500 with a Near Mint copy priced at $495.

Summary

Dinosaurs fighting cowboys. Lost Worlds inside Forbidden Valleys.  Brought to life in stunning Technicolor by the master Dynamation, Ray Harryhausen… It’s the stuff of Monster Kids’ dreams.  What can I say about this movie without sounding all gushy?  Nothing, so I might as well gush.  I simply love this movie, flaws and all.  And I love the movie poster almost as much as I love the film.  ‘Nuff said.

Top 10 Most Valuable Movie Monster Props

Top 10 Most Valuable Monster Movie Props & Costumes Ever Sold at Auction
Ghostbusters Terror Dog Movie Prop

We love our movie monsters and we love collecting them in al their forms.  From creatures from outer space to beasts from the ocean depths, movie makers have spent decades creating monsters to keep us on the edge of our seats.

Here we take a look at ten of the most fearsome – and valuable – screen monsters to ever cross the auction block.

10) Brain Gremlin Puppet

Brain Gremlin Puppet

Joe Dante followed his hit 1984 horror comedy Gremlins with an anarchistic sequel featuring numerous parodies, slapstick, Chuck Jones animation and fourth-wall breaking humour. A screen-used animatronic puppet for the ‘Brain’ gremlin – given intelligence by a super-potion and voiced by Tony Randall – sold at Profiles in History in 2008 for $13,000. (Image: Profiles in History)

Related: Most Valuable Monster Movie Puppets

9) Ghostbusters Terror Dog

Ghostbusters Terror Dog Movie Prop

Despite featuring a host of less-than-scary spooks such as Slimer and the Marshmallow Man, Ghostbusters does feature two truly memorable monsters – the terror dogs. A stop-motion puppet, used as the demon alter-ego for Sigourney Weaver (“The nice lady who paid us in advance before she became a dog”) sold at profiles in History in 2008 for $13,000. (Image: Profiles in History)

8) Bruce the Shark Jaws 

Bruce the Shark from Jaws

Despite its status as a cinema classic, Jaws almost never made it to the screen. During production the mechanical sharks failed to work, or looked ridiculous, hugely delaying the shoot to the point the studio almost pulled the plug. Spielberg was forced to show the shark – nicknamed Bruce by the crew – as little as possible, which actually improved the film. An original 4ft prop shark used for close-up scenes sold for £16,675 at Christie’s in 1996. (Image: Christie’s)

 Related: Collecting Jaws Memorabilia

7) Bat-Dracula from Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula Bat Movie Prop

Despite featuring some of the worst English accents in cinema history, Bram Stoker’s Dracula also provides one of the most intense performances as Gary Oldman inhabits the Count in Oscar-winning effects make-up. One of the most terrifying scenes features Dracula transformed into a gigantic bat, and the original suit and mask worn during the scene brought $30,000 at Profiles in History in 2011. (Image: Profiles in History)

 Related: Collecting Dracula

6) Creature from the Black Lagoon Mask

Creature from the Black Lagoon Mask

Man-in-a-suit monsters don’t come much more famous than the Creature from the Black Lagoon, who first appeared on the silver screen in 1954. He resurfaced again in 1955, in Revenge of the Creature, in which he fell in love with Lori Nelson, although their relationship ended in a hail of bullets. The original screen-worn mask from the film sold for $70,000 at Profiles in History in 2009. (Image: Profiles in History)

Related: Creature from the Black Lagoon Collectibles

5) Predator Suit 

Predator Suit

Stan Winston created the now-iconic design for the Predator whilst on a plane ride with director James Cameron, after Cameron commented he’d like to see a creature with mandibles. The 1986 film went on to spawn a franchise, starting with Predator II in 1990, and a full screen-worn mask and suit from the sequel brought $80,000 at Profiles in History in 2010.(Image: Profiles in History)

4) Starship Troopers Warrior Bug Puppet

Starship Troopers Bug Puppet

Paul Verhoeven’s satirical sci-fi classic features a wide range of monsters in the shape of gigantic alien bugs. Created using a mix of CGI and practical effects, the film earned an effects Oscar nomination in 1998 but was defeated by the all-conquering Titanic. A 72” tall screen-used warrior bug puppet sold at Profiles in History in 2012 for $85,000. (Image: Profiles in History)

 

3) Jurassic Park T-Rex Head

Jurassic Park T Rex Prop

Spielberg’s Jurassic Park may have featured some of the greatest CGI ever seen on film, but it also included practical dinosaurs made by effects maestro Stan Winston – for which he won an Oscar in 1994. An enormous, life-sized animatronic T-Rex head from the film sold for $110,000 at Profiles in History in 2007. (Image: Profiles in History)

 

2) Xenomorph Alien Suit

Xenomorph Alien Suit

One of the most famous movie monsters in cinema history, the creature from Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic was created by Swiss artist H.R Giger who also helped design the look of the film. Giger won an Oscar for his work, and the Xenomorph went on to become a true icon of horror. The original screen-worn suit from the film sold at Profiles in History in 2007 for $110,000. (Image: Profiles in History)

 

1) King Kong Armature

King Kong 1933 Armature

The most famous movie monster of them all, King Kong captured the imagination of movie goers when he roared to life in 1933. The film featured state-of-the-art stop-motion effects by Willis O’Brien, with three Kong models built from mechanical frames, foam and rabbit fur. One of the original 22” armature skeletons – used during the climactic scene on top of the Empire State Building – sold at Christie’s in 2009 for a record £121,500. (Image: Christie’s)  Another  armature skeleton resides in the monstrous collection of Bob Burns

This article is provided courtesy of Picollecta.com – read the original article on their site

CLASSIC MOVIE POSTERS – Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

Classic Movie Poster Gallery

Beast from 20000 Fathoms One Sheet Movie PosterBeast from 20,000 Fathoms (Warner Brothers, 1953) 27″ x 41″ Style A One-Sheet

With Jurrasic World stomping through the box office,  I thought it would be fun to look back at classic movie posters of a film genre that is so near-and-dear to my heart, dinosaur movies.  Also, “lost worlds” and “giant atomic beasts.”  I love them all!

While not the first dinosaur/lost world film by a long shot, Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is the first in a long-line of movies in the “Giant Atomic Beast” genre, pre-dating even the venerable Godzilla by one year.  The importance of the film isn’t limited to simply being first.  This movie was also the first solo project for our beloved Ray Harryhausen and the only time in cinematic history that Harryhausen and his lifelong friend, Ray Bradbury, appeared in the film credits together.  The movie was loosely based on a short story Bradbury published in the Saturday Evening Post.

The one-sheet poster for this movie is simply great, including  no less than 5 tag lines:

The Seas’ Master Beast of the Ages – Raging Up From the Bottom of Time!

They Couldn’t Believe Their Eyes! They Couldn’t Escape the Terror! And Neither Will YOU! 

You’ll See It Tear a City Apart!

CASTS OF THOUSANDS! Over a Year in the Making!

Synopsis

A group of scientists and military men are in the remote far reaches of the Arctic Circle, testing a nuclear device. The detonation sets free a prehistoric “Rhedosaurus”, a giant carnivorous dinosaur that walks on four legs.  The Beast makes its way south toward old nesting grounds, sinking a ship along the way.  The Beast destroys a lighthouse along his route and eventually comes ashore in New York City, wreaking havoc. As if his ferocity and size were not enough of a menace, it is discovered that when wounded, the Beast drips blood that contains deadly amounts of radioactive bacteria. The military decides that the Beast will have to be taken out by a grenade rifle armed with a radioactive isotope leading to a final showdown in an unlikely setting – a closed amusement park.

Enjoy the movie trailer:

Poster Value:

This poster simply doesn’t show up at auction very often.  Heritage Auctions sold one way back in 2008 for $1,553.  There is one current eBay listing for a nice copy of the poster for $1,450.

Summary

This movie is simply great and it’s importance can’t be understated to fans of genre movies.  Not only did this film give Harryhausen is break-out opportunity, the film’s director, Eugene Lourie went on to become specialize in the genre of giant atomic beast invasion films.  In 1959 he directed The Giant Behemoth, which featured stop-motion effects by Willis O’Brien and his assistant Pete Peterson, using many of the same low-budget methods that Harryhausen had pioneered. This was followed in short order by Gorgo (1961), which Lourie directed in England, this time featuring a man-in-a-suit monster.

The commercial success of Beast from 20,000 Fathoms led other Hollywood studios to jump on the bandwagon.  The following is from Turner Classic Movies tribute to Ray Harryhausen:

Meanwhile, the influence of Harryhausen’s first solo creation was being felt around the world. In Japan, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka of Toho Studios read a synopsis of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms in a trade magazine, and it inspired him to create a homegrown monster-on-the-loose. The first script for what would become Gojira (1954) even included an attack on a lighthouse. Gojira was a fearsome scaly-spined dinosaur brought to life as a man-in-a-suit by effects expert and longtime Kong fan Eiji Tsuburaya. (The edited film received added footage featuring Raymond Burr and a new title for its American release as Godzilla, King of the Monsters in 1956).

Warner Bros. also took note of the success of Beast and immediately put into production Them! (1954), which would feature an invasion of giant ants and a copycat release pattern of saturation bookings and a massive advertising campaign. Other studios would launch their own giant insect films as a result. So two entire movie sub-genres, the Japanese daikaiju (giant monster) film, and the American “Big Bug” movie, can be traced back to the twin successes of the 1952 reissue of King Kong and its Atomic-Age imitator, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.

And on top of all that, the movie poster is simply awesome,