There were several TV specials including: Meet the Raisins, Raisins Sold Out, Claymation Comedy of Horrors and an Easter special. Less notable characters were from Vintons early feature the Adventures of Mark Twain, and the Little Prince. Here is my attempt to document what is behind the doors based on reference that I found through a secret source. He tells us he wants to keep his identity hidden.
- 1 Tea Commercial head sculpt
- 1 Lumber Jack puppet
- Several Bran Flake puppets for Raisin Bran spots
- Several Raisin puppets from the Raisin Bran spots
- Various heads from background puppets
- Possibly the conductor puppet from the Claymation Christmas Special
- A series of Rudy Bagaman replacement heads from Raisins Sold Out
- At least two Bell characters from the Claymaton Christmas Special
- The Walrus from the Claymation Christmas Special
- The Entrance to Heaven set piece for The Adventures of Mark Twain
- An old man puppet writing in a book for The Little Prince
- Drum set pieces and a piano for various Raisin TV spots
- Many AC, Beebop, Stretch and Red puppets from Raisin TV specials
- The Mother Raisin from the TV specials
- Possibly a Micheael Jordan clay puppet
- At least two Dominoes Pizza Noid puppets with matching Pizza Crusher props
- A Sheldon Snail puppet from the Halloween TV Special
- A black "instead of red" Dominoes Noid puppet (source from an old video)
- One Captain Krunch clay puppet from the TV spot
- Nissan Nick" from the famous Ken and Barbie Nissan ad
- Sets and puppets from Martin the Cobbler
- Sets and puppets from Rip Van Winkle
There also appears to be hundreds of other characters in various states. Some seem to have never been animated, some appear to be beyond repair. Some are thrown in boxes with no protection, while others are covered in clear plastic film to keep the dust off.
Special thanks to our secret source who allowed us to use the images he took of the hidden attic space, as well as giving us a little more information on what is there.
If your lucky enough to be in the area, this secret stash lies upstairs behind a locked door at the main Laika studio building in Portland Oregon. Since the studio has been going through changes, the fate of this collection isn't certain. It's possible most of the puppets will end up on ebay.com, thrown in the trash, be given to employees, or be put in a museum. Here is the address:
1400 NW 22nd Avenue
I found information about another secret stash of puppets, which are actually very public - but it is not well known. The source of the information is from Amazing Figure Modeler Magazine: Issue 37
The title of the article is of Armatures and Argonauts by Mike Falcigno. In the article you learn that most of Ray Harryhausens puppets and bronze sculptures sit in Germany as part of a large collection. The curator of the collection is currently Dr. Rolf Giesen.
Not much was known about this collection, but according to my chat with Mike the museum caters to German cinema. Since Ray Harryhausen is not German, they tend not to either want to promote the collection, or simply don't understand its potential. Just recently "as of October 2006" the museum was going to close part of the collection. They then got a grant and have the ability to keep it on display for about another 10 years.
Another interesting bit of information is that Ray Harryhausen agreed to allow the museum to display the collection but would take it back in case of financial problems at the museum. So the next stop for the collection would have been in the UK where Ray resides. If Ray should pass, I'm assuming everything would go to his estate.
Mike also had mentioned to me that dust mites had attacked several of the puppets that have fur. The Baboon from Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger and other furry puppets needed to get a professional cleaning to stop the deterioration.
Museum workers also created many back drops for the puppets on display to give the feel of real stop motion sets. They were in some cases up to 5 or 6 feet in depth. There is a colloseum, Valley of Gwangi and One Million Years B.C. display amung a few others.
Here is a list of puppets, props and fabricated sets the curator is displaying:
- 1 Miniton Puppet
- 1 Kali Puppet
- 1 Centaur Puppet
- 1 Troglodyte Puppet
- 1 Griffin Puppet
- 1 the Tiger Puppet
- 1 Calibos Puppet
- 1 Medusa Puppet
- 1 Bubo Puppet
- 1 Talos Puppet
- 2 Skeletons Puppet
- 1 Hydra Puppet
- 2 Kraken puppets
- 1 Giant Crab
- 1 Archelon
- 1 Humumculus
- 1 Dioskilos
- 1 Kassim the Baboon
- 1 Cephalapod
- 1 Perseus
- 1 Pegasus
- 1 Pterodactyl
- 1 Cyclops puppet "with missing coverings on the leg and one hand"
- 1 Rhedosaur head
- 1 Baby Roc head
- 1 Original 1932 King Kong Puppet skull
- 1 Gargantuan Octopus head and partial armature
- an original Dynamation camera display
- an original One Million Years B.C. set display "background made by museum"
- a Valley of Gwangi dislplay "background made by museum"
- 1 Cavorite Sphere
- A Rick Baker Cyclops animatronic head - 1 1932 King Kong Skull Island Chief Shield "from live action sequences"
- 1 King Kong Bronze
- 1 Cyclops Bronze
- 1 Ymir Bronze
This collection while not complete is very large to say the least. It is possibly the one place you can go to see the most puppets from Ray Harryhausen under one roof.
According to the article you can view all of the puppets if your lucky enough to live in or visit Berlin Germany. Here is the address to the museum where it is showcased:
Film Museum Berlin:
Potsdamer Str. 2
Phone +49 (0)30 300903-28
Visit the museums web site here:
You can find out more about the Amazing Figure Modeler Magazine here:
One of the largest losses in stop motion history is probably Aardman Animations' warehouse fire in October 2005. In much the same way Laika has stored its history in the attic in Portland Oregon, Aardman had a warehouse full of their entire history in Bristol.
According to a CNN.com article at the time, "the warehouse contained sets, props and models from the company's productions, from the children's cartoon character "Morph" through the Oscar-winning, anthropomorphic "Creature Comforts" series to the Wallace and Gromit films."
A Close Shave, A Grand Day Out and the Wrong Trousers are three of possibly the studios most popular films, and they suffered the most loss. The original negatives from the film luckily were stored somewhere else and still survive.
The fire made its way through the three floors during the night in the warehouse and eventually the fire got so hot, all the floors collapsed onto one another. The fire was ruled as electrically started and not arson. Mostly stone and silicone molds were salvaged from the fire and Aardman had said they would be re-making many of the most memorable losses. Including Chicken Run puppets.
According to scotsman.com "the well-known rocket from A Grand Day Out was spared, as it had been on display at the company's studio, while models and props from Aardman's latest feature, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit, were kept at the company's Bristol studios and were unaffected."
The fire department at first thought it may have been arson, but later it was found that it was not set intentionally by anyone. It wasn't the first fire Aardman had been through. In fact during December 2001 the studio had a small building catch fire with their engineering equipment and other flammable items go ablaze. There were no puppets or props inside it.
Visit Aardmans web site at http://www.aardman.com/
Stegosaurus from the original KING KONG (1933) (articulated armature used to animate the model is visible in the deteriorated tail) the ORIGINAL BRONTOSAURUS from KING KONG (1933) -- the one who ate all the sailors
Bob Burns Kong and Mighty Joe Young Puppet armatures
Peter Jackson stop motion puppets from the original King Kong
George Lucas archive: Stop motion puppets from Willow, the At At walkers and more
Ray Harryhausens and his own creations which are in his home in the UK