Aries 1B studio model found intact

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ShowCraft

Well-Known Member
Hadn't seen a post about this before. Apparently Kubrick gave it to a friend after filming where it stayed in secret until now. It's in L.A. now and up for auction at icollector.com.
Some members of the studio scale modeling crowd are going to see it today to verify if it's the real thing. Let's hope so
 

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Duncanator

Sr Member
My first impression is that it looks authentic. The storage wear and aging patina on the mount spuds seems consistent for its age. Also the level of paint weathering and details looks right for a shooting model, as well as the rough interior (and the fact that it opens up at all.)

What a great find! I can't wait to find out more about it.
 

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GKvfx

Sr Member
Well, if anybody told me I'd be looking at this thing today, I'd have bought the bridge they were selling. But,........ well, I'm convinced it's real. Went over and looked at it this afternoon with Carson Dyle. The consignor's story lines up with the research Dave Larson came up with a few years ago. And there were some tells that Doug Trumbull had mentioned to me in past conversations that I don't think were commonly known. Will post some photos I've taken later. Also digging up some other references for comparisons.

more later,

Gene
 

phase pistol

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
SOMEBODY HAS GOT TO GET OVER THERE AND PHOTOGRAPH EVERY INCH OF THAT.

(and post the pictures :D )

128 Sierra Street, El Segundo, California, 90245, United States

Previewing Details:
9am to 11am

SOMEBODY GET DOWN THERE STAT!!!
 

ShowCraft

Well-Known Member
Fantastic Gene! Glad you and Carson were the ones doing the verification. Its simply unfathomable to me that this has just popped back into existence. It's like finding the Coelacanth.
 

GKvfx

Sr Member
I was there earlier today and discussed doing a photo survey. Obviously they can't entertain everyone. I'm trying to arrange a time next week when more photos can be taken and perhaps bring along some industry-types to gather their notes as well. As of now, we are not going to attempt to turn it over. it's a multi-person job just to get it upright. We need to do some research to verify the orientation of the top piece to the rest of the body. Till then, here's some detail shots -

- - - Updated - - -

More.....
 

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ShowCraft

Well-Known Member
A million thanks for these or any pics at all. How about something else in the pics for scale reference. Someone's hand maybe?
Would there be any chance of getting a tape measure around it for an exact size?
 

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phase pistol

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Gene, you mentioned David Larson, and I was remembering the aborted documentary that he and Trumbull were working on a few years ago. Is Larson's Making of 2001 book ever coming out, or did the $800 Taschen thing torpedo that too?

Karl
 

satazius

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This seems so completely implausible! I checked the date and it's not April 1st. So I'm pretty sure I'm dreaming. And I don't want to wake up.

Thanks Gene for the pix. I hope there is someway to discern the mechanism for the landing legs. I've always wondered what the inside looked like. Here's hoping for a peek inside. But even just a good look at the bottom would be amazing.

Wow.
 

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Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This was posted in Production made screen used.

Stanley kept more things then he let on to i have been told.

Looks like some of the things I have been told are true
 

Scott Graham

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'll bet it was supposed to be out in a trash pile like the space station - rotting away in the field. Apparently the station wasn't incinerated either. You've seen the pics, right? I doubt Stanley saved it.
 

GKvfx

Sr Member
Responding to a couple of things here -

I'm not sure what the deal is with Dave Larson's book. I once joked with him that we'll see the his book the same time we see some of the original miniatures show up (i.e.: never). Clearly, that has been thrown out of whack.

As for the "guts" of the thing - I did lift the top off to take a look inside. As can be seen from the iCollector photos, there is a large wooden disc just below the passenger windows. That is secured in place and cannot be removed. All the motors/gearing/etc that was secured to that disc have been removed, leaving some unpainted areas. (This is part of the consignor's story - that those items were removed prior to it being released. I have not seen the provenance letter, but discussed the general story with the auction house. Hoping to get more info later.) I suspect that the mounting points are below that disc and it is actually the load-bearing part of the model. Anything that was released into the lower part of the model when the motors were removed are likely down there. (I'd like to get an endoscope down there just to see.....)

Getting back to the story behind these models, I'll direct you to a thread that was posted here a number of years ago - http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=91627&p=1300849&viewfull=1#post1300849

I had heard the story years before from Dave Larson and posted it in various places, but here it goes (again) -

I can't remember where I posted this first - here or on HobbyTalk - but I post it when these photos pop up since these photos have become something of a legend. Here's the tale (sorry for the length) -

As with just about anything to do with the making of 2001, the fate of all the models is complicated and the stories that have endured are almost an urban legend.

It's true that Kubrick was a fanatic about security and the releasing of imagery. In eight years of research, Dave Larson has come across only Polaroid exposure shots of the large discovery being filmed...no color transparencies at all. I think we've been spoiled by the photo coverage from ILM/Apogee/BOSS over the years. They had the benefit of a staff photographer whose job it was to cover the making of stuff. People just didn't think that way in the pre-2001 days, so there wasn't a dedicated photographer during the VFX filming. And stuff was still shot on film back then, so you weren't likely to shoot several hundred photos of the model under construction (God, how I wish they did). And Kubrick would likely have disapproved. That, I think, kinda explains the dearth of photos.

As for the sets - the British had a common practice of stripping down any useful parts and reusing them as stock set pieces and then burning the rest on the backlot to get rid of them. For 2001, about the only thing I can think of as being useful for a stock set would be the hotel at the end of the picture. As it is, I'm willing to bet a lot of the furniture from that set was from a rental house. The paintings and urns and lights and vases and table and bed are all fairly common items. (Wouldn't be surprised if they are still there.) All the Space Station, spaceship interiors, and Discovery sets were so highly stylized that doubt they were even considered for stock sets. Even if Stanley hadn't been that secretive, I doubt they would have survived.

Now here's where it gets tricky - during the production of the movie, Stanley Kubrick agreed to sell many of the props, costumes, artwork, miniatures, and even some set pieces to a group of people that were trying to establish an International Space Museum & Gallery in Washington, DC. The idea was that these artifacts would form the cornerstone of the museum and would eventually include 'real' artifacts that had flown in space. (At the time, there was no dedicated gallery at the Smithsonian for these types of artifacts. Any/all aviation and space related items were displayed in the main Smithsonian Castle building till the new Air & Space building was constructed around 1976.) Supposedly, Chesley Bonestell had donated some of his artwork for the facility as well. A lot of the costumes and almost all of the models were tagged for this exhibit and were crated up and stored till the movie was finished. A lot of the models were only shot with a large format still camera and those photos were actually what we see on the screen. (All of the weapons satellites, good portions of the Moonbus, Aries, and Orion footage were all shot as stills, retouched, and then rephotographed.) In a way those photos were more valuable to the production than the actual models, and thankfully, a lot of those large format photos have survived. Most of those models would have been boxed up in the summer of 1967.

Kubrick insisted that the items sold to the museum would not be used in other films, as the props from Forbidden Planet had been reused over the years (Invisible Boy, episodes of Twilight Zone, etc). And they agreed to this stipulation. In addition, there were to be many tie-ins with other companies that had supplied information on their plans for the future. All of those were to feature some of the props from 2001 as part of a marketing strategy.

So what happened?

Well, first off, a lot of the companies that agreed to to provide technical and design support to the movie loaned out personnel, but were unable to manufacture anything fast enough to satisfy a movie schedule (even one as glacial as 2001). American Express made a credit card (ultimately unseen), and Honeywell company made a snazzy briefcase, but that was about it. Most of the other futuristic props that are in the film were designed and built at the studio. There were a lot of logos used (IBM, Howard Johnson's, Hilton, Pan Am, Aeroflot), but not a whole lot of actual products. That kinda killed the tie-in deals.

Not helping any was the fact that the movie took something like four years to make. This deal was negotiated fairly early on, and perhaps Stanley just got weary of the idea of a museum by the end of the production. The marketing people and the critics didn't really know what to make of the film and this would just add to the "what the heck are we going to do with this thing" feeling that everyone had once the film was finally seen.

Probably the biggest factor was Stanley just wanting to preserve the mystery of how they pulled it off. I think this quote from Kubrick sums it up - "How could we possibly appreciate the Mona Lisa if Leonardo (Davinci) had written at the bottom of the canvas: 'The lady is smiling because she's hiding a secret from her lover.' This would shackle the viewer to reality, and I don't want this to happen to 2001." That and the not wanting it to appear in another movie (Once out of England and his control, anything could have happened to that stuff.) Whatever the reason, Kubrick reneged on the agreement to send the stuff to Washington, DC. This was some time in late 1967, before the first screenings and just as the stuff should have been shipped to the US from the UK. The museum people were justifiably upset. MGM just kinda went along for the ride.

Like any good Hollywood tale, this one wound up in a lawsuit with both MGM and Kubrick being sued for a good sum by the museum people. The suit wound its way through depositions and the like for a number of years. Meanwhile, all this stuff is still in storage over at MGM in London. Finally, when it was realized that they would probably be found liable for breach of contract, Stanley and MGM settled up with the museum people.......in 1974. (The damage was done, however, and the International Space Museum & Gallery never opened.)

The six years in between the release of 2001 and the end of the lawsuit were not good ones for MGM. They were facing a lot of financial difficulties here in the states, and the UK studio operation wasn't in particularly good shape either. In Los Angeles, MGM cleared out most of its prop and wardrobe collection in a series of auctions in the early 70's. After Soylent Green wrapped filming in 1972, a good portion of the backlot in Culver City was bulldozed and turned into housing. Since the models and props were part of a lawsuit, the items had to be kept secure. But once the lawsuit was over, Kubrick and MGM were free to do anything they wanted to do with the stuff. MGM had no real interest in keeping the stuff around. The crates took up a considerable amount of space in a facility that they were looking to liquidate. (MGM shipped over a couple of the helmets and some of the costumes, but that was about it.) Kubrick didn't specifically order the stuff's destruction, but didn't want to pay to have the stuff shipped to the states or to have it stored, either. It wasn't too long before the guy running the studio operations at MGM in the UK called up a hauling company and had it all sent away to the dump.

Here's where the tale gets downright bizarre - we've all seen the photos of the Space Station in the field. Apparently, the large Discovery and the full size Pods survived filming and were set up at a children's playground. This was all done on the quiet, without MGM's knowledge. Once they found out about it, they went ballistic and ordered the company to go and retrieve the stuff and made them sign a document saying the items had been destroyed. This was the equivalent of a racehorse being taken to a rendering plant. So, what the kids didn't manage to break off in the few days the stuff was outside was loaded up, shipped out to a dump, and likely burned.

Rumors and anecdotal evidence suggest that the Moonbus miniature did survive. Depending on which version you hear, either Kubrick wound up with it or another crew member kept it. The sad footnote is that it finally met it's end at the hands of someone's kids and some fireworks. (Dave Larson heard that Kubrick had it. I heard the story about the other crew guy and his kids (for the life of me, I don't know where I heard it, but I thought the person telling me the story at the time to be credible, so I'm repeating it.)) When Dave Larson inventoried the stuff the Kubrick estate donated to the College of Communication, it wasn't amongst any of the inventories. None of the Kubrick family members Dave met with have mentioned it. Likely, it is gone.

I think that because of our fondness of the movie and our desire to see how it was done, as well as the stories we've heard, we all have this idea in our heads of some crazy madman running around the set screaming, "Burn it. Burn it all!" But I don't think that's the case...the reality turned out to be more subtle. It think there was an unfortunate set of circumstances colliding with a very private and secretive man that occurred in an era where these kinds of items just were not valued as much as they are today.

I have to say one other thing - Dave Larson has researched this and passed along this information to me over a series of long chats we've had over the years. I can take no credit for any of the information here. He has really done his homework, and quite frankly, is 'da man' when it comes to 2001.

Gene
 

cayman shen

Master Member
Not a model I have any interest in, but it always tickles the crap out of me when some lost pop culture artifact turns up. It makes me think the world is full of possibility, like I could find a pulse rifle or a phaser in some old lady's barn one day. Very cool news.
 

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