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ORIGINAL THE ANIMAL WORLD TYRANNOSAURUS REX

Updated: November 25, 2005

Original Willis O'Brien Tyrannosaurus Rex stop-motion armature from The Animal World, animated and signed by Ray Harryhausen. (Irwin Allen Productions, 1956) This rare original stop-motion armature was designed by the father of stop-motion animation, Willis O'Brien, and animated by Ray Harryhausen for the film. A steel armature with fiber washers, it features hinge-and-swivel jointed segments, with and a hand-shaped skull and jaws lined with many sharp teeth.

As this armature was used for different dinosaur creatures, a small "horn" spike is attached to the top of the skull near the front jaw, which was variously used as a horn for the ceratosaurus, or concealed when used as a Tyrannosaurus. The top of the skull is signed in black ink by Ray Harryhausen, who animated the 15 minute dinosaur sequence, the most expensive scene in the entire film.

In preparation for animating and filming the dinosaur sequence in the film, this armature was covered in with foam latex using an injection method, which allowed the armature to be more expediently "skinned" for different scenes. Footage from the dinosaur sequence was later used in Trog (1970), about a prehistoric cave dweller discovered in modern-day Great Britain and his problems coping with people when captured and acculturated with modern civilization. (This was also Joan Crawford's final film).

Approx. 29 in. from tip to tip, the armature stands 14 in. tall as currently posed. Though the front two forearms are not present, the armature remains in excellent condition overall, and is certainly one of the best surviving Willis O'Brien armatures ever discovered. Animal World was the last film on which both Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen worked together, making this wonderful armature an important link to both of their storied careers. Comes with a letter of authenticity from visual effects expert and historian, William J. Hedge, who carefully examined this model in person.

Value: $50,000 - $70,000

(*) Photos and text courtsey of Profiles in History!


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