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Re: Willis O'Brien Triceratops

ralph.miller@alumni.usc.edu (Dino Guy Ralph) replies:
<< Dan, I know that you are extremely knowledgeable about stop-motion lore, 
are you sure that this big head isn't instead a puppet (as indeed the
caption states) rather than a stop-motion figure? >>

       Stop-motion figures can also be called puppets, I believe.

 << Might not this be the
puppet head that was filmed live in close-ups crashing through the brush
during the chase scene in the "Creation" demo reel? >>

       No. That model did not have the glass eyes seen here or other details.

 << Not only is it way too
big even for a Willis O'Brien model, and completely out of scale for the 18"
King Kong models, but it doesn't appear to have much in the way of
postcranial material. >>

       O'Brien used some very large animation models compared to, say, 
Harryhausen. I understand some of the Kong dinosaurs were close to 3 feet in 
You have to remember that this beast was created before Kong went into 
production so there would have been little reason to scale it to the Kong 
models...unless it was a helluva big Triceratops... I've never seen any 
evidence that the Kong/Triceratops scene was ever actually filmed. The story 
heard was that the Creation sequence wherein the Triceratops gores a man was 
grafted into the Kong test reel and later cut. It's even more elusive than the 
Spider-pit sequence.

 << For example, where are the animal's legs? >>

       O'Brien's right hand is manipulating the right fore-limb. It's hard to 
make out in this reproduction due to darkness and a low angled shot. I 
errored in saying I hadn't seen this before, sorry. It's reproduced on page 4 
Cinefex No.7, "Willis O'Brien-Creator of the Impossible" by Don Shay. You can 
get it frequently on eBay for about $30, usually. There's another photo of the 
complete model on page 27. There are two other photos that I know of the 
complete model but not available on line. DV