January 27, 2019 2:10 pm
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Original Proteus submarine filming miniature from Fantastic Voyage

(TCF, 1966) From Irwin Allen’s classic science-fiction film truly worthy of its “Fantastic” title, this miniature submarine was a key visual effects miniature and was used in important special effects sequences. In the film, the crew of the Proteus – a team consisting of medical specialists and submarine operators/navigators – are miniaturized and injected into the body of a scientist who possesses the secrets of miniaturization. The only catch: they have just one hour to destroy the scientist’s tumor, and make it back to the rendezvous point to be enlarged back to their original size! A triumph of cinematic special effects driven by a compelling script, the film easily won the 1967 Academy Awards for Best Effects, Special Visual Effects and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color. There were four Proteus submarine miniatures constructed for the film, ranging from 1½ inches to 5 feet in length, all based on the submarine design by Harper Goff, designer of the Nautilus submarine from Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The 2 ½ foot (31 in. long) model presented here is the miniature that was built to be featured in the “wet-for-wet” shots, for the riveting sequence when the Proteus breaks free from the rushing currents within the artery, bursting though the arterial wall into the “calmer waters” of the vein. This Proteus miniature is constructed primarily of fiberglass at a scale of approximately 1/16, and was made by the 20th Century-Fox special effects department under the direction of L.B. Abbott, head of the effects department at Fox and the man responsible for visual effects in the Irwin Allen TV shows Lost in Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. This Proteus miniature was suspended on wires and shot “wet for wet” on the film’s miniature sets, several of which (including the heart and brain sets) occupied entire sound stages. This model has been fully restored with painstaking accuracy to the way it looked on screen in 1966! An important special-effects filming miniature from this classic Irwin Allen film. It was for these special effects shots – the stunning sequences for which this exceptional model was made – that Fantastic Voyage won the 1967 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects / Special Visual Effects. Estimate $20,000 – $30,000

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