11-Footer and Table


We’ll begin this new page with a look inside the home of noted movie memorabilia collector BOB BURNS.  If you saw the Making of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea portion of the recent Leagues DVD, you saw Bob speak about the Disney diving helmets.  In the background of those scenes was this 11-foot fiberglass NAUTILUS replica (above) illuminated with red lighting. 


Update 19 May 2010: According to recent information published by William Babington: Bob’s replica is one of three made by Tom Scherman, Richard Allsmiller, and Stan Sanders in 1986.  Bob has the one shown above; Rich has another; and the third one is “close by”.  J


Getting back to Bob’s collection: If you look closely at the bottom of the picture, you’ll see a specimen table not unlike the one in the Grand Salon of the NAUTILUS.  Sorry folks, this table is a close look-alike, but does not appear to be the one seen in the movie. 


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I’m told what we see here are the actual wooden plugs from which the cast brass parts of the original Disney 11-foot NAUTILUS special effects model were made.  Here are the saw teeth, the ram bulb, hatches, the dorsal fin, dive planes, the prop guard halves, bollards, hull scoops, and more: truly a gold mine for anyone who wants to produce an accurate replica of the 11-footer.  And also, at the top of the case, we see plugs that are said to be those used to cast parts of Nemo’s underwater rifles.  Wow.




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Speaking of Nemo’s underwater rifles, here’s one.   Some say this is an actual prop used in the movie; others say it’s a replica.  Either way, it’s a nice specimen and I sure wish I had one!  (Update: 19 May 2010: actually, now I have three replicas, including one that can fire a spear.)  J




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This is one of the fiberglass Diver helmets worn by stars like Paul Lucas, Kirk Douglas, and Peter Lorre in the dry and dry-for-wet scenes where you could actually see their faces in the helmets.  (Couldn’t have them walking around in real helmets!  They weigh a ton!)   Notice that in this recent picture, the helmet still has the original hoses: darkened over the years, but still intact.  That’s noteworthy because many hoses of this type and vintage have long-since rotted away. 



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Here’s a front view of Bob’s Diver helmet.  There doesn’t appear to be any glass in the front viewport, and one might think that was because Disney wanted a clear view of the actor’s face, unobstructed by glare or reflection.  But in fact, the stunt helmets did have glass viewports as can be seen in the movie.   Apparently, the glass from in front of this helmet has gone missing over the years.



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Here’s a look at the backside of the Glass Diver helmet: the emergency air fitting is missing from the center / back area of the breastplate, but that’s consistent with what we see in the outfitting room scenes where non-functional helmets like this one were used.



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Here’s a front ¾ view of the helmet.  Looking in through the faceplate you can see the small, black, rectangular tab that aligns the bonnet on the corselet.  A real helmet would have the traditional “interrupted thread” mechanism in place of the tab.



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Here’s a close-up look at the pony bottle.  Actually, I see some variation between this prop and the real air tank assemblies that were used underwater in LEAGUES.  But it’s close enough for filming, so why be a nit-picker?  J





Here’s a look at the helmet from above.  The “spools” on what I’ve always referred to as the “air filter device” atop the visor appear to be a match for those used by Tom Scherman on his WDW Diver replica.  Of course, all the patina, weathering, and verdigris “greening” are the result of a very skillful paint job.  All in all, this is a very interesting specimen of Disney 20,000 LEAGUES memorabilia.


Photos of Bob Burns’ collection courtesy of Bob “RocketeerLindenmayer

© Bob Lindenmayer, “All Rights Reserved.”