Storage Wars…

BT_RC1BT_RC2BT_RC3BT_RC7BT_RC6BT_RC8BT_RC9BT_RC10BT_RC5Dumped in a corner and left to gather dust, this fantastic piece of movie history was unearthed Auction Hunters style in 2004 by a fan smart enough to recognise and photograph the neglected carcass of what I presume to be the primary R/C Helicopter used in Blue Thunder.

Although obviously left in pitiful condition the pics tell us that most, if not all the parts were still present (remote control, cannon assembly and even a spare canopy, 5th & bottom pic) and offer conclusive proof that the ship was once airborne, (judging by the bird poop) and that Roy Scheider’s stunt double was a smiling Ken doll.

While researching these pics I was lucky enough to get in contact with ‘Lee S’ of the Replica Prop Forum who was kind enough to share the story of how he made the discovery below;

“…It was mostly by chance.  I’d bid on a huge miniature of the Roger Young from Starship Troopers that Sony was selling off on eBay. I didn’t win, but I asked the seller if it would be possible to take some pictures of the model before it left with the new owner.  I was working in Culver City CA, just behind Sony and the guy from Sony said sure. I zipped over and had about 20mins to take pictures right before the Roger Young was loaded onto a truck. This wasn’t AT Sony, it was across the street in an old bank that they were storing stuff in, mostly it seemed bits & pieces they were selling off. After taking pictures of the RY I took a couple of minutes to look around and found the Blue Thunder model around a corner. So I snapped the pics you see and then asked if it had been on eBay too as I’d not noticed. The guy said it wasn’t but he thought it might be at some point. I asked if he’d let me know if it was listed, but I never heard from him again. The date/time on the pictures was Oct 29th 2004 around 8am. The date sounds about right, but it wasn’t 8am as I recall it was mid afternoon 3-4pm.

And that’s about all I know :-)..”

Although R/C Helicopter models from Blue Thunder have been restored and offered in auction over the last 10 years, the lack of pilot figure in the Profiles In History lots make me more inclined to believe that this one may have been salvaged for display in the Sony offices (see post below) rather than offered up anywhere else (possibly due to its condition) if indeed it was salvaged at all…

My sincere thanks go to Lee for permitting use of this fascinating gallery of pictures showcasing this intriguing find.  If you have anything to add to this story, feel free to get in touch..!

“Believable As The 11 O’Clock News…”

BT_AC_Cover1BT_AC_1aBT_AC_2aBT_AC_3aBT_AC_16aBT_AC_17aEnjoy what must surely be the most comprehensive of journals detailing how the plethora of special effects photography in Blue Thunder was achieved.  The series of fascinating articles from the May 1983 edition of American Cinematographer magazine will be posted here in its entirety beginning with the overview above (click for larger images) by Robert Veze and concluding with a piece on Motion Control.  Catch ‘ya later..!

Courtesy Of Sony…

blue thunder model at sonyblue-thunderRC_BT_SonyI present the model Blue Thunder used in the 1983 film Blue Thunder - Imgur(1)Further to the last post regarding the fate of the Blue Thunder R/C helicopters – here are a few images culled from Google (apologies for the quality) showing an alternative model currently on display in the Sony offices.  Notable differences between this and the Planet Hollywood version are the stabilizing paddles for the rotors, missing rung on the left hand skid and the addition of a Murphy pilot figure. (all of which leads me to believe it was used in the final Cochrane confrontation scenes).  One sad parallel is the treatment of the cannon, although the salvation in this instance is that at least its still present. (top pic in side window…)  Anybody with better, more current pics please feel free to contribute…

Courtesy Of Columbia…

BT_Hollywood1BT_Hollywood2BT_Hollywood3Another highlight of my trips to Florida was the discovery of this – incredulously tucked away in a dark corner of Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney, Orlando.  Suspended by wires at considerable height but otherwise unmolested, this genuine R/C miniature of the Blue Thunder helicopter may well still be in situ today.  As the pics show there had been no restoration to the chopper (broken cannon/canopy windows missing)  before mounting and the sign (accompanied by original lobby card) was partially hidden behind a plant.  If any fans out there happen to be passing and confirm its still there by shooting some more recent pics, I’d be happy to host them here…