Michael J. Fox clowning around while filming the hoverboard-in-the-tunnel scene for Back to the Future 2, 1989. Childhood ruined.

Another hoverboard scene with a wider view for perspective.

Motion capture actors working on scene for War of the Planet of the Apes, 2016. Filming on a soundstage with a monitor showing live-time how the actors movements will appear in the film.

Alfred Hitchcock with his dummy head, on the set of Frenzy, 1972. The head was used in the trailer for the body of Hitchcock floating down the River Thames.

Bruce Campbell testing out a variety of physical practical effects for Army of Darkness, 1992.

Setting up the live camera shots for later compositing with the stop-motion animated ED-209 robot in RoboCop 1987.

In the first panel, an outtake from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Harrison Ford’s hat flies off, ruining the shot. Afterwards, off camera, he pretends to staple the hat ot his head during a break to reset the scene.

Bill Bryan as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man filming Ghostbusters, 1984.

Constructing the full body animatronic Falcor puppet for The Neverending Story, 1984. Two primary models for Falkor were used in the film, one for close ups and the full sized version seen above. It clocked in at just under 50 feet long and 220 pounds. Constructed by Guiseppe Tortura, the frame was made of airplane steel. It had 16 moving areas which enabled Falcor to speak, laugh, roll its eyes, twinkle and frown. The skin consisted of over 10,000 handsized scales and 100+ lbs of pink Angora-wool.

Dennis Muren prepping miniature on a set for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 1982.

How the suspenseful rollerskating scene effects were done in Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, 1936. Here’s the final cut.

Testing the functionality of the Goomba animatronic costume for Super Mario Bros., 1993.

A still from the Babylon set/scene in the 1916 epic Intolerance : Love’s Struggle Through the Ages.  Intolerance’s Babylon set was built on a still-dirt Sunset Boulevard, at Hollywood, site today of the Vista Theatre, and it was both carefully researched (though Griffith insisted on the totally inappropriate elephants) and enormous; in Kevin Brownlow’s book The Parade’s Gone By, second-unit director Joseph Henabery describes the scale: “The walls of Babylon were ninety feet high. The walls were about the same height as the columns on which the elephants were erected; it is safe to estimate the overall height at one hundred and forty feet … At its widest point, the tower structure was forty feet.” He adds that “Altogether we spent little more than a couple of hours on the scene.”  Intolerance is one of history’s greatest flops. There was no money left to dismantle the set, and for a few years it became an actual ruin in the middle of Los Angeles. It was finally torn down in 1919. Interestingly enough, When they rebuilt the Hollywood & HIghland center in the late 90s-early 2000s, they used the old Babylon set as inspiration. Picture below. You probably don’t want to watch the whole thing, but if you get a hankerin‘.

Here’s Hollywood & Highland’s Babylon’s Gate, complete with elephant, and nearly the same size/scale.

James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver blocking the shot with Lance Henriksen, Aliens 1986. It still kind of blows my mind how well the effects hold up in this movie even though its THIRTY TWO YEARS OLD.  Ugh. I am also old.

2006’s Superman Returns would not have been nearly as impressive without a little help from the cape fluttering FX crew.

Jesse Ventura with his prostetic to help create his exploding chest death scene in Predator, 1987.

Jim Henson bringing Sesame Street News reporter Kermit to life, mid 80s. I find the physical and mental fortitude to be able to be a Muppeteer really amazing. The sets were build 8-10 feet below what would show on camera, so the full height of the person piloting the muppet would be entirely disguised. To be able to see what the audience was seeing, they used monitors that showed exactly that…however it meant that if the muppeteer moved right, the muppet would move left and vice versa. They would spend 90% of their time with one arm up over their head, and the second arm at chest or chin height to control the rods that operated the hands. Sometimes they would stand, but sometimes (on the Sesame Street set for example) they would sit on small rolling stools….I can’t imagine which would be harder on the body, with your hands in the air. They often times crouched or would lay down entirely. The trademark headbands had audio hooked into them so they could capture the voices. A lot of effort to make me a very happy kid at any age. Not a BTS, but here’s a bonus bit of Kermit the news reporter losing his shit (as much as he was able to) trying to do man-on-the-street interviews.

Johnny Depp getting covered blood for his big scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984.

Stunt rider Terry Gibson driving 180KM/h while cinematographer David Eggby films a scene for Mad Max, 1979. David said “I couldn’t even wear a helmet because you can’t operate a camera with one; it gets in the way.”

Kurt Russell and his stunt double Dick Warlock on the set of Escape from New York, 1981. Not particularly behind-the-scenes-y, I just wanted an excuse to post hunky photos of Kurt Russell. No shade.

The tiger before and after CGI, The Life of Pi, 2012.

Creepy twins being remarkably less creepy…Lisa and Louise Burns as the Grady sisters on the set of The Shining, 1980.

Linda Blair and her animatronic double on the set of The Exorcist, 1973. That eyebrow waggle!

Marlon Brando before and after getting his make-up done to be Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather, 1972.

A backstage shot of the set of Hitchock’s Rear Window, 1954. The full set consisted of 31 apartments, 8 of which were completely furnished, with 1000 arc lights to simulate sunlight. This picture shows a populated BTS shot, but the one below gives an excellent view in a bit of a different perspective, and in color.

Rear Window set in color, 1954.

Collage of pictures of Shirley Eaton being painted in gold paint, Goldfinger, 1964.

Sigourney Weaver practicing with her flamethrower on the lawn at Shepperton Studios 1, Alien 1979.

Keanu Reeves trips on the set of The Matrix, 1999. I dread to think how much time/money that slip cost in rebuilding the props to reshoot.

Special make up FX artists Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger setting up Paul Sheldon’s foot prosthetics for “that scene” on the set of Misery, 1990.

Steven Spielberg filming the dinner banquet scene, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984.

Tim Burton demonstrating what he wants the snake rescue scene to look like to Paul Reubens on the set of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, 1985. So, so young.

Ugh, so many cuts. This record-breaking jump for 2016’s Assassin’s Creed performed by stunt man Damien Walters, with the jump starting at a height of 125 feet.

FX artist Ve Neill turning Danny DeVito into the The Penguin for Batman Returns, 1992.

A sweaty crew member emerges from the st. bernard costume on the set of Cujo, 1983. I do not envy that man.

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