Crocker Art Museum, Hr 1 Preview | “Babes in Toyland” Stop-motion Soldiers | ANTIQUES ROADSHOW | PBS

GUEST: My grandfather worked for Hal Roach
Studios. He was kind of second-in-command there. These are from Babes in Toyland with
Laurel and Hardy. And these were the toy soldiers that were done with stop-action. So it was
a 16th of an inch, and then they filmed it in 16th of an inch, and filmed it. And because
my grandfather was involved in this particular part of it, we got ten of them. APPRAISER: And you have five here. Where are
the other five? GUEST: Uh, with my nieces. APPRAISER: Ah. GUEST: So these will probably go to my son
and my grandson. APPRAISER: There are actually a couple of
different names for the movie. You… I think you call it Babes in Toyland? GUEST: Babes in Toyland. The March of the
Wooden Soldiers. It was changed over the years, as Disney picked it up, and it was colorized,
and so that was changed again. But originally, it was a musical. Disney wanted to pick it
up. And they said it was too expensive to animate. And so that’s when Hal Roach picked
it up and decided to do it live-action. APPRAISER: You’re so on the money. Actually,
it was an operetta. GUEST: Yes. APPRAISER: Done in 1903 by Victor Herbert. GUEST: Mm-hmm. APPRAISER: And when Hal Roach bought the rights,
he decided to do this, and it was most famously a Laurel and Hardy film. GUEST: Yes. APPRAISER: And they’re “insert sight gag here,”
because, of course, the picture of them dressed up as soldiers, as well. GUEST: Yes. APPRAISER: There were a lot of special effects
done where they’re shrinking Laurel and Hardy down to the size of these scale-model soldiers. GUEST: Yes. APPRAISER: So it was early days in special
effects. Why I was very drawn to them is that this is a very key moment in film history
for this particular type of technology. While we have examples in very, very early optics
in cinema… GUEST: Mm-hmm. APPRAISER: Of some stop-motion animation as
early as the 1890s– 1897 is one of the first examples… GUEST: Right. APPRAISER: What happened the year before this
film came out, in 1934, is, you have a stop-motion animation movie that was all the rage. King
Kong jumped the technology of stop-motion animation to the very next level. So to have
a piece that ties into that kind of important historic piece of movie technology so early,
also from a Laurel and Hardy film… GUEST: Yes. APPRAISER: It’s kind of ticking a lot of boxes
for me, and I think collectors would be very into them. GUEST: Oh, good! APPRAISER: Because it’s kind of early days
of, of special effects technology, people go crazy for these early pieces. Yeah, and
then you also have the bugler… GUEST: Yes. APPRAISER: Who’s different from the rest.
And I think, in a weird way, if you were to have them all together, he might be the favorite,
because we know that there’s probably fewer of him than there are of the guys with the
rifles. GUEST: Right, my mother gave away the drummer. APPRAISER: (gasps) GUEST: I wasn’t happy, but he was beautiful.
He was beautiful. APPRAISER: Do you know who she gave him to? GUEST: Yeah, she gave it to one of the people
taking care of her. APPRAISER: Have you ever had these appraised? GUEST: Uh, once, but I don’t think he was
too much into it, so he didn’t know, so I have no idea. APPRAISER: What, what did he think? GUEST: I think he said five of them would
be maybe $1,000. APPRAISER: It’s somewhat unprecedented to
have such rare early pieces. GUEST: Mm-hmm. APPRAISER: And to have them in multiples. GUEST: Okay. APPRAISER: So if you were to take one of these,
and put them in an auction, I would fully expect that they would reach at least $10,000
to $15,000 individually. GUEST: (laughs) Wow! APPRAISER: And you have five. GUEST: Wow. APPRAISER: So I’m no math wizard, but that’s
$50,000 to $75,000 for the set. GUEST: You’re kidding! That’s amazing! APPRAISER: Yeah. GUEST: I had no idea whatsoever. Well, they’re
going to be taken very good care of. (laughs) APPRAISER: That’s with the assumption that
you obviously wouldn’t take all five and dump them onto the market at one time. I think
the price would hold up if they were slowly leaked onto the market.

Dereck Turner

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