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Babes in Toyland Stop-Motion Animation Soldier

A stop-motion animation toy soldier puppet from Babes In Toyland / March of the Wooden Soldiers (Hal Roach Studios, 1934).  The soldier is constructed of carved wood and machined metal parts that have been meticulously hand painted, with additional bent wire bayonet detail.  The figure has fully articulating arms and legs with hinged “ankles” and a split base allowing the figure to “walk.”  The soldier is accompanied by a DVD copy of the film.   The film was originally released as Babes In Toyland as it is based upon the 1903 operetta of the same name by Glen MacDonough and Victor Herbert.  When it was re-released, the film was renamed March of the Wooden Soldiers due to the stop-motion animation sequence that happens in the last four minutes of the film.

 The film stars comedy duo Laurel & Hardy, as Ollie Dee and Stannie Dum work who for the toy maker in Toyland.  They inaccurately take down Santa’s toy order for Christmas inspiring this famous exchange:

Santa: I ordered 600 solders at one foot high.  

Stan: I thought you ordered 100 soldiers at six feet high

This misunderstanding prompts the classic Oliver Hardy response, “This is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.”  Despite their blunder, Laurel & Hardy finish the film as heroes when their one hundred six-foot soldiers save Toyland from Silas Barnaby and his marauding Bogeymen.

The stop-motion animation sequence was created by special effects animator Roy Seawright and cinematographer Art Lloyd using 100 one-foot high soldiers.  The film was originally released in November of 1934 and it is likely not a coincidence that this was just over a year and a half after the premier of King Kong, (RKO,1933) in March of 1933.  King Kong was a huge success largely because of the incorporation of a staggering number of innovative special effects technologies including Willis O’Brien’s stop-motion animation sequences.  The critical reception of these innovative new special effects technologies very likely inspired Roach to incorporate the stop-motion animation sequence in this film.  

Dimensions: 13.62"h (tip of bayonet)

Processing and shipping within the continental U.S. $55.00 plus 1.5% replacement cost insurance.

 

Condition:

Scattered wear and losses to paint over entire figure. Lower portion of jacket has curling and small losses/tears. Witherell's strives to provide as much information and photographs as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Condition statements are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Witherell's. All lots are sold "AS IS" under terms and conditions. Please be advised we do not provide porters nor packing materials for pick ups.

Estimate: $5,000 - $10,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium
$9,075
05/20/2020

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Witherell's strives to provide as much information and photographs as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Condition statements are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Witherell's. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms and Conditions. Methods of payment are cash, check, money orders, or wire transfer for foreign payments. Please note we do not accept credit cards. 21% buyer's premium for this auction through witherells.com.