Chitty Chitty film car leads May 14-15 Profiles in History sale
LOS ANGELES – Joe Maddalena’s Profiles in History is set to hold a multi-million-dollar Hollywood memorabilia auction on May 14 and 15, starring one of the most famous automobiles in motion-picture history – the original road-going car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The fully functional car, which was the central focus of the now-classic 1968 children’s film, was as important to the storyline as any of its human co-stars. It was designed by Ken Adam and built by the Ford Racing Team to be as authentic as any standard, factory-built car.
The vehicle to be auctioned is not one of the movie’s mock-ups that simulated flying or sailing across the sea; it is the authentic, roadworthy Chitty and is officially registered with the “GEN 11” plates, as seen in the film. A sturdy production, it drove through sand, across cobblestone and down staircases, and remains in impeccable operational condition to this day. It is estimated at $1,000,000 to $2,000,000.
Profiles in History’s 2-day 1,600-lot auction – which will feature Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.com – contains nearly 700 lots of coveted items pertaining to Disney animation history. These include a 1924 handwritten letter from Walt Disney to his former colleague and creator of Mickey Mouse, Ub Iwerks. In the letter, Disney expresses his pleasure over Iwerks’ decision to come to Hollywood and join his studio. “The rest is history,” said Joe Maddalena. “The importance of this letter cannot be overstated.” The letter is estimated at $60,000-$80,000.
Other auction highlights include: James Dean’s tweed jacket worn in Rebel Without a Cause, Cecil B. DeMille’s Golden Calf used in The Ten Commandments, an original Cinderella production cel signed by Walt Disney, original watercolor concept art from Fantasia, and an original production cel of the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, signed by Walt Disney.
Additional top lots include director Mel Stuart’s archive of material from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, featuring a screen-used “Everlasting Gobstopper;” an original Charles Schultz Peanuts 4-panel comic strip from 1963, a Trader Mickey one-sheet poster depicting Mickey and Pluto on a raft being attacked by angry hippos, and Gustaf Tenngren’s original concept painting for Pinocchio, with Pinocchio searching the murky depths of the sea for Monstro the whale. Jeff Bridges’ “The Dude” signature sweater worn throughout The Big Lebowski is also included in the offering of classic entertainment memorabilia.
For additional information on any lot in the sale, call 310-859-7701.
View the fully illustrated catalogs and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
A daughter’s remembrance of Ken Hughes, director of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
LONDON – Opera singer Melinda Hughes, whose late father Ken Hughes (British, 1922-2001) directed and co-wrote the screenplay for Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, was born years after the film was made, but she knows firsthand how much of an impact it has had on multiple generations of children.
“My father was more of an intellectual film director (Cromwell, The Trials of Oscar Wilde), so Chittty wasn’t his most serious film, but it was probably his most famous,” Hughes told Auction Central News. “When I tell my friends about his connection to the film, they’re thrilled. He invented the character of the Child Catcher. Whenever anyone talks about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, they always remember two things – the car and the Child Catcher.”
Hughes said the screenplay was originally supposed to have been written by the acclaimed novelist Roald Dahl [Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, et al.]. “He began the screenplay but was unable to complete it in time, so they asked my father at short notice to come in and take over. He only had a few weeks in which to complete the screenplay before filming began,” said Hughes. “So he not only ended up directing the film, but co-authoring the screenplay, as well.”
Years after Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was released as a movie, at least one of the Chitty cars would take the spotlight yet again, when the stage version of Chitty Chitty opened in 2003 at the London Palladium. It was followed by a theatrical run in New York, beginning in 2005.
“I flew to New York for the U.S. premiere of the play. I remember that there was a big photo shoot set up for the press at a hotel in uptown Manhattan. The car was on a raised section of the stage. At the premiere after-party, I actually sat in the car. It was quite exciting for me,” said Hughes.
When Hughes’ father passed away, American film producer Barbara Broccoli, [daughter of Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, producer of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the James Bond films] presented her with a special gift. “Barbara had made a beautiful album of stills taken during the filming of Chitty Chitty. There were pictures of my father with Dick Van Dyke and the child actors. Those are very important memories to me – magical memories,” said Hughes.
The creative gene has been passed on to Melinda Hughes, who has been signing opera for the past 15 years. A few years ago, Hughes formed a satirical comedy group called “Kiss & Tell,” which performs at festivals, parties and other events. “We perform what I would call modern-day Noel Coward songs – witty, clever songs of the type that might have been in 1930s Berlin cabarets.” In April, Melinda Hughes released the CD Smoke and Noise, Songs by Mischa Spolianksy and Kiss & Tell.
Click here to purchase Smoke and Noise through Amazon.co.uk.
ADDITIONAL AUCTION LOTS OF NOTE