Sale Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 10:45 AM PDT
The Gary Cannavo Collection of
Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers Filming Miniatures.
The definitive collection of visual effects filming miniatures from the classic Sci-Fi adventure series Battlestar Galactica (1978) and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979). The collection, painstakingly assembled over a 25-year period by private collector Gary Cannavo, consists of 23 filming miniatures of the spaceships that played an integral role in propelling audiences to distant, futuristic fantasy worlds. The core team of model builders and miniatures effects wizards who created the groundbreaking effects for Star Wars (Academy Award winners John Dykstra, Grant McCune, and Richard Edlund, plus Dennis Muren, Jonathan Erland, Lorne Peterson, Dave Jones and Sean Casey) built and filmed these amazing miniatures. The exquisitely detailed spaceship models were designed and built in a painstaking process so they would look real on screen – several feature fiber optics running through the models to illuminate windows and other openings and engine lights along with custom made metal armatures that have several mounting positions for different effect shooting angles. Dykstra, after having won the Academy Award as Special Effects Supervisor for Star Wars, used his cutting edge “Dykstraflex” digital motion control camera system for filming the complex miniature effects of the massive space battles, taking television visual effects to the highest level for the time.
The principal spaceship designs for Battlestar Galactica were conceived by Ralph McQuarrie, the legendary production illustrator from Star Wars, who, more than anyone else, is credited with developing the look of the film. McQuarrie’s designs for the Colonial Vipers, Cylon Raiders, and the Galactica were among the first designs created during pre-production and set the tone for the series as a whole. As with Star Wars, McQuarrie’s designs helped sell Battlestar Galactica to the network.
Among the highlights are the “hero” filming models from both classic franchises, including the 6- foot Galactica filming miniature (the heart and soul of the “rag-tag fleet”), Galactica Shuttle, “hero” Colonial Viper with nitrogen tubes installed to simulate turbo blasts on launch, also used in all publicity photos and close up special effects shooting, Cylon Basestar, “hero” Cylon Raider with electronics and lights, Cylon Tanker, Rising Star, Gemini Freighter, plus others of the rag-tag family of ships. For Buck Rogers, highlights include Buck’s Star Fighter/Thunder Fighter, Ranger 3, the Draconia, Ardala’s Launch and the Hawk Ship. This collection represents the state of the art for miniature practical effects, before Hollywood switched to computer-generated imagery (CGI) – a practice that is lamented by a large number of fans across the globe. Filming miniatures remain at the pinnacle of collecting science fiction artifacts. Indeed, they are works of art in and of themselves, which are becoming increasingly rare. Without question, this remains as the single most important offering, containing the highest number of iconic, museum quality filming miniatures ever offered at public auction. Consider the prices of the following filming miniatures of similar quality that have sold at auction: the Star Trek: The Next Generation Enterprise-D sold for $576,000 and the Klingon Bird of Prey from Star Trek III sold for $307,200, both from the Christie’s Star Trek auction in 2006; a Star Wars “Blockade Runner” sold for $450,000 by Profiles in History in 2015; a Star Wars T.I.E. Fighter sold for $402,500 by Profiles in History in 2008; a Star Wars X-Wing Fighter sold for $270,000 by Profiles in History in 2012. By comparison, there is tremendous value in the 23 miniatures offered in this collection. The vast majority are one-of-a-kind. The Colonial Viper and Cylon Raider are the finest examples in existence. All of the Battlestar Galactica miniatures in this collection are featured in the coffee table book Battlestar Galactica Vault: The Complete History of the Series, 1978-2012 by Paul Ruditis (Sterling Publishing, NY, 2014). It is the owner’s desire for the collection to remain intact in the hope they will be exhibited and enjoyed in a museum environment; therefore, it is being sold as a single lot. The collection is located in Massachusetts; special shipping arrangements will apply. $1,500,000 – $2,000,000
The owner and caretaker of this extraordinary assemblage of 23 filming miniatures is Gary Cannavo, a well known and respected collector throughout the Hollywood memorabilia community who has been acquiring and preserving these models over the past 25 years. Gary is a Boston based radio station mix show, club and concert DJ, also founder and director of the multiple award-nominated promotion and production organization masspooldjs. Gary has worked with some of the most respected people in the music industry to date.
As a young boy growing up, Gary was infatuated with science fiction shows of the day, including Star Trek: The Original Series, Lost in Space, Space: 1999, etc. Once he discovered the magic behind these fantastical visual effects, he became fascinated with effects miniatures. On the heels of Star Wars’ epic success, Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century reached his television screen and he became a huge fan. He was enthralled by the latest effects of the time, spending hours and hours gathering articles, pictures and anything he could find on the subject.
As an adult, he started acquiring these amazing models, ultimately building the collection to where it is today. “The Battlestar Galactica series of miniatures have not been seen together in public since their original filming over 40 years ago,” says Gary. “The Buck Rogers models also have been safely stored away in custom-built crates up until now.”
Gary states, “If anyone ever told me I would one day own these gorgeous models of my childhood era, I would have never believed it. I would have told them they’re crazy! So, as I got older and more successful, I embarked on finding these miniatures anywhere I could, never knowing where I would end up. The trek took me to many places where I met many amazing people I can call friends today. Each model has its own unique story of how and where I found them. It took many years, lots of money and thousands of research hours. It was a labor of love for me. These were spread all over the four corners and one-by-one I acquired them to add to this collection you see today. My love of these models has not stopped. I absolutely love each and every one of these guys. They simply do not make them anymore. It’s becoming a lost art and these are what’s left telling us about Sci-Fi movie and television history. I just feel it’s time to let them go and hope they find a great final resting place to be enjoyed by all.”