The winning bid for John Lennon's "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" lyrics was sky-high, but the star of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" failed to soar as high as expected at last weekend's auction of film, TV and music memorabilia.
The Calabasas, Calif.-based Profiles in History announced it had grossed in excess of $5.8 million from the two-day sale of costumes and costume sketches, props, special effects and makeup elements, animation artwork, posters, photographs, film reels, scripts and other cinematic artifacts. An additional $98,000 was raised for the benefit of Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims.
Among the more notable winning bids:
The crystal ball used by the Wicked Witch of the West in "The Wizard of Oz," preserved for decades at a prop house by a special effects technician and expected to sell for $40,000-$60,000, saw a winning bid of $126,500.
Lennon's original handwritten lyrics for the "Sgt. Pepper" classic "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" sold for $230,000.
An even higher price went to a letter from Walt Disney to Mickey Mouse creator Ub Iwerks to form Disney Studios; it went for $241,500.
Among vehicles, the only road-operational version of the star-car of the 1968 film "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" sold for $805,000 - less than the $1,000,000 advertised low price.
Pound for pound, a better deal may have been the original tricycle ridden by Harvey Stephens as Damien when he knocked his mother (Lee Remick) over a balcony in the horror classic "The Omen" ($18,400).
Of the costumes on the block: A tweed jacket worn by James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause" went for $63,250. Richard Burton's Marc Antony costume from "Cleopatra" heralded a $37,375 sale price. And a bid of $18,400 walked way with a pair of pink satin Ferragamo high heels worn by Marilyn Monroe in "Let's Make Love."
A small prop "Everlasting Gobstopper" from "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" - one of only two known to still exist - went for a lip-smacking $48,875. (Bidders were alerted that "The prop gobstopper still retains minor glue residue on the bottom.")
A mere piece of plastic with words on it? Hardly just that, when it's the original acetate "crawl" used in the opening of "The Empire Strikes Back." Estimated to go for $15,000-$20,000, it pulled in $46,000.
The auction included much original artwork for film and animation, including Howard Terpning's final poster artwork of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (and a lawsuit-wielding Rex Harrison added in later) for the 1963 "Cleopatra" ($126,500); an original Gustaf Tenggren concept painting for "Pinocchio" ($69,000); and RKO Pictures' opening camera logo art ($195,500).
In what was a disappointment, The Dude's sweater failed to abide. The cardigan worn by Jeff Bridges in "The Big Lebowski" was expected to fetch $4,000-$6,000. But questions arose prior to the sale that the sweater - one of several prepared for use during shooting of the Coen Brothers classic - may not have seen screen time, and so it was pulled.