Whipping up the market….Indiana Jones whips under the spotlight

Indiana Jones….about as Iconic a character in movies over the last 100 years as any other in the top 20. Props and wardrobe from this series,  like “Star Wars” have been notoriously hard to find, however, research has proven that many items have been thru auction houses, particularily in the UK where one particular dealer in the early 1990’s uncovered a treasure trove of items from the trilogy. We hope to have an interview with him in the near future as its a fascinating story…in the meantime I wanted to delve into those pieces sold at auction and displayed in various parts of the world…and for the purposes of this article…the Bullwhip.

“This whip, as the No. 453 8 ft. length or the No. 455 10 ft. length, became an icon when it was so skillfully woven into the story by Glenn Randall, the stunt director for the first movie…Equally as important the association of this whip with these outstanding movies led to a resurgence in interest in whips in movies, stage performances, and in sport whip cracking. There are now large numbers of Indiana Jones fans, many cracking whips.” —David Morgan (from http://www.indygear.com)

It is generally known that David Morgan supplied more than 30 bullwhips of the 450 series for the Indiana Jones films and ranged from six feet to 16 feet long. The standard length seen in the movies was the No. 455 10-foot whip. The other lengths were used in special stunts and as recently seen at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con, The Propstore is now the proud owner of one of these special pieces, a metal cable whip that was used for special stunts. These were made by platting the leather over an existing cable and used for specific scenes.

cable whip Courtesy of "The Propstore"

Here is a picture of one of the whips in “Planet Hollywood” in the UK.

This whip is believed to have been bought in one of the auctions in the 1990’s in London. Next we have two awesome pictures from the Lucasfilm archives iteself. The second whip is the Young Indy weapon used in “Last Crusade” by River Phoenix.

Next…well how about Chicago. These pictures are from the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. This display was from around 2005 and supplied directly from Lucasfilm.

Many prop whips have come to auction over the years. It is of course unknown in somecases the provenance. Whilst it is unknown is who purchased a majority of these pieces, in most cases they have disappeared into private collections never to be seen again. We can however, and will for the first time in my knowledge present you with those auctions culled from a variety of sources.

First is the Pugilese whip that was entered into auction in March 2008 through the Guernsey’s auction house.  It was described in the following fashion:

Harrison Ford’s bullwhip from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (Paramount, 1981), “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984), and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989). A hand-made sixteen-plait bull-whip of kangaroo hide with 106 in. (2.69m) long lash. Used by Ford, who played Indiana Jones, in all three Steven Spielberg/George Lucas adventure films. Accompanied by a typescript note on Harrison Ford personal writing paper: “This bullwhip was used by me during the making of the “Indiana Jones” films;” signed in black ink Harrison Ford. Sale History: Christie’s South Kensington, September 1999

This piece came with this short and sweet letter. It is one of the few pieces shown here that has a hand signed letter from the actor who used it on screen.

It sold for $70,437

The next whip is from Sothebys June 1993.

This whip sold for five thousand one hundred and seventy five english pounds. The equivilent at the time of $10,000. This auction was home to many incredible props from the trilogy including the beating heart pulled from a victim of Mola Ram in the second movie.

Next up, Profiles in history…auction 37 from October 2009. Sadly both these items were pulled from the auction. It is unknown if they were returned to the owner…or as rumoured, returned to Lucasfilm.

The next whip is a beauty. Dickey Beer has an amazing array of production credits to his name.

Dickey Beer and Vic Armstong along with members of the INDY 3 crew

Go here to check this out: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0066482/ including “The temple of doom”. This whip comes with a COA from him. Here is the description:

Harrison Ford signature hero “Indiana Jones” bullwhip from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. (Paramount, 1989) This bullwhip, along with the fedora and distressed leather jacket, personify the Indiana Jones character. Indy’s use of the whip enabled him to fend off bad guys as well as get him out of tight spots by using it as an acrobatic tether. It is one of the most highly recognized pieces in modern film history. This kangaroo hide bullwhip measures 10 ft. long (measuring from the butt of the handle to the end of the braid) and was used by Harrison Ford in the Castle Brunwald sequences shot at Elstree Studios. From the collection of Dickey Beer, who was a stuntman in the film, and with an LOA from him.

Sold October 9th 2009 this whip went for $47,500 plus $8550 buyers premium and taxes.

Screenused, a popular and recommended site for movie props and wardrobe is the proud owners of several screen featured pieces. I strongly urge you to seek out their website at http://www.screenused.com and look in their archive section for this magnificent display piece. Its just a fantastic set.

This below whip is in a private collection and obtained from the third movie in the early 1990’s from one of the crew in Spain.  The “Last Crusade” filmed from Monday May 9th 1988 in Almeria Spain on the south coast until Friday June 3rd according to documents and crew items sold with the items. Shooting included the tank scenes, the sultans palace, the seagull beach and some train shots. A beautiful example.

Finally we come full circle. The very first whip sold above in the Pugilese event was originally sold in the following auction, Christies, December 1999. According to the IMDB this whip sold originally for $43,000, but this is unconfirmed.

…and to end another iconic photo….of Harrison Ford. We remember you fondly sir….despite “Nuking the fridge”….. oh….and that color whip in Indy 4…..ugly!


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