The Terminator….a rare opportunity taken to acquire stuff that everybody missed?

It is a constant struggle for me to understand why people enjoy paying out huge money to the dealers and then complain about it. There are so many great opportunities available to all its just sometimes one has to work hard to find them.

Ebay, IMDB list of actors and effects technicians and websites are just a few ways of finding an elusive prop. In this case a rare collection of items became available from one of the crew on the original “Terminator” film. Here is a news release from Heritage on the original owner of these pieces. These were sold at this Summers Heritage event….an auction that it seems few people even knew happened:

These pieces comes from the private collection of Shay Austin, an Assistant Art Director on the movie, who has maintained possession of the iconic prop for the last 25+ years.

This emblematic prop arm was part of one of two full-size Terminators made for the movie. The first robot was made to articulate and move for close up shots while the second, from which this piece comes, was made specifically to be blown up at the film’s climax.

“I was there and after the explosion I ran up with the special effects crew to see what was left,” said Austin. “We started picking up the pieces and I picked up the arm. I stayed on the film until the very end including doing pick up shots. After that we wrapped quickly, and I had another job to go to, so I tossed the arm into a box with some other leftover props, and then into my storage. Because I liked the film so much I kept some of the pieces as my souvenirs. Now Heritage is selling them all.”

That fateful decision, made at a time before Terminator became a genre classic, spawned three sequels and a television series spin-off and redefined the art of motion picture special effects and the telling of epic sci-fi, has now proved a prescient one for Austin. She now finds herself in possession of one of the greatest pieces of modern Hollywood memorabilia known.

Shay Austin had also kept other items from the production including the medical box used on Kyle Reese, various production items including scripts and an almost complete collection of screen used license plates from the various vehicles used on the production. Dan over at has kindly sent me pictures and screencaps on these items so I can give you an exclusive look at these rare items. First up the police cruiser plate

Here is the original auction posting:

The Terminator Prop License Plates. A set of nine faux license plates used to dress assorted vehicles during filming of James Cameron’s 1984 science fiction movie, including one from the jeep driven by Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in the final scene of the movie. In overall Very Fine to Excellent condition. From the collection of Shay Austin, assistant art director on The Terminator. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from Shay Austin.

Amongst these items were also the license plates for Sarah Connors jeep. Finally this particular plate caused a few problems until via process of elimination and communication through the auction house it was matched to a vehicle used in one of the most famous moments of the film.

This car can be also seen on the “making of Terminator” featurette on the DVD as seen below.In the film the cyborg enters the police station but is denied entrance. Upon leaving with the famous words “Ill be back” the following happens….

…and the police officer is crushed to death in his cubicle by the Terminator driving through the door of the police station.

Thanks very much to Dan for sharing this great find. They went relatively unnoticed in a busy summer of auctions. In fact the above arm sold for under $10,000 but wasn’t purchased by either the high-bidder or underbidder. A shame, since in my view this is a truly iconic piece worthy of proper display.

Dans great collection of Alien and Aliens material can be seen again at:

Thanks very much for the opportunity to see these awesome pieces.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s