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Eureka, Movies and Artifacts vs. Props

July 23, 2004 10:31PM
Eureka has indeed appeared in a number of movies. It was owned by Warner Bros. Studios from 1940 to about 1977 when it was sold to the Old Vegas (Old Tucson) folks and returned to the Las Vegas valley.
Among the films I recall it being in are the following:
Cheyenne Autumn, The Shootist, Finians's Rainbow, The Great Bank Robbery, The Torrid Zone and a bunch of others. After all, it sat on the Warner back lot for quite a while and was often pulled out for just background scenery. Every so often I will see it pop up in some film that is not listed in Larry Jensen's "The Movie Railroads".
There were a number of television shows in which it was used for the same reason. A couple that come to mind are the "Maverick" series with James Garner and the "Kung Fu" program.
Sometimes Eureka is not readily recognizable because it was used in close in shots as a backdrop.
Since I have owned Eureka, there have been a number of inquiries from motion picture companies to use it in various films. Among the latest are "Cold Mountain" and a proposed films that Disney was to make called "Men of Destiny" directed by John Woo. In fact, I spent two days with John Woo in Durango discussing the film. Unfortunately, it got shelved because as I understand it the budget went over $100,000,000.00. It was replace by "Pirates of the Carribean".
Working with motion picture studios has proved to be a very educational experience. Unfortunately what I have found is that the first thing they want to do, especially with smaller equipment like Eureka, is modify the engine in some way to make it something it isn't, or drag it off wherever they want to...like Canada.
I have told the studios that if they cannot take it the way it is, then go find something else. I am willing to cover the name on the tender or the cab, or some minor changes, but that is about it. In fact I got into a very large discussion about that with the set director that was with Mr. Woo. This gentleman was very qualified in his field as he was the set director of "Dances with Wolves." It was his position (not Mr. Woo's )that the locomotive had to be substantially changed, but I flat refused to agree to it. I have heard to many horror stories about what the movie folks can sometimes do to equipment, be it a locomotive, a car , or a ship...ie HMS Rose, aka HMS Surpirse in "Master and Commander, the Far Side of the World." Interestingly, I later found out that the Disney folks went to the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City, Nevada, and tried to talk them into repainting and screwing around with the INYO. The NSRM flatly refused to do so for the same reason. Believe me, they worked both of us over for weeks!
I think the reason for this reluctance to let them do whatever they want stems from the fact that the directors really do not view a 19th century locomotive as an rare artifact, but rather as simply a prop. It has led to some very interesting conversations with them....all of which have been friendly, professional, but lively.
I think there will come a time when Eureka will once again be used in some film. I was hoping we could have done the "Men of Destiny" picture, as I read the script and it is WONDERFUL!!!!! It is an epic story on the scale of "Lawrence of Arabia" about the building of the railroads in the American West. I hope that someday it is made. The stars were to have been Nicholas Cage and Chow Young Fat. It is a very good story of friendship between two men from very different backgrounds thrown into the turmoil of railroad construction. It spans a period of about 40 years in the late 19th century.
I also had several calls from the studio that made "Cold Mountain" before it was made. I could see early on that we were going to get nowhere with what they had in mind, especially considering the movie was filmed in, I think it was Romania, or some other God forsaken place overseas.
As many of you know, Eureka has appeared in a number of documentaries in recent years on PBS, The History Channel, The Learning Channel and such. I even had a friend of mine who is a Captain for American Airlines who just returned from Japan. He said when he got to his room, he flipped on the TV and there I was with Eureka, talking perfect Japanese, with English subtitles. (Somehow I don't remember speaking Japenese at all.) Anyway, all of those organizations have been interested in showing Eureka exactly as it is. The latest program we filmed was for the History Channel series called "Wild West Tech" with Keith Carradine. Also, PBS has recently visited us for a program that is to be broadcast in 2005.
So there you have it....the latest in Eureka's varied film history, why you have seen it on the little screen and not on the big screen as of late. But, as they say.....watch for coming attractions!
Dan Markoff
Subject Author Posted

Eureka and Movies

Douglas vV July 23, 2004 02:36PM

Re: Eureka and Movies

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Re: Eureka and Movies

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Eureka, Movies and Artifacts vs. Props

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Re: Eureka, Movies and Artifacts vs. Props

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Re: Eureka, Movies and Artifacts vs. Props *LINK*

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Re: Eureka, Movies and Artifacts vs. Props

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Eureka saved....in the nick of time......

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Re: Eureka saved....in the nick of time......

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Re: Eureka saved....in the nick of time......

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Re: Eureka saved....in the nick of time......

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Re: Eureka, Movies and Artifacts vs. Props

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Re: Eureka, Movies and Artifacts vs. Props

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Making a Combine

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Re: Making a Combine

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Re: Making a Combine

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Photographing the combine

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Re: Making a Combine

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Re: Making a Combine

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A Combine by Sinatra

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Billmeyer & Smalls trucks

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Re: A Combine by Sinatra

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Re: A Combine by Sinatra

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