Bob Burns is a legend. He's not just the ultimate fan, collecting and protecting horror and scifi movie props back when nobody though they were valuable, he's been a big part of movie history. He has worked in special effects and he's one of the greatest ape suit performers of all time. His collection and his ape suit work inspired a young man named Rick Baker, who went on to be such an influential special effects make-up artist that the Academy created a new Oscar category because of his work.
I've been to Bob's basement (it's not really a basement, it's more like a back room) a couple of times, and each visit is amazing. The first time I was there Bob handed me the original King Kong armature and insistied I hold it - I almost cried. Seriously! To hold in my hands something so important to not just the history of film but to my personal development was overpowering. I was shaking with fear that I might drop it.
That's probably the crown jewel of Bob's collection, but there are a lot of contenders. You could spend a day just going through the collection... and many days more listening to Bob talk. He has stories you wouldn't believe, connecting everyone from the classic Universal monsters (Bob grew up friends with Glenn Strange) to the most current crop of creators (James Cameron gave Bob all the Aliens stuff in his collection).
There's a documentary about Bob and his beautiful wife Kathy, Beast Wishes, which is doing the rounds at some film fests. I hope everybody has a chance to see it, and I hope that everybody has a chance to recognize the way that Bob Burns, alongside folks like Forrest J Ackerman and Bjo Trimble, created fandom as we know it today.
I hope you enjoy the episode. It's the first one we shot, originally intended to premier at Halloween.
Have you watched the other episodes? This is our ninth! Catch up!