Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Moviola Crab Dolly

Hitch and his crew using the Moviola at Universal Studios. No, the guy in the background isn't texting! I believe that's camera operator, Irving Rosenberg. The guy leaning in talking with Hitch, is Hitch's favorite cinematographer, Robert Burks. Click on any image to enlarge.
Moviola's dimensions are 34" x 64" which is considerably larger than the Mini-Crab. The Moviola weighs in at 530 lbs. It has a maximum reach of 60" and a minimum of 22". Sargent's Mini-Crab tips the scales at 293 lbs., and measures in at 26 3/4" x 39", with a maximum height of 56" and a minimum of 28".  In comparison, one of the best features of the Mini-Crab is that it can be completely transported by two people and in it's own carrying case!
Another shot of the Moviola on set laden down with a BNC and Mary Tyler Moore spinning the Worral Gear Head. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sarkell welcomes Nicky Milo and Mini-Crab #114

Recently, we received the message below from Nicky Milo, a new member of our society. Nicky is pictured behind the camera in the above images. Welcome Nicky! The updated Sarkell Society list will be posted soon. If anyone can help Nicky in getting his Mini-Crab refurbished on the west-coast, that would be much appreciated! Nicky's email address is furnished below.

Hello SarKell Society!!

I am the proud owner of a Colortran dolly, serial number 114.  
(Nicky Milo, San Diego CA, SN: 114,

This dolly was my first major cinema equipment purchase, I bought it when I was 16 years old and was filming with my trusty DVX 100A.  

Flash forward 14 years later, I'm now a 30 year old filmmaker, and I still have this dolly and regularly use it alongside my RED Dragon, Steadicam, and Ronin.

I look forward to being apart of the Sarkell Society, thank you for maintaining and updating the site and adding all the resources-- every subsequent post brings me closer to 'Ole Boy, my dolly's nickname.

In addition to the registration, I was also hoping to further inquire upon the group's expertise with this dolly and was hoping you might know of a resource in the California (LA/OC/SD) area that may be able to service this amazing filmmaking accessory.  
In the above two images, I was doing a music video for a band that broke up mid-shoot! We had about a month of preproduction, and all the locations were locked and ready to go... this was the first day of filming, we also filmed the next day.  Took a couple days off to prepare for the next block of shooting, and that's when they broke up.
The guy pushing me was in the band, and I think you can make that he's not a dolly grip by trade, judging by the sandals! 

The dolly currently has a leak, and the boom hasn't been able move too much.

I have really been meaning to give it a fresh overhaul... any advice or references are greatly appreciated!!

Much Thanks!
Nicky Milo

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Rare image of the Mini-Crab Prototype and its Inventor

An extremely rare and a never before seen Polaroid image of William Sargent sitting on board his Mini-Crab prototype during the time he was doing a daily live show in L.A. This show had just turned into continuous week-to-week run named ‘Day in Court’. William was one of the running characters.  

This was at ABC’s Selmour Productions. William decided to take the prototype down one day to the set to show it off to the crew for an opinion.  It must have been during the time the Mini-Crab was in production at Colortran (note the prototype still displays the interim Hydraulic ram). 

This image enlarges quite nicely. Just click on it with your mouse!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

William Sargent and his love of the Theater

As mentioned before, we wanted to highlight William Sargent's career as a performer. Soon, you will see some photographs from his TV, movie and stage performances. Here below (click on image to enlarge) is an article written about the Mini-Crab inventor in 1990 talking about one of his greatest passions...Live Theater!

Calling All Mini-Crab Owners!

Dear Mini-Crab owners, if you haven't done so already, please send us your dolly's serial number, a picture of you and your dolly along with your name and location. We're preparing to update the Sarkell Society list (posted below). Thank you!

If you're the owner of a Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly...register your dolly today by e-mailing your name, city/state, the dolly's serial number and your e-mail address to:

Saturday, August 1, 2015

William Sargent on Netflix

We'll be posting more on the acting side of William Sargent. We all know he invented the Mini-Crab Dolly, but most people aren't aware the father of the Mini-Crab Dolly was also an accomplished actor. 

For those who have Netflix, you can watch one of the many TV shows Mr. Sargent contributed to as an actor. The next time you're on Netflix, look for the Twilight Zone series. Netflix is currently streaming 100 of the original episodes. Once you open the series, go to episode #114, The episode is called 'Ninety Years without Slumber'. This was from Season 5, episode 12. William Sargent plays a psychiatrist by the name of Mel Avery. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

William Sargent and the Mini-Crab Dolly

In a future post, we will be taking a closer look at the acting career of William Sargent. Not only was William Sargent the genius designer and inventor of the Mini-Crab Dolly, he was also an accomplished actor, leaving his mark on both stage and screen. Soon, we will be posting awesome photos of Mr. Sargent in some of his memorable acting roles.

But first, here are two very rare business cards. Click on the above image to enlarge. The card on the left was printed as Mr. Sargent and Mr. Kelljchian (better known as SarKell or Sarkel as noted on the card) were preparing for the SMPTE show in Los Angeles (as seen in the photos below). This was when SarKell first unveiled the Mini-Crab to the Hollywood film community.

The card to the right was used by Mr. Sargent after a deal was struck with Berkey-Colortran. Mr. Sargent was retained as the Project Manager during the initial manufacturing and marketing of the new Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly.

Here are a few pictures of the Mini-Crab prototype before being discovered by former Berkey-Colortran's President, Milt Forman.
A live shot of 'Sarkell", William Sargent on the left and his partner Robert Kelljchian on the right during a demonstration of the Mini-Crab Dolly in LA.
William Sargent, the designer/inventor of our favorite crab dolly with the actual 'Mini-Crab' prototype he built by hand in his Los Angeles apartment. It doesn't get any cooler than this, ladies and gentlemen.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Patent Number 3,297,337 - Camera Crab Dolly

The inception of our favorite crab dolly began right here with the following Patent Number 3,297,337.

Mr. Sargent's Patent Attorney's filed for the Mini-Crab's patent on May 3, 1965. The patent was granted on January 10, 1967. Click on any image to enlarge.

These are actual patent diagrams that William Sargent's Patent Attorney's drew for obtaining the patent. You can download and study the entire patent PDF (all 11 pages!) for the Mini-Crab Dolly at this link:

The complexity of these drawings show just how brilliant William Sargent and his design truly is! The Mini-Crab is the Patek Philippe of dollies!

This diagram in particular shows the crabbing modes and how they are achieved by using the control that's located above the Mini-Crab's push bar.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

For Sale! Camera Jib for the Colortran Mini-Crab

We have the perfect accessory for your Mini-Crab! It's the Camera Turret CT-300 Jib that's pictured above and throughout this blog. We used it extensively with Mini-Crab #157. It has the proper mounting adapter that would enable it to fit easily onto the Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly.

The CT-300 is made out of aircraft aluminum and still being made today.The Jib head automatically articulates with the vertical movement of the Jib.

For specs, go to:

This professional Jib package includes the following; 5' 3" center Jib Arm, 3' extension Jib Arm, Monitor Bracket, cables for standard Jib length, cables for extension Jib length, counterweights bar, a tool kit, the adapter to mount Jib onto your Mini-Crab Dolly or use with your own tripod.

If interested or for more info, e-mail me at: