Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I.J. Van Perre Jr. and Mini-Crab # 35

Dear Sarkell Members,

Please read I.J.'s message below regarding his fascinating career as a professional filmmaker. He is also owner of one of William Sargent's creations...Mini-Crab Dolly #35. I also have a nice image of I.J. which I will be posting soon!

Hello GREG, 

I'm the owner of Mini-Crab #35. 

It's physically in pretty good shape.  It does have some issues though. The front break is there but is missing the lever to activate it. It's missing the Dolly Grips up and down control rod. And there is a hydraulic fluid leak somewhere. It still goes up and down, but leaving a puddle.

Other than this everything seems to work fine. However I intend to completely tare it down and recondition, repair, and replace everything. 

After talking to it's last owner, I'm told it came from the University of Iowa who was probably the original owners. That's who they purchased it from.

About me, I'm a member of IATSE local 16 San Francisco since 1978 and a member of IATSE local 488 Studio Mech. of the Pacific Northwest since 1995. Local 16 is a stage and motion picture local and covers most all departments in film making. We also have Industrial Light and Magic in our jurisdiction. However they have become strictly CGI these days. 

I was fortunately lucky enough to work for them from 1985 to 1994. Before that I worked for Lucasfilm on Return of the Jedi in the U.S. back in 1982.

    Not including TV, MOW's, Video's and Commercials, at last count I've worked on 70+ Motion Pictures. Mostly as a Construction Coordinator, Special Effects Foreman or Tech. and a one time Effects Coordinator. I do have credits for Bestboy Rigging Grip, Bestboy Rigging Electrician, as well as Grip and Lamp Operator. At ILM I was primarily an Effects Foreman doing fabrication, rigging, and flying people. A couple of times I was a Dolly Grip. ILM owned a Movieola and McCallester dollies. Oldies for sure.

    Back in high school I would follow The Streets of San Francisco around and watch them shoot. I noticed their camera dolly was one of these Colortran Dollies. That was the first time I saw one and thought how lightweight, compact, and portable it was. They shot with a Panaflex Camera. I was surprised to find out it could handle a full dressed Mitchell BNC Camera. Amazing.

    So #35 came up for sale. I had some money in the bank and bought it. Beside restoring it, I'm not sure what I'll do with it. Maybe offer it up to one of my Dolly Grip buddies. Maybe keep it as a coffee table!


    I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area my entire life except for living in the Portland Oregon Area from 1995 til 1997. I'm currently back in the Bay Area.

    Thanks for the info on the Mini-Crab Dolly,

I.J. Van Perre Jr.