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What a way to commemorate the 70th anniversary of what many consider the greatest motion picture of all time. The best screenplay Oscar awarded Orson Welles for Citizen Kane is once again up for sale.

Welles misplaced the Oscar after it was given to him in 1942, and the statue wasn't unearthed until the time of his death in 1985. It came up for auction in 1994 when Welles's late-period cinematographer Gary Graver claimed it as a form of payment from the director.


The Academy, known to get its panties in a bunch at the thought of one of its golden doorstops falling into the hands of a commoner, was outraged when Welles's daughter, Beatrice, sued for custody and eventually auctioned it off in 2003. According to CNN, "A judge cleared the way for auction with a ruling in 2004 that Welles never signed the academy's agreement not to sell the trophy, according to Nate D. Sanders Auctions spokesman Sam Heller."


Photo courtesy of the David Parks Elliott Library.

When the gavel fell, the not-for-profit Dax Foundation (its current owner) took home the gold, only to auction it again in 2007. The Oscar was withdrawn after bidding failed to rise above the seller's minimum price of $800,000 to $1.2 million.

Having readjusted their sights, the tarnished Oscar is expected to take home somewhere between between $60,000 and $1 million. The online auction will take place later this month. I considered putting in a bid, but I need to buy toothpaste.

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Jay Allen Sanford Dec. 12, 2011 @ 7:54 p.m.

Graver wuz robbed of that Oscar. Welles never paid Graver, instead giving him the Oscar on the set of The Other Side of the Wind, where the trophy was used as a movie prop. Since Welles never signed the Academy agreement about Oscar's custody, it rightfully belonged to Graver, and Welles' daughter should never have been allowed to steal it.

Graver's autobiography (released two years after his 2006 death) talks a bit about this. A very colorful character, Graver also directed over a hundred x-rated films, as well as working for B-movie kings like Roger Corman and Fred Olen Ray. I met him briefly when he was inducted into the Adult Video News Hall of Fame, at a ceremony for which I provided a series of cartoon portrait posters - as far as I know, that's the only other "award" Graver ever got for all his years in Hollywood. He died broke - thanks a lot, Beatrice Welles --


dwbat Dec. 12, 2011 @ 9:26 p.m.

So is that what you'd call a Graver robber? [Sorry, couldn't resist.] ;-)


Scott Marks Dec. 13, 2011 @ 12:07 p.m.

Yes, but with all due respect, the guy was a rather desperate character not to mention a hack DP. I always equate him with Henry Jaglom, a stooge Welles kept in his pocket as a source of amusement. Welles' never signed the Academy agreement, and from what I gather there is no documented evidence that Graver was due the statuette in exchange for services rendered. Graver impressed me as a questionable type, eager to glom onto Orson's fame. I don't know how much faith I'd put into Graver's claims.

But I'd still trust him more than Oja!


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 12, 2011 @ 11:55 p.m.

I'd buy it for $60K.....In fact I would pay $500K for it. Citizen Kane is ranked as the #1 film of all-time by the AFI.


dwbat Dec. 13, 2011 @ 1:15 p.m.

I'd rather have the original finished screenplay. Steven Spielberg bought one of the three "Rosebud" sleds made for the film. The other two were burned up during production.


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 13, 2011 @ 5:44 p.m.

Well, if money were no object I would buy the ultimate movie prop of all time-the ruby red slippers used in "The Wizard of Oz".

There were 7 pairs made for the movie, three of which were worn during the filming, and one of the three movie worn pairs is going up for auction off this Friday in an LA movie memorbilia auction;


Alas, $3 million is about 2,999,900 out of my price range


Scott Marks Dec. 13, 2011 @ 4:55 p.m.

My prop of choice would be the oil portrait of a great man, a giant of a man -- Robert Keith in "Written on the Wind."


Ghost_of_dolores_hope Dec. 13, 2011 @ 9:17 p.m.

How about that red get-up Bob was wearing in the opening minutes of 'The Seven Little Foys'? Put that in your closet!


Scott Marks Dec. 13, 2011 @ 9:49 p.m.

Dolores! I'm shocked. This is Bob's most treasured costume.



Colonna Dec. 14, 2011 @ 3:02 a.m.

And we all just missed out on the Elizabeth Taylor auction - a bonafide Cleopatra wig sold for $11,500:


If I had the wherewithal to purchase one movie item, it would either be one of the nightshirts the Marx Brothers wore from the "Duck Soup" mirror scene...

Or the mock steering wheel / car interior Dana Andrews and family used in "Hot Rods To Hell". San Diego Reader Big Screen readers would take turns doing their best Dana impersonations while a rear projection would show the movie.


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