Five fascinating film and TV facts #80

From Doctor Who as a punk star to Outlander influencing the government


Orson’s Oscar

Orson Welles was a genius, but he won only a single non-honorary Oscar during his career: ‘Best Original Screenplay’ for Citizen Kane in 1941. In 1976 he reportedly gave the statue to cinematographer Gary Graver after production finished on The Other Side of the Wind, in which it was used as a prop. Graver claimed Welles handed him the award with the words “here, keep this.”


Graver went on to attempt to auction the statue in 1994, leading to a legal battle with Beatrice Welles, the director’s daughter. Welles won, and tried to auction the statue herself in 2003, only for the Academy to block the sale, claiming a right to buy back the statue for $1. Welles eventually sold it to a non-profit organisation, which in turn successfully sold it to an anonymous bidder for $861,542 in 2011.

Surely a story worth its own Oscar-winning movie?


Walt’s winnings

At the other end of the scale from Orson Welles, Walt Disney still holds the record for Academy Awards won with 32; most are for his short cartoons, but he also has several honorary awards. Among them are a 1932 statuette for the creation of Mickey Mouse, and a 1939 award for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ “significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon.”

This was no ordinary statuette, instead taking the form of one large statue lording it over seven smaller statues.


The Real Life Batcave

Films have always required huge amounts of building work, with elaborate, extensive and expensive sets constructed only to be torn down at the end of shooting. Rather than let it all go to waste, many blockbusters now disassemble, donate and reuse their sets for worthy causes. The Lord of the Rings donated many of its sets to a housing charity, while sets from the upcoming Batman v Superman now form enclosures in a local Detroit bat sanctuary.

That’s right: the Bat Cave is now a bat cave.


From the Highlands to Number 10

In the face of the Scottish Independence referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron met with Sony executives about Outlander – the time travelling sci-fi set in Jacobean Scotland. According to leaked internal Sony emails, the meeting would “likely focus on our overall investment in the U.K.” with “special emphasis” on “the importance of Outlander (i.e. particularly vis-à-vis the political issues in the U.K. as Scotland contemplates detachment this Fall).”


Doctor Punk

Peter Capaldi wails on a guitar in the series nine premiere The Magician’s Apprentice – a new trick for the Doctor, but an old trick for Capaldi. In his younger days, the actor appeared in the punk band ‘The Dreamboys’ with comedian and pal Craig Ferguson. They didn’t exactly top the charts.