Musings & Interests of David Stipes
RSS icon Home icon
  • “The Magic Treasure”

    Posted on July 3rd, 2009 dstipes No comments

    “The Magic Treasure” is one of those obscure little films that few have heard about and even less has seen. It was conceived in about 1969-70 by David Allen as a stop motion production of “The Selfish Giant” by Oscar Wilde. Through 1970 and 1971 dialog was recorded, sets and puppets were constructed and production began shooting in October, 1971. Part way through production a cartoon version of “the Selfish Giant” was released.


    David Allen with puppets of the Giant and the villagers.



    The Giant leaves his cottage with Hans, one of the children.

    David and the crew were disheartened by the unfortunate circumstances. So much good work had been completed. Rather than abandon the sets and puppets, David wrote his own story that was initially called “The Giant’s Magic Treasure” but was later released as “The Magic Treasure.”


    Castle from "The Magic Treasure."

    This story reflects a side of David Allen that not many knew about. Many knew David as a Richard Wagner aficionado, a weight lifter and a pretty strong, opinionated guy. Yet his story was sensitive and touched upon the nature of people, that essence or quality that made them special above all else.

    The Giant looks out his window.

    This production was a collaborative effort between David Allen and some of his friends, David Stipes (associate producer, sets, props and some puppet armatures), Margo Stipes (sets & props), Jim Duron (associate producer, sets and art design), Linda Duron (costuming), Tony Doublin (sets), George Archambeault (narration), John Morgan (music), Dennis Gordon (Titles) and others.


    (L-R) Linda Duron, David Stipes, David Allen and Jim Duron.

    Production was on-going for years but David completed the work in 1980s. The film was a labor of love and reflected a good message, but David could never find a market for its release.

    Fortunately, “The Magic treasure” was included as a special feature in the Criterion Collection 2006 release of “Equinox” one of David Allen’s early stop-motion feature film efforts.


    Cover art for Criterion Collection release of "Equinox" 2006

    For more information please look at:


    19 responses to ““The Magic Treasure””

    1. Always thought it was a shame that Primevals never seen the light of day, Allen seemed to be working on that film for so long, it would be great if they could even release on a disc what was shot with a documentary about the whole project, not sure if Charles Band still has the right’s but as far as I know he was producing one of the later versions that Allen was working on.
      Never seen Equinox but heard of it because of the Dennis Muren connection.

    2. Hello Andrew,

      “Primevals” is tied up with Charlie Band. Who knows if it will ever get released.

      The project began when David was still living at home with his parents. I remember it was originally called “The Raiders of the Stone Ring.” When “Raiders of the Lost Ark” came out, David changed the name.

      Check out “Equinox” but know it was an early effort done with almost no money but a lot of dedication from many (including me.)

    3. wow I had never heard of this story before and was hoping to find it on youtube but alas no… would be great to be able to see it at some point!

    4. Hey Wicket,

      Gotta get the Criterion release of “Equinox” to see it in CA.

      If you get back to Phoenix, the AIPX library is supposed to have a copy. (Or we will get together and see it!)


    5. I bought the Cinefantastique that covered the whole Raiders of the Stone Ring/Primevals story, or at least the early stages of it’s production.
      Been reading A Century of Model Animation by Ray Harryhausen & Tony Dalton, see you get a few mentions in there.
      Oh, you don’t have any behind the scenes pics of the miniatures from The Ice Pirates do you ?

    6. Hello Andrew,

      I was pleased to get mentioned in “A Centuy of Model Animation” but I wish they had spell my name correctly in each instance.

      In the near future I will be sending them some info on “The Magic Treasure.”

      What miniature shots are you looking for? I did some matte shots for “Ice Pirates.” I have a shot of the spaceship on the landing platform I could share … not much behind-the-scenes.

    7. Just any of the Spaceship miniatures used in the film really !! Never seen any good pics of them. Cheers for what ever you can dig up !!!

    8. AH, very cool, David. Always loved Dave’s work, eh. And I did not know you were on Equinox. Too cool, that’s one of my fav flicks, eh.


    9. David Allen definitely one of the best. My favorite work of his was his work on Robot Jox. Excellent work on that film. Been trying to build a CG version of Achilles robot from the film. It’s very slow going considering that there really isn’t much out there source material wise. Well except for the film which I don’t have and can’t find.

      Didn’t he also work on Empire Strikes Back too?


    10. Hello Jess,

      Yes, David Allen did do a lot of good work.

      I don’t believe he worked on “Empire Strikes Back.” He did work at ILM on “Willow” (1988), “*batteries not included” (1987) and “Young Sherlock Holmes” (1985)

    11. Yeah I believe he worked on the ” killer pastries ” in “Young Sherlock Holmes”. “batteries not included”, one of my favorites growing up.

      And if I’m not mistaken was there not a sequel of a sorts to “Robot Jox” called “Robot Wars” that he worked on.

      I tend to consider “Robot Jox” as one of his crowning achievements. It had a bit of everything. From large miniature robots to beautifully animated stop motion robots. That film had stop motion in it that rivaled some of the work in Empire and Jedi IMO. Didn’t Ron Cobb and Steve Burg do the design work on that film?

    12. Hello Jess,

      Steve Burg or Ron Cobb may have worked for David Allen’s studio uncredited. I can find no official mentioning anywhere that Steve Burg or Ron Cobb worked on “Robot Jox” or any sequel.

      Maybe Chris Endicott or others have more info than I.

    13. I did some digging and found one of my old issues of Starlog which had a interview with Ron Cobb where he discussed his work on Total Recall and Robot Jox. I got the impression that he did design some of the hero robots for the film. Achilles robot sure had that Ron Cobb look.

      Finally found me a copy of Robot Jox on DVD online. As soon as I get it, it’s back to work on my CG model of Achilles robot.

    14. Hello Jess,

      Cool! Thank you for the info. All I had immediate access to was Cobb’s official page and Robot Jox was not listed. Many people work for a short time on projects and never get official credit listings.
      (P.S. Show us your CGI robot when you are done.)

    15. Sure will : ) It’s basically legs and a torso right now. Got my DVD and boy do I have my work cut out for me.

      Got alot of work ahead of me with the robot and the Enterprise. So I’d better get cracking : )

    16. This wasn’t the first time Dave Allen worked on “puppet” stop motion animation like The Magic Treasure. Jim Danforth got Allen some of his first professional breaks as an animator on Art Clokey’s Gumby and Davey & Goliath shows back in the late sixties.

      I’m currently reading Jim Danforth’s recently released autobiography and it contains a lot of warm reminisces regarding his friendship with him. Danforth also talks about the embryonic stages of The Primevals.

    17. Welcome Matt,

      You are correct, David had been working professionally for a while before starting “Magic Treasure.”

    18. David,

      Have you read Danforth’s book yet? He has some amusing stories about Dave. When they both worked for Cascade back in the late sixties making Pillsbury Doughboy commericals Danforth describes how Dave was a fan of Ed Wood movies and would wear a Tor Johnson mask and pretend to vomit on people outside of their building. He really makes Allen out to be a fun guy, but they both also had egos and would occasionally clash on ideas too. I still wonder if he was still alive would he still be doing practical effects in an era of dreary CGI.

    19. Ron Cobb and Steve Burg did indeed work on ROBOT JOX. As did Ron Thornton who later bravely ventured into CG waters to do effects for BABYLON 5. I have the most BTS stills anyone shot on the film if Jess needs more reference for his CG model.

Better Tag Cloud