“He Went For A Little Walk”
This dream project took me a few years on and off to complete and should prove how fascinated I am with ancient Egyptian culture and mummy movies in particular. This diorama is strictly limited to 1/12th scale and the overall size is 16” high, 15” wide, and 25” long. I was enthralled by the photos of the various mummy films shown in the pages of the monster magazines during the 1950s and 1960s and none more so than the photo of Bramwell Fletcher sitting at his work desk looking agast at the Karloff mummy reaching for the scroll of life (this same photo is also on a lobby card). Later, while maniacally laughing, he exclaimed, “He went for a little walk”. The structure of the tomb is wood that is covered with resin. To add a little artistic license I added an anteroom where are stored many items typically found in an Egyptian tomb. After all, both the Edward Van Sloan and Arthur Hill characters exit the chamber to go outside to talk and though we do not see it (no doubt to keep production costs down) they could have walked through such a magazine antechamber.
For the main chamber room itself I used the famous still to establish all the set pieces. Resting on the back wall is the sarcophagus with the old-fashioned camera aimed and ready to snap the photo. The other wall has shelves with various artifacts of ancient Egypt. On the main table are the scratch built chest containing the scroll of Toth, a typewriter, lamp, magnifying glass, and a few other items of interest. As an extra bit of verisimilitude I miniaturized one of the key pages from the Papyrus of Ani (the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead) to serve as the scroll of Toth that Mr. Fletcher’s character has been reading. Scattered around, mostly serving as eye candy and diorama detail and not necessarily depicting the scene itself, are various items that one would find while excavating an ancient Egyptian tomb. Both the Fletcher character and the Karloff mummy were scratch built. On the right entrance wall is a cartouche made out of solid gold. In ancient Egypt cartouches were used exclusively to designate Pharaoh’s names and I had this one custom made in Cairo (why not?) with my last name translated into hieroglyphics. Think of this as the builder’s signature.
Lastly, I must comment on one particular artifact on the front left side of the main desk. The small white object with the hole in it is an actual ancient Egyptian scarab with sedge and bee. This scarab is 15x11mm and dates to the Second Intermediate Period (1750-1570 BC) and is made out of steatite with a glaze gone white. I added this simple artifact to add a further sense of verisimilitude to the diorama. Something from ancient Egypt only seemed appropriate to add.