The Time Machine chair
by Chris Perrotta  


A few years back, Frank Thetonia and I had the opportunity to purchase the very original TM chair - we tried, but it was too pricey. Even if we did, Bob Burns wasn't interested in putting it back on the machine! It must be remembered that Bob's beloved friend, and TM chair replicator, Tom Sherman, passed away with cancer. I don't think Bob wishes to tamper with Tom's wonderful work - even though it's inaccurate. Like John Martin, we would have like for Bob to have restored the machine back to its very original condition - but even Bob will admit it was hastily done in order to use it in one of his Halloween parties.

You know, for the longest time, the chair was a mystery. It was missing from the machine when Bob rescued it. Bob didn't even know what it was - he thought it was a prop made by MGM especially for the machine (hear his comment on the Journey Back). No one knew until my friend John Rosa came along, surmised it was indeed a barber's chair and bought one to prove it. He paid nearly $7,000 for it! John's discovery is documented on Don Coleman's website. No one knew what the chair was until then - I know, because I asked everyone in Hollywood at the time. No one had a clue - not Don, not Harvey Mayo, none of the gang... until the cat was let out of the bag to me by John. Here's an example:

Here is the underside of the original TM chair as seen today. This must have been how it looked when the prop guys from MGM removed it's pedestal stand prior to installing it on the machine. Notice how there is an impression in all four corners where the new legs attached. This is because, once the chair was removed from its pedestal, the only thing that could have held up this very heavy chair was its finials, which they DID NOT use. Instead, new legs were in order. These can be seen in this shot:

There are also two holes drilled thru that can be seen toward the front and back of the bottom that accommodated metal hold-down posts that firmly connected the chair to the machine's base (see posts in rear shot of chair from auction):

The original Berninghaus barber chair also has a pedestal and a lever which makes it go up and down, but they were not used in the movie:

On the middle and the right image there is the barber chair foot-rest which was used as a neck-rest for the TM chair. Note that the foot-rest is slightly curved, compare it with the image above of the neck-rest which is rectangular.

Even though the chair was put back to be a barber's chair all the old MGM work still shows through from the time of the movie. Here to the left is the back of the barber chair, seen from above, and here was two holes drilled to make place for the two brass bars holding the neck-rest. Note also the original flower-shaped rivets.


In the end, Sandra, you'll have the best documentation on the entire net revealing the Time Machine's original chair - which was a mystery in itself.





This means a lot of more information and pictures about the Time Machine chair is upcoming soon! Wait and see...




Sandra Petojevic, Master of Arts, August 2, 2009 (Updated August 9, 2009)

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