Where is…The Time Machine from the 1960 movie?

Where is the Time Machine from the Time Machine? I’ve always loved the Time Machine released in 1960. This movie is probably my favorite time travel movie. The prop was perfect that they created for this great movie. The movie was based on the novel by H.G. Wells, it was directed by George Pal, starred Rod Taylor, Alan Young, and Yvette Mimieux, and featured Oscar-winning special effects.

Time Machine prop itself was co-designed by George Pal and MGM art director William Ferrari. Pal incorporated the look of a horse-drawn sleigh, inspired from the winter sleigh rides of his youth.

After the film was completed the Time Machine prop was placed into storage by MGM. In the early 70s MGM held an auction that included the famous Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz and the Time Machine. The Time Machine sold for between eight and ten thousand dollars to the owner of a traveling show.

Film historian Bob Burns tried to buy it at the auction but came up short. Around 5 years later a friend of a friend of Bob’s thought he saw the Time Machine Prop at a thrift shop in Orange California. Bob hurried over and with great excitement checked out the prop. There is was…The Time Machine in a thrift shop. It was not in good shape though. The chair was gone, the pods were broken, but the huge gold disc was in great shape.

When he got home Bob called George Pal (the director) when he got home and told him he had the Time Machine. George had given Bob the blueprints to the machine and Bob used these to restore the machine.

Time Machine Restoration

It only took Bob Burns and a crew 4 weeks to restore the machine and it was used in Bob’s annual Halloween show for 1976.

The original Time Machine has made appearances in other productions, including Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos”, “Gremlins, Mike Jittlov’s short “Time Tripper” (1978, and used within his feature film “The Wizard of Speed and Time” in 1989) and the documentary on the making of “The Time Machine” called “The Journey Back” (1993).

Bob Burns owns a ton of movie props. I would LOVE to tour his basement. He also owns the original King Kong.


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

13 thoughts on “Where is…The Time Machine from the 1960 movie?”

  1. Do you remember the episode of “The Big Bang Theory” where the professors bought it, thinking it was a scale model? They finally get it into their apartment, blocking the stairs on Penny, who had to get to work and was already running late. When she gets home, early because she lost her station at The Cheesecake Factory and furious at the guys, she tells them it “looked like something Elton John would drive through the Everglades.” That might have been the best line in the 12 seasons the show was on.


  2. I don’t know that Bob Burns would have lent out the machine for Big Bang Theory, considering how it was manhandled. I suspect this was the duplicate Time Machine made about 25 years ago for a short lived sci-fi museum (in Sacramento?) and which now appears at some conventions.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I recall paying a Saturday-matinee buck to see that movie in the mid-1970s. It fascinated me how the slow rotation of a flat metallic disk with strange markings on it could somehow enable time travel and in both directions.


    1. I’m so sorry…my spam filter caught this. They must have ramped it up to high!
      I really got lost in this movie…I’ve seen it a number of times and showed my son when he was young…now him and I will watch it yearly.

      Liked by 1 person

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