Auctions | July 21, 2023

Storyboards and Concept Art from The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure Debut at Auction

Heritage Auctions

Mort Künstler's final poster artwork for The Poseidon Adventure 

Heritage Auction's The Irwin Allen Collection sale on July 29 features storyboards and concept art from some of the producer-director's most popular 1970s disaster movies.

"Almost none of this has ever been seen by anyone," says Ron Hamill, associate producer of the 1995 documentary The Fantasy Worlds of Irwin Allen. "The storyboards are incredible. It's all the detail. They show exactly what happens on screen, and of course this was all before CGI. And the concept art is fantastic, starting with The Big Circus." A lifetime fan of Allen's, he stepped in following Allen's death in 1991 to help gather and organize Allen's material legacy, which was spread across his production studios and homes. 

Allen had already produced and directed for RKO and others, but his The Big Circus for Warner Bros. in 1959 ushered him into his early prime. Soon after for 20th Century Fox he directed three films: The Lost World (1960) from the novel by Arthur Conan Doyle, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961), and Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962). This auction has storyboard and concept art for all of the above.

Original Concept Art from The Big Circus
Heritage Auctions

Original concept art from The Big Circus

Oversize Unit Storyboards Steve McQueen Towering Inferno
Heritage Auctions

Oversize unit storyboards starring Steve McQueen in The Towering Inferno

Original John Berkey Final Poster Artwork for The Towering Inferno
Heritage Auctions

Original John Berkey final poster artwork for The Towering Inferno

The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno were among the biggest box-office draws of the 1970s, and both employed all-star casts and extravagant action sequences that thrilled massive audiences. The concept art and storyboard art for these movies is striking and action-filled, including an oversize unit storyboard from The Towering Inferno of Steve McQueen as Chief O'Halloran in raging waters. The Poseidon Adventure is represented in this auction with the complete storyboard drawings, and the original final poster artwork by Mort Künstler that shows us the moment the ocean rushes into the ship's dining room.