Friday, June 4, 2010

THE JAILHOUSE; Behind the scenes, Behind the bars - PART 1 of 3

"As the flames spread throughout the city, pirates locked in the town jail are desperate to escape before their underground dungeon turns into an inferno. The local constabulary is nowhere to be seen. Only a mangy mutt is around to witness their plight, and he holds the keys to their cells in his mouth. The pirates try to lure the dog within their reach so they can grab the keys and attempt an escape. 'Here, give us the keys, ya scrawny little beast!'" – Ruben Procopio

The Jailhouse Scene statue, based on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Walt Disney World, is unique in many ways, among them is the distinction of being the only statue to have employed the talents of three of Pop Sculpture's contributors: Ruben Procopio, Tim Bruckner and Kat Sapene. Ruben designed the piece, Tim sculpted it and Kat painted it. A trifecta!

Ruben faced some interesting challenges in crafting a design that encapsulated the Disney ride experience, as well as creating a backview the public had never seen. "I had to maintain the focus on the characters and their interaction while giving a sense of the mass of their surroundings without overwhelming them," Ruben noted. He succeeded beautifully.

Following Ruben’s designs, and over the course of several conversations, Tim began roughing out the figures in clay. "The original figures themselves are like life-sized puppets with limited expression and movements," Tim said. "The genius of the ride is the full-on experience of lighting, sound and motion that creates, for the viewer, a sensory impression that goes well beyond its component parts. My job was to try and sculpt figures that felt like the ride, not portraits of the audio-animatronics."
Once the scale of the figures was set, Tim built sculpture stands for each figure with a set of wooden dowels as stand-ins for the prison bars. "This was one of the most technically challenging pieces I've ever done," Tim said. "Given the size of the piece and the production material (porcelain), I had to make adjustments to allow the figures to be manufactured without comprising their look. Early on, Ruben and I understood that simple things, like the way the pirates held onto the bars, would have to be modified to work with the various materials used and to anticipate the slight variables that arise from combining porcelain with other materials.”


  1. Beautiful work, as usual. These really capture the experience of the Disney ride. And the colors are awesome--right on the money!

    As an adult, I marvel at the details in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride...but as a kid it scared the heck out of me!

  2. This is wonderful, and speaks further of the genius of the creator of the original scene, the great Imagineer and artist Marc Davis.