A Glimpse of the Oso Si-Papu

The Last of the Oso Si-Papu is an 18-page story written by Willis O’Brien around 1950. He also created 90 water-color storyboards and seven large illustrations of the Oso Si-Papu (“Bear from the darkness of the underworld”). The creature is described as being 20-feet tall, bear-like, a native-Indian demon roaming the badlands, and having the pebbled skin texture like a Gila monster. The image above shows the beast —this is from a screen capture from a 1984 video taken of an Oakland exhibit on O’Brien’s legacy. This appears to be a water color painting. You can view the news feature (and other conceptual drawings of the Oso Si-Papu) on Obie here:

The Last of the Oso Si-Papu was never developed as a feature and we don’t know if Obie animated the beast or collected some test footage. An armature, clad with “musculature” was found in the famous Pete Peterson trunk. Some of the art work indicates that the beast had webbed ears similar to Gorgo. Willis O’Brien really had a fruitful imagination. It’s too bad some more of his ideas didn’t materialize on film.


S. Archer, 1993. Willis O’Brien: Special Effects Genius, McFarland, pg. 129-141.



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