Is the War Games WOPR computer from the original movie or the sequel?

One of the marquee items in Premiere Props’s Hollywood Extravaganza VII Auction, slated for September 15-16, is the WOPR computer from WarGames (MGM, 1983). From Premiere’s catalog description:

“THE signature prop from the cult favorite 1983 John Badham sci-fi thriller ‘War Games,’ starring Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy. This is the full size, original, screen used WOPR computer that started the war games and nearly triggered WWIII. The film is a cautionary tale about the reliance of man on computer technology, as teenage David (Broderick) decides to play a computer game by hacking into NORAD and unknowingly begins the countdown to Armageddon. The super computer WOPR (War Operations Plan Response), also known as Joshua, is the seminal prop from this film, and it doesn’t disappoint. The prop is full size, made with heavy resin and painted grey, with a myriad of wires that light up the front panel. The prop was constructed in Culver City, CA by members of IATSE local 44, and has been in the MGM archives ever since. Amazing that it has survived all these years. From the MGM studios. Oversized item. Additional Postage Required.”

Premiere is touting this item as the original WOPR from the 1983 movie. However, there is compelling evidence that it is actually from the 2008 straight-to-video sequel, WarGames: The Dead Code. The prop came from MGM’s Downtown LA lockup and features rust stains that matches what is seen in this scene from The Dead Code:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKiLwFJ5Exg

What do you think? If it’s from the 2008 sequel, is it worthy of the $40,000 – $60,000 pre-sale estimate?

(Thanks, Jack!)

 

(Photo credit: Premiere Props)

10 thoughts on “Is the War Games WOPR computer from the original movie or the sequel?

  1. I think it’s from the sequel. I just went over and looked at it. The lights on the long horizontal panel don’t match screenshots of the 1983 movie(from top to bottom, the lights on the original were grouped 4-2-2, the prop in the auction is 2-2-4). The lights on the main display also don’t match the original. There were two depth levels of lights on the original prop. Most were on the surface, but the block of red lights in the lower middle were inset and visible through a rectangle cut into the top surface. The prop in the auction has all the lights on the same plane and there is no cut-out.
    The painted on rust pattern and aging/distressing matches the 2008 sequel. The prop in the auction only has lights on the front side, where in the original 1983 you can see that the lights are on both sides. Also, the PC computer inside the auction prop and power supply operating it are at the oldest from the 1990’s- but probably much newer. It certainly is not an Apple II or graphic equalizer as the original was supposed to have used.
    Lastly, I found a website with an email correspondence with the visual effects supervisor from the 1983 film, Michael Fink, circa 2006 where he states that the original prop was broken up for scrap and that the countdown display actually went back to the person it was borrowed from.

    http://www.imsai.net/movies/wargames.htm#WOPR

  2. Yeah, I remember seeing that email on imsai.net. The original was destroyed, that’s why AT&T had to build a new one for some commercial they did a few years.
    As for Premiere’s, there’s no doubt it’s the one in the YouTube video, the paint on WOPR screen matches perfectly…
    (I never even knew there WAS a sequel to WarGames… :) )

  3. Looks like they changed it…

    THE signature prop from the cult favorite sci-fi thriller ‘War Games: The Dead Code. This is the full size, original, screen used WOPR computer that started the war games and nearly triggered WWIII.

  4. So Premiere finally edited the description, but it’s still wrong. All they did was changed the title to “War Games: The Dead Code.” They didn’t both to correct the actor, as it still says Matthew Broderick.

    Also, “cult favorite”? I don’t think so. The estimate is definitely too high. Yet, the bidding is up to $3,000 now (started at $500).

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