Welcome to Tom Scherman's web site, a celebration of the life and works of Tom Scherman, from his first Nautilus model to his last and great achievement with the Disneyland Paris Discoveryland "Les Mystères du Nautilus" attraction. On the right bar you'll find direct links to great articles, full of rare pictures and Tom's sketches and paintings. Don't miss too the amazing pictures of Tom's "Nautilus" apartment and the "Vulcania Treasures" section where you'll be able to order beautiful prints of Tom's paintings. Also, infos about the awaited eFX Nautilus collectible replica are in the "Nautilus Collectibles" section.
The Tom Scherman web site is open to all contributors who have great stories and pictures. The site is a place to share with the world great documents about Tom or 20000 Leagues and anyone who would like to do an article on the site in his own name is perfectly welcome. If one of you want to propose an article all what you need to do is to send the pictures and the text to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take care to put in line the article in a nice way.
We hope you will enjoy this site, it was done with love, in memory of Tom.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Tom Scherman was born on July 11, 1940, in the county of Westchester, a suburb of New York. His family was musical and artistic and so was Tom. His boyhood sketches were of fantastic machines rather than clouds and barns and animals. In fact, the animals Tom drew were mostly dinosaurs, and he had an exhaustive knowledge of each dinosaur's size, power and hist
When Tom's interest was piqued, he studied that subject extensively; and, possessing an encyclopedic memory, never forgot what he learned. In 1954, Tom saw 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Then he saw it again a few days later. He began building Nautilus models, and studying not only 20K, but all the works of Jules Verne. It was an interest, a passion, really, that was to last for the rest of his life.
Tom studied art formally at Rhode Island School of Design, where he made his first animated film, a sort of campy homage a King Kong. Tom was captivated by the idea of film, and filmic special effects, which led him to move to California, to be in the center of the SFX world. He worked at several of the LA commercial production houses, notably Jon Urie and Associates, and Cascade. His model-making skills were noted and he worked on an impressive list of television commercials including Alka Selzer, Paper Mate, Pillsbury, Norelco, Bird's Eye, and Arco.
These jobs were means to an end. Tom never forgot the reason behind his move to California, and became friends with Harper Goff, the Production Designer of 20,000 Leagues. In fact, it was a meeting of the minds. Harper once said that Tom "was the son I never had." Harper showed Tom the design for the Nautilus Two and the concept of Vulcania. Tom built many Nautilus models, scores of them. The author Ray Bradbury had one on his desk that was shown every week at that author's TV show.
Tom was once again smitten by the fantasy world of Jules Verne, and expanded upon Harper's original concept, even after Harper passed away. The work he did heavily influenced the design of Tokyo DisneySea's Mysterious Island theme park. Tom, never idle, did models for films Airport 2, and Darkman.
Tom had met Richard Fleischer, the director, and attended the lectures he gave about 20K. Fleischer often asked if Tom were in the audience because he knew that Tom's grasp of the facts connected with the film were superior to his own. It was therefore acknowledged that Tom was the ranking aficionado of all things concerned with the film.
So when Disneyland Paris WDI Imagineers needed an interior design for their Nautilus, Tom was the choice to do it. It was the culmination of a dream, and even though Tom was in remission for the cancer that would eventually kill him, he finished the job on time and under budget and was thanked by WDC Chief Michael Eisner.
His memorial service was attended by scores of his friends, and the eulogy was given by Ray Bradbury.
We like to remember him proudly standing on the deck of his ultimate creation.
From an interview with Rowland Scherman
Pictures: copyright Rowland Scherman. B&W framed pictures: Thanks to Richard Allsmiller. Last picture: copyright Disney
Thanks to Rowland Scherman and Dave Scherman - Tom's brothers - you will discover a very rare document, Tom's scrap book that he did when he created a Nautilus decor in his Los Angeles apartment in 1966. Only one copy of this book exists, the one that Tom did to keep pictures of the whole transformation from the renderings to the final result.
From the cover to the last page of this fantastic document, each page of Tom's book is here. And I also did scans of each page most interesting pictures. You must click on each picture to see them in big size as Tom himself details each step of this amazing creation.
Pictures: copyright Tom Scherman & Rowland Scherman. No reproduction of these pictures is allowed and they can't be posted on other web sites without prior authorization.
Tom Scherman was known for his model-making skills - and Tom models were impressive - but he was also a painter and did beautiful paintings of the Nautilus.
Here is a selection of Tom's paintings and if you like one in particular you will be happy to know that Rowland Scherman, Tom's brother, is doing limited collector's edition prints of the most beautiful ones. Please see the "Vulcania Treasures" section of this site for more informations on how to order them.
The next picture shows a detail of the above painting.
The two next paintings show the "Nautilus Two" a new version of Nemo's submarine.
Tom also did a model of it and you can discover it in the "Nautilus Two" section.
Sometime Tom was doing less elaborate paintings but the result is still nice and interesting, as you can see on this series of paintings below.
This last painting is not related to 20000 Leagues under the Sea, but it's another aspect of Tom's interest for Jules Verne's books. Here he painted the "spaceship" of "From the Earth to the Moon" which as we know was in fact a cannon shell.
All paintings: copyright Tom Scherman Estate and Rowland Scherman. These pictures cannot be reproduced or posted on other sites without authorization.