Because the Walt Disney organization and director B.W.L. (Bill) Norton wanted to achieve as much realism as possible with BABY: THB SECRET OF THE LOST LEGEND, it was decided to use full-scale mechanical dinosaurs designed by Isidoro Raponi for as much of the actionas possible. The $13 millon production—released last March—stars William Katt and Sean Young as a yuppie couple who discover a living family of dinosaurs deep in the African jungle, and wind up risking their lives to protect a baby Brontosaur.
Raponi, Disneys resident mechanical wizard, designed mechanisms working from models of the dinosaurs that were as anatomically correct as possible with the exception of facial characteristics changed to give the creatures more expressiveness and less reptilian coldness. The mechanism fit onto short actors bent overand walking on all fours using short hand stilts.
The Disney workshops fabricated fiberglass plates to fit over Raponis aluminum and steel skeletons to serve as an anchor for the polyurethane foam that would fill out the body. The dinosaurs were torn down to be recast and rebuilt in Africa. Raponi was to find though, that what worked well over here wouldn't necessarily work the same over there.