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Sci-fi Steel
Meeting of the minds leads to Klaatu art
Klaatu-Bruce Bitter
Bruce Bitter with B&B Metal Arts said his “Klaatu” statue can provide a photo op for those science fiction fans who want to become part of the experience.
Bruce Bitter with B&B Metal Arts said the parts for an 8-foot-tall “Gort” statue are ready to be assembled. Here’s a good-sized hand ready to help with the finished product. (Becky Gillete).

HOISINGTON — B&B Metal Arts has been around since 1995 when Bruce Bitter and his brother Brent decided to acknowledge their artistic talent. Starting out as a part-time business, it became a full-time business for Bruce in 2000 while still remaining part-time for Brent. 

One of their latest projects came from a connection made during their early years. Jim Gray used to run a cowboy shop, selling B&B rusty longhorns. When Gray became involved with the Geneseo City Museum, he called upon the Bitters again to create statues of a couple of main characters from the iconic movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” – the humanoid alien Klaatu (Michael Rennie) and his 8-foot tall robotic companion, Gort.

Going into the shop where the statues come into being, we find a huge torso, arms, legs, hands, and feet as well as a head complete with ears.

“We’ve been playing around and he’s been all from a flat sheet of steel,” Bitter said. There is equipment to bend the metal, creating the three-dimensional statue, as well as cutting tools to cut the patterns. In order to get the dimensions correct, Bitter says, “I’ve probably got 300 pictures – every picture I can find of the helmet.” The attention to detail is part of the genius of B&B Metal Arts.

In an interview on the Sci Fi Channel about the Geneseo City Museum project, Jim Gray talked about wanting a full-size Gort on the grounds of the museum. “I had a couple of friends that I had known since years ago when I ran an old West cowboy shop and they did art for me. I knew they were good. B&B Metal Arts out of Hoisington, Kansas.” When asked if they would be interested, Gray said they “jumped right into it.”

After clearing the decks from some earlier commissions, the Bitters have definitely “jumped into it.” Gort and Klaatu are well on their way to Geneseo.

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