A Tribute to Benjamin Resella

Film, Artistic, & Literary Accomplishments

1917 - 2009

Theatrical, Motion Picture & Television Scenic Art

1966 to 1967: Theatrical Scenic Artist

Ben Resella's California legacy began at the San Francisco Opera House. Here as a scenic artist he painted sceneries for Operatic Theatre. The Local 816, business agent, Mr. Clayton Thomason later discovered him to be an excellent perspective delineator. He was immediately relocated to Hollywood to work on the musical "Hello Dolly" in 1967. He would make his impact in the Motion Picture and Television industry as the scenic supervisor for J.C. Backings at the Twentieth Century-Fox Studios. Mr. John Coakley, the owner of J.C. Backings, Inc., made Ben his scenic supervisor for more than 20 years.

1996 to 2009: Motion Picture & Television Scenic Art

The most recent Scenic Arts Contributions include the following:

  • Air Force One (Special Scenic Effects)
  • Home Alone 3
  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
  • Indian in a Cupboard
  • Disney/ABC Television Series: General Hospital
  • Disney/ABC Television Series: Port Charles
  • Metropolitan Hospital (Special Scenic Effects)
  • Motion Picture Academy Award
  • Music Award

Art Director & Production Designer

1962 to 1966:

Supervising Art Director & Special Photographic Effects - Philippines

1937 to 1962:

Early films in the Philippines included, "Tayo Nasa Langit" , "Florante at Laura" and "Ibong Adarna" with Manila Talkatone and the Saulumbides Film Company. He also worked as an associate art director for X-Otic Films, LVN Pictures, and Palaris. During this time Ben introduced in the Philippine Movies his creative talents for the trick shot, matte shot, glass shot, background projection, utilizing a unique interlocking system of his own and other special photographic effects.

  • 1937 Art Directorial Debut, Set Designer: Manila Talkatone, owner George R. Musser.
  • 1938 Associate Art Director, "Tayo Na Sa Langnit": Manila Talkatone.

    Produced by Maffei de Lobregat

  • 1939 Associate Art Director, "Florante at Laura" (EPIC). Produced by Vicente Salumbides

    Introduced in the Philippine Motion Picture the first "Glass-shot".

  • 1940 Associate Art Director, "Ibong Adarna" (EPIC). Produced by Dna. Narcisa DeLeon,

    LVN Studio. Introduced the first "Matte-shot" and "Background Projection".

  • 1940 Associate Art Director, "Baguio Cadet", X'Otic Films
  • 1947 Supervising Art Director, "Isumpa Mo Giliw". Directed by Geraldo DeLeon.
  • 1947-1959 Supervising Art Director and Head of the Special Photgraphic and Background Projection for Sampaguita Pictures Inc. Introduced the first "Hanging Miniature Shot" and the first professional Studio Camera Crane in the Philippine movie studio and Animation.

Scenic Art Supervisor & Designer

1967 to 1987:

As Scenic Art and Design Supervisor for J.C. Backings Corporation, Ben set a high standard of artistic quality for every project undertaken. He actively designed and painted backings and special scenic effects for many motion picture films and television productions including: (listed alphabetically)

  • Bed Knobs and Broom Sticks
  • Black Hole
  • Boston Strangler
  • City Beneath the Sea
  • Counter Point
  • Dragnet
  • Dynasty
  • Earthquake
  • End of the World
  • Foul Play
  • Ghostbusters
  • Gremlins
  • Hammet
  • Hello Dolly
  • High Anxiety
  • King Kong
  • L. A. Law
  • Land of the Giants
  • Last Journey of Noah's Ark
  • Lipstick
  • Logan's Run
  • Magic
  • New York, New York
  • Nothing in Common
  • On a Clear Day
  • Pennies from Heaven
  • Personal Best
  • Planet of the Apes (series)
  • Poltergeist
  • Rochester
  • Shampoo
  • Silver Streak
  • Simon & Simon
  • Space Balls
  • Star Trek, the Motion Picture
  • The Best Little Whore house in Texas
  • Towering Inferno
  • Winter Kill
  • You Ought to be in Pictures
Scenic Visual Effects Supervision of the following film productions:
  • Silver Streak
  • Coma
  • Winter kill
  • Star Trek, the Motion Picture
  • High Anxiety
  • Space Balls

Scenic Art Consultant

1987 to 1993:

Serving the Hollywood Film Industry and Theme Parks as Scenic Art Consultant to the Art Directors. Ben's expertise included Murals, Landscapes, Scenic Special Effects, Architectural Backings and Theme Park's giant Scenic Profiles.

  • Disneyland, Tokyo Theme Park
  • Disneyland, Anaheim Theme Park
  • Disneyland, Orlando Theme Park
  • Universal Studios, Orlando Theme Park

Literary Works

As a writer, Ben Resella's all encompassing talents has shone through in his writings. He continues to hone his writing abilities.

  • Limahong, The Pirate, story and screenplay, copyrighted 1978.
  • Captain Bullhead, screenplay, Registered 1995
  • Limahong, The Boy Pirate, Novel, written 1996

Biographical Information

Benjamin Resella: 1955

Benjamin Abelardo Resella, born on May 14th, 1917 in the Tondo district of Manila, Philippines to Teodora Velayo Abelardo and Isabelo Resella. He had three older siblings who either died at birth or at early age from an epidemic of Beriberi. His father, Isabelo Resella, a renowned jewelry designer,sculptor, and scenic artist, died when Ben was three months old. He also left behind three other children from his previoius marriage: Josefina, Domingo and Marcelino. His beloved mother, Teodora, lovingly nicknamed, Orang, raised Ben. By profession, she was a school and piano teacher, an embroidery designer and scenic artist. She was a well traveled businesswoman who could speak seven dialects/languages. At the age of five, Ben and his mother traveled to the United States.

On the long voyage to the United States, his mother Teodora, took ill in China. They would stay in China for 6 years. Teodora married Amado Luna, a traveling Filipino musician. In China, Ben's mother would leave her mark. She was a kindhearted person to people and animals alike. Because of her humanitarian work, she was dubbed "The Aling Orang of Shanghai" in the Philippine Free Press. She helped troubled and stranded Filipinos in Shanghai, fed the poor, took the homeless and tried to save the countless abandoned Chinese infant girls, two who she would adopt: Lolita and Pinat. The family, now numbered five, returned to the Philippines.

Ben learned the art of scenic designing from his grandfather, the famous painter, Juan Henson Abelardo. He started as an apprentice to his grandfather at the age of 11 at Juan Abelardo Scenic Studio at Manila's Grand Opera House. At the age of 15, Ben began his humble beginings in the Motion Picture Industry as a Developing Tank Cleaner Boy at Manila Talkatone. He learned about the developing processes of motion picture film. He would make his way to printing, then to Film Editing and finally to the Camera Department, where he concentrated on Photographic Special Effects. He worked for Sampaguita Pictures as an Art Director.

In 1941, World War II interrupted Ben's promising career of scenic art and film. He enlisted in the war and served his country. During Japanese occupation, his oldest half brother Domingo Resella, who worked with the American Brothers of Ateneo de Manila University as their scenic artist died. Ben would be taken as prisoner and forced to walk the Bataan Death March of 1942 along with 68,000 Filipino and 12,000 American POWs and thousands of civilians including men, women and children. They would be made to march from the surrender at Bataan north to Balanga with no food or water. If any person fell they were quickly bayoneted. Thousands died from exhaustion, starvation, torture, and executions. After arriving in Camp O'Donnell, Capas at Tarlac, Ben had to survive the horrifying and dismal life in a Japanese Concentration Camp. Ben received three medals for his service in World War II. On December 6th, 1988, President Ronald Reagan awarded Sergeant Benjamin Resella, the War World II Victory Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the American Defense Medal, in addition to the Philippine Defense Ribbon and the Presidential Unit Emblem Ribbon.

Benjamin Abelardo Resella married Consuelo Fajardo Ubaldo on April 8th 1943 at San Marcelino Church in Manila. Their first child Cholita, born during the war, died at 5 months after days of bombing by the United States. 1945 marked the ending of World War II. Their family grew and prospered, they had seven more children: Theodina, Rhodamin, Esmeralda, Benjamin Jr., Francis, Clarissa and Aaron. Ben would finally finish the journey to the United States that he had started so many years ago. He would take his family, all nine and travel by ship "The President Wilson" to the ports of San Francisco on May 21st, 1963. His American Legacy in the Film Industry began with "Hello Dolly" in 1967. The rest is history.

We apologize for any errors and omissions that may have occurred on this page. You may transmit additional information or comments to rodney@resella.com for future updates.


"Earthquake" - scenic designed & painted

by Benjamin Resella, JC Backings

Robert Wise, William Shatner, Benjamin Resella

Star Trek, The Motion Picture - 1988

Albert Brenner, Leon Harris, Earl K