Ask most people what the most significant prop is in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and they’ll probably say a phaser, or a communicator badge, or maybe a Klingon bat’leth. But from those who truly hold the 1987-’94 series close to their hearts, you may hear a very different answer: Captain Picard’s Ressikan flute.
If sci-fi movies have taught us anything, it’s that the future is hardly a safe place. Whether it’s invading aliens, rogue robots or a repressive, dystopian regime, science-fiction worlds need defending (or attacking), meaning the genre is forever filled with a wide, often fascinating array of weapons, going all the way back to the classic raygun.
There’s seemingly no limit to the range of death-dealing devices cinema has come up with for its futuristic (or cosmically fantastical) adventures, from an arrow guided by whistles (as seen in Guardians of the Galaxy) to, well, the planet-destroying Death Star. But the weapon has to feel right for the movie in question, and in turn can tell you a lot about a particular film’s aesthetic and theme – as the selection of classic sci-fi blasters included in Prop Store’s upcoming Entertainment Memorabilia LA auction reveals.
A common argument – sorry discussion – among film enthusiasts is: what was the best-ever movie decade? Some might plump for the golden years of the 1940s; others the raw, movie-brat-dominated verve of the ’70s; or maybe the slick, sardonic ’90s when indie cool infiltrated the mainstream. But if you take a good look at the cinematic landscape today, with the plot-connected mega-franchise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, state-of-the-art digital effects allowing for limitless world building, and film-makers like Christopher Nolan crafting original thrill-rides on a massive scale, you would be remiss not to consider the 1980s: the decade when the blockbuster came of age.
Games are perfect fodder for movie entertainment, whether they be the kind you play on the field, on the couch, or sat at a table. After all, isn’t any game inherently dramatic? Most sports are broken up into ‘acts’, effectively, whether they be halves, innings or quarters. They shiver with tension throughout, delivering twists and turns along the way and, more often than not, end with a decisive and emotional resolution: a winner and a loser. Oh, and they come with a built-in audience. Who can deny the stirring power of a roaring crowd, even one watched from the comfort of a cinema seat?
Over an impressive, five-decade career, costume designer Francine Jamison-Tanchuck has broken new ground (she was the first-ever African American designer hired at Paramount, then Disney) and contributed to several key, progressive moments in Black cinema history, with such movies as The Color Purple, Coming To America and Glory (her first film as a head of department).
As we assessed the cinematic and televisual treasures available in our second Los Angeles-based Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction, it occurred to us just how much history was contained in our lots.
From the 1960s to the 2010s, we have six decades’ worth of memorabilia. So let’s go on a journey, decade by decade, through some truly iconic props – all of which will be open for bidding July 1st – which all made a mark on the eras in which they graced the screen.
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