The Prop Store Collection Presents…Jack Sparrow

Welcome to the first in a new series of blogs as Prop Store’s team digs into the archives and unearths some amazing items. We’ll talk about the film it comes from and the prop or costume itself, giving you the facts, the figures and all the details on some fascinating piece of movie history. Let’s get started, shall we?

Invite a Vampire into Your Home: The Lost Boys Lots Featured in the Greg Cannom Auction

Of the more than 40 titles represented in our Greg Cannom Auction, some of our favorite material comes from the 80s classic vampire film The Lost Boys. In the first installment of our blog series on the Greg Cannom collection coming to auction this February, we take a closer look at some of the incredible Lost Boys material in the sale.

Action! Five Great Clapperboards

Clapperboards, for anyone who doesn’t know, are used on film sets to assist in the synchronization of the picture and sound, and to designate and mark particular scenes and takes for use in editing the film later. They’re very collectible, especially if they’ve been used in big productions, so here is a selection of our favourites.

Celebrate Oscar season with eight great props from Academy Award-winning movies!

It’s that time of year again, when prestige films and the people who made them are busily competing for awards attention. Glitzy ceremonies are rolling out the red carpet for stars and trophies are being handed over like they’re going out of fashion. The Academy Awards are creeping closer, with the big event scheduled for February 28th, so we thought we’d pay tribute to some of the big Oscar-winning movies by looking at some great items in the Prop Store’s collection.

Six Great Props from Fantastic Stop Motion Movies

Computer generated imagery might be the big player in animation these days, with Pixar, DreamWorks, Blue Sky and more putting out more and more films, but there is still something to be said for enchanting movies created by companies such as Aardman (who brought us Wallace & Gromit, Shaun The Sheep, The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit and more) and Laika, creators of Coraline, Paranorman and The Boxtrolls). We thought we’d showcase just a few of the handcrafted – and collectible – items available from the Prop Store.

Live Auction 2015 Recap

From Alien to Zathura, this year’s Prop Store Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction, held in partnership with the BFI IMAX and ODEON Cinemas, was a huge success and our feet have only just touched the ground again!

Celebrating Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino’s latest, blood-soaked Western thriller The Hateful Eight roars into some American cinemas on Christmas Day (and then goes on general release in both the US and UK on January 8). To celebrate the return of the auteur, we trawled through our catalogue of items from his previous films to offer up a few for nostalgic Tarantino fans to peruse.

Prop Store Staff Picks: Brian Cordoba’s Favourite Props

Our LA Copywriter Brian takes a moment to tell us about his favourite props and costumes from the Prop Store website…

Norway: “Hoth” Filming Locations Part 2

The next morning, the group met with their guides—Terje Olsen and Erling Nesbo. Terje has been around Finse all of his life, though he was too young to be involved with the filming of Empire. Erling, however, worked on the production of the film. As Erling did not speak English (and the expedition did not speak Norwegian), Terje served as the group’s protocol droid and interpreter. He provided the expedition with Erling’s specific curriculum vitae with regards to his work on EMPIRE.“[Erling] was the head of security, and transport, and things like that. Most of the people who stayed here at the time were extras in the film. His sister, and brother-in-law were extras.” They showed Erling their reference photos and Erling seemed to recognize the majority of them. It was a promising start.

Norway: “Hoth” Filming Locations Part 1

“There’s nothing there.”

To Brandon Alinger, the words of location manager Philip Kohler were hardly surprising. That’s because he was seeking a place so frozen and remote that Kohler had chosen it to pass for the desolate ice planet Hoth in Irvin Kershner’s 1980 STAR WARS sequel THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

Star Wars Original Stormtrooper Blaster

Written by Stephen Lane
This article was originally written as an in-depth look at a piece Prop Store had for sale. Unfortunately we have none of these in stock at this time

John Dykstra: Intergalactic Man Of Magic Part 3

Written by the Prop Store team

Tales abound of ILM being more like a university quad than a serious postproduction house. Hell, there was a hot tub in their parking lot. Another such anecdote stars the escape slide of a 727 passenger jet from a nearby industrial yard that was re-appropriated by the ILM brain trust and turned into a makeshift slip-and-slide in the same parking lot that would eventually house the Death Star trench. “[ILM] was described as ‘the country club’ by the executives and, I would assume to a certain extent, by the people who were on the production,” Dykstra recalls.

John Dykstra: Intergalactic Man Of Magic Part 2

Written by the Prop Store team

For the explosion shots, Dykstra’s team built effects models that were pre-ordained to die out of a breakaway mold-making material that master modeler Grant McCune brought to the table called “fast tool.” “I didn’t want it all just to go bang,” Dykstra says. “I wanted it to go bang, bang, bang, bang, and, you know, have different parts explode at different times.” To create the appropriate symphony of bangs, ILM tweaked the chemistry of the fast tool in order to manipulate the material’s structural integrity to their needs. The internal parts of the pyrotechnic models also had to be painted so that discerning viewers going through the film in detail would not be able to pick out bare fast tool fragments tumbling through space. As with most of the STAR WARS visual effects, the exploding ships were not a simple, one-element process. Each explosion was the result of detailed compositing. “In some cases, we shot bigger explosions to overlay over existing, smaller explosions to help give more punch to it.” In the days before computer-generated anything, this compositing was not a quick process. It was often frustrating and always delicate and tedious.

John Dykstra: Intergalactic Man Of Magic Part 1

 Written by the Prop Store team

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

While Arthur C. Clarke’s third principle of scientific prediction is most often applied to science fiction storytelling, it could just as easily be used to describe the age of enlightenment that began in cinematic visual effects in the late 1970s thanks to a little film called STAR WARS. The chief sorcerer behind the film who led the renaissance of not only visual effects, but also the entire movie business, was a 20-something engineering kid from Southern California named John Dykstra. In a recent discussion, he looks back on the experience of creating the STAR WARS universe from nothing more than a script and George Lucas’s unique vision.

Gifts From A Galaxy Far, Far Away

The scream of TIE Fighters and the stirring chords of John Williams’ music on trailers means but one thing: Star Wars returns to our screens this month. The Force Awakens brings Han, Leia, Luke, Chewie, Artoo and Threepio back and launches a host of new characters to continue the iconic space opera. As you look to the future of the films, take a dip into the past and explore some exciting items from the originals and prequels available at the Prop Store.

Star Wars: The Prequel Trilogy – On Location in Tunisia

In the summer of 2001 Prop Store team member Brandon Alinger traveled to Tunisia in search of the original filming locations for Star Wars: ANH, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the Star Wars prequels. Seventeen-year-old Brandon managed to convince his parents the trip would make an ideal family vacation, and spent a week traveling the country and seeing the Star Wars sites. While many fans have visited the Tunisian locations over the years, at that point there had only been a handful of visitors and information was scarce. Gus Lopez had a website dedicated to Star Wars locations, and Jeremy Beckett had produced a guidebook which covered many of the sites.

Star Wars: The Original Trilogy – On Location in Tunisia

In the summer of 2001 Prop Store team member Brandon Alinger traveled to Tunisia in search of the original filming locations for Star Wars: ANH, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the Star Wars prequels. Seventeen-year-old Brandon managed to convince his parents the trip would make an ideal family vacation, and spent a week traveling the country and seeing the Star Wars sites. While many fans have visited the Tunisian locations over the years, at that point there had only been a handful of visitors and information was scarce. Gus Lopez had a website dedicated to Star Wars locations, and Jeremy Beckett had produced a guidebook which covered many of the sites.

Tunisia Trip

Prop Store team member Brandon Alinger made two trips to Tunisia in search of filming locations from the Star Wars films and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Brandon had become interested in the locations after reading several articles written by other fans who had made the trek to North Africa. He was able to get travel tips and directions from those who had been before, and first headed to the desert in May 2001. Over seven days Brandon located the majority of A New Hope, Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Raiders locations in the country.

Beasts of Burden: The Last Original Dewback

When George Lucas began working on ideas for Star Wars in the early 1970s, he envisioned making his first “real movie”—a movie with art directors and sets, rather than the more real-world films he had created in the past. Star Wars fans know that Lucas made the films in the U.K., for cost purposes, and that much of the look of the world was initially established by concept artists who worked hand in hand with Lucas–Ralph McQuarrie, Colin Cantwell, and Joe Johnston. When production set up at Elstree Studios outside London, a team of art directors and craftsmen led by production designer John Barry set about expanding the world from existing concept artwork…

ON LOCATION: BUTTERCUP VALLEY, 1982

Take a journey with us thirty years into the past. Before the world wide web, before internet forums and blogs. Hell, before Usenet groups and Compuserve. This was when movie spies were more like real spies. Belly-crawling with real cameras loaded with real film. Sharing physical assets. Speaking on the phone. Making meet ups face-to-face.

Stuart Freeborn

“Stuart…..FIX IT !” – the oft-heard cry echoing down the studio corridors usually preceded another pioneering invention from one of the most talented make-up & effects men in the industry – Stuart Freeborn.

Movie Memorabilia For Your Christmas Wish List

Christmas is rapidly approaching, and naturally our thoughts turn to gifts. If you’re the type who loves movie items and are looking for some cool movie items to give as gifts, or even suggest a few that Santa (or a kind friend) could bring for you this festive season, we have a few suggestions from the Prop Store’s collection.

5 Star Wars Artefacts in Prop Store CEO Stephen’s Personal Collection

I started Prop Store back in 1998, a hobby that quickly got out of control, but my passion for collecting props and costumes started some time before that. I’ve been travelling the world tracking down Star Wars props and costumes for close to 25 years. From Elstree to San Francisco, Los Angeles to Finse in Norway, I’ve racked up countless air miles, met some fascinating people and had some incredible adventures.

The Frank Elliott Collection

Prop Store is proud to present the ‘Frank Elliott Collection’, a number of personal memorabilia artefacts from the estate of the renowned camera assistant and focus puller, who sadly passed away in the summer 2011.

Tombstone: The Buntline Special

Fans of George P. Cosmatos’ Tombstone may be interested to learn about the weapons that helped make this movie such a modern-day classic.