Often unnoticed to the untrained eye, props function as the glue that holds a movie together. Whether it is a Civil War battle or a futuristic alien invasion, prop masters are charged with the task of making sure every detail on the screen appears historically accurate and realistic.

But what is a prop? It seems like a simple question, but it is not so easy. A prop is anything a character can pick up, be it a magazine, weapon, or lamp. This can include food items and, depending on production, even decals, such as those on the sides of ambulances and police cars.

A prop is not, however, the vehicle itself. It is also not the furniture that the lamp sits on or the uniform that goes with the weapon, although jewelry can be considered a prop. So while Judy Garland’s ruby red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” pulled quite a prize at auction, they aren’t props. Nor is Orson Welles’ pinstriped shirt from “Citizen Kane,” but the sled called “Rosebud” owned by a young Welles in the movie would be considered a prop, and was bought at auction by Steven Spielberg in 1982 for $60,500.

When it comes to collecting props, there are two types: those that were actually used on a movie set during production, and replicas, which may even be licensed by a studio. Like autographs, it is often extremely difficult to fully authenticate a prop. Studios have even been known to sell props post-production claiming they were used on set, when the piece in question was actually a less collectible re-creation.

Getting your hands on authentic props can be difficult. In older movies, props were often discarded after the film because the studios didn’t have space to store them. In other instances, props were left in the possession of the prop master, which is why such individuals are usually the best sources of authentic props.

Acquiring props from recent movies is no easier. Because studios pay for the props in a film, they often maintain possession of them after production. In recent years, studios have started to hold on to props so they can be used in sequels, potential or planned. In other instances, studios will hire an auctioneer to sell props immediately after filming has ceased in order to recoup some of the movie’s production costs.

The prop collector also needs to keep in mind that many props are not what they appear to be on screen. For example, if a character in a movie that’s set in the 18th century is r...

For the most part, props from the most memorable movies are the ones most sought by collectors, be it a blaster from the original “Star Wars,” a pair of dice rolled by Marlon Brando in “Guys and Dolls,” or the “Witch Remover” sprayer used by the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz.”

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Recent News: Movie Props

Source: Google News

9-foot Joe Frazier statue rising in Philadelphia
New Zealand Herald, September 1st

PHILADELPHIA (AP) For many Philadelphia tourists, the Rocky statue is a must-see even if it is a movie prop depicting a fictional boxer. Could a sculpture of real-life heavyweight champion Joe Frazier draw as many admirers? Artist Stephen Layne is...Read more

The Pilgrim Comes to Newport Sept. 12
Newport Beach Independent Newspaper, August 30th

This pirate ship was made by Bayshore residents James Cagney (of movie fame) and his brother, Bill, as a movie prop. The large rower was a shore boat for eight to ten adults to row ashore from the Swift. When Bill Cagney gave it to Dad I was present...Read more

Boko Haram 'massacre' image fake
Yahoo South Africa, August 28th

It had been cleverly Photoshopped. Another far more gruesome photograph was distributed on a Russian news website. It purported to show a Ukrainian man eating the arm of a Russian. In fact, the arm was a movie prop and the man holding it was a prop ...Read more

Jack Nitz and Associates expands its reach
Fremont Tribune, August 28th

Jack Nitz auctioneers work the crowd during the sale of the a movie prop from the movie "Deliverance" during the old Clarion Inn liquidation auction Sept. 10, 2013, in Fremont. 2014-08-28T08:00:00Z 2014-08-28T08:09:19Z Jack Nitz and Associates expands ...Read more

Jurassic World pays tribute to Richard Attenborough's John Hammond
Flickering Myth (blog), August 25th

It's nice they are paying tribute to him in the new film, but there is no way this was designed, commissioned and built in less than 24 hours even if it is just a movie prop. This must have already been made and was always going to be included in the film...Read more

Naples company plans to rule reality TV
The News-Press, August 21st

Sure, the medieval-style chair is just a movie prop from a comedy he shot last year with Hollywood actor Paul Sorvino. But give it time. That fancy fake throne just might transform into the real deal someday. And Ardezzone and business partner Frank...Read more

Correction: Film Crew-Train Crash story
The Idaho Statesman, August 14th

Investigators say fellow crew members were injured either by the train itself or flying shrapnel from a bed that had been placed across the tracks as a movie prop. "It is unacceptable that Film Allman LLC knowingly exposed their crew to moving trains...Read more

What Is The Most Expensive Movie Prop Ever?
Cinema Blend, August 13th

But in the history of movie prop auctions, there's an elite few that have made quite a bit of cash on the names of the films or the actors that used them, and out of all of those items there's one that's head and shoulders above the rest when it comes...Read more