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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It Turns Out There's a Much Cheaper Interactive BB-8 That Rolls and Talks TooGizmodo, September 3rd
Sphero's BB-8 will undoubtedly be one of the most sought-after toys heading into the holidays, but it turns out it's not the only company who's figured out how to bring BB-8 to life. This larger version of the droid isn't remote control, but it can...Read more
Own Your Own Battle-scarred TerminatorTechnabob (blog), September 3rd
Beat SkyNet at their own game by getting your very own Terminator. Model T-850 to be precise; already battle damaged, so you won't be surprised when it get's a bit beat up during its first trip into the future, the past or wherever, to fight other...Read more
Romantic dinner on an iceberg? 'Batcave' in your home? Hong Kong firm turns ...South China Morning Post (subscription), September 3rd
The past 10 years have flown by for Emma Sherrard Matthew, chief executive of Asia-Pacific for the Quintessentially Group. She started the exclusive concierge service in Hong Kong a decade ago with four people and it has since grown to more than 80 staff...Read more
Movie prop money being passed off in RentonKIRO Seattle, September 2nd
The seal on the front of the bill says "FOR MOTION PICTURE." The back of the bills says “MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY” in place of “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” Sponsored Links. RENTON, Wash. —. Scammers are using prop money used in ...Read more
Movie prop money scam using fake $100 bills debuts in RentonRenton Reporter, September 1st
The movie prop money involved in the Renton cases is similar to an actual $100 bill, according to Leibman. The most prominent distinction is on the top right front with the phrase “FOR MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY” in place of “THE UNITED STATES OF ...Read more
Scammers Pass Fake Movie Money as Real Cash in Wash.WTVC, August 28th
Renton detectives say the movie prop money involved in the Renton cases is very similar to an actual $100 bill. The most prominent distinction is on the top right front with the phrase "FOR MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY" in place of "THE UNITED STATES OF ...Read more
Fake movie money being used to buy items in Renton, SeattleThe Seattle Times, August 28th
Renton police are warning the public that someone has been using movie prop money to make cash purchases. By Seattle Times staff. Selling something for cash? Be careful you're not being handed movie money. The Renton Police Department is warning ...Read more
Original 'Star Wars' Stormtrooper helmet and Spock's spandex. Yours to buyCNN International, August 26th
Whether you're a diehard "Star Wars" fan or an indie movie buff, September 23rd is the date to set for all film enthusiasts, as a global auction showcasing 450 of the film industry's most iconic movie props kicks off. Prop Store, one of the world's...Read more