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

'Eurydice,' 'The Rocky Horror Show,' 'Annie Jr.' and more: On the Stage
The Times-Picayune - NOLA.com, October 19th

A special package deal includes one admission ticket, a "Rocky Horror" t-shirt and a movie prop bag for $25. Costumes are strongly encouraged and prop bags and concessions will be sold. Because props are an essential part of audience participation...Read more

This 'bit of plastic' from Star Wars is worth £50000
io9, October 19th

Whilst it's a tad unsurprising to see a bit of a dismissive attitude over a movie prop, considering Antiques Roadshow tends to deal with 'finer' art and pieces, it's baffling to see how people can be shocked at so much value being put on pieces of...Read more

California archaeologists uncover 90-year-old movie prop (+video)
Christian Science Monitor, October 17th

California archaeologists uncover 90-year-old movie prop (+video). csmonitor icon. Editors' Picks. 4 Free Issues. Email. More. Sensing subversion, China throws the book at kids' libraries · Pakistan court upholds death penalty in Christian woman's...Read more

Oklahoma's Main Streets tell unusual tales
Houston Chronicle, October 17th

The museum includes photos, original home video of the movie's filming, autographs, a pinball machine donated by Paxton and the movie prop for Dorothy I, which was a tornado research device. WETUMKA. Once a year, the residents in this city of about ...Read more

Star Wars, Alien, Terminator; See 20 Iconic Movie Props You Can Buy This Week
/FILM, October 14th

And every once in a while, there are movie prop auctions held that allow you to own a piece of film history. Now, these don't come cheap. A unique prop or costume used in the filming of an iconic movie like Back to the Future or Terminator 2: Judgement...Read more

voxeljet Acquires 3D Printed Movie Prop Maker Propshop (Model Makers) Limited
3DPrint.com, October 2nd

Early this morning, it was announced that voxeljet AG (NYSE:VJET), the German-based 3D printer manufacturer, apparently is also getting into the movie prop production business. The company has acquired all outstanding shares of Propshop (Model ...Read more

Back to the Future hoverboard on sale at movie prop firm's first live auction
The Guardian, October 1st

Back to the Future hoverboard on sale at movie prop firm's first live auction. 19 comments. Casino Royale deck of cards, Milla Jovovich's Fifth Element costume and HR Giger chair will also go on sale in London. Hoverboard. Marty McFly's hoverboard, one...Read more

Police: Movie prop money used at convenience store
WGAL Lancaster, September 25th

Photos: Movie prop money. 1 of 3. Gallery Endcap. SHOW THUMBNAILS. Previous. Next. EPHRATA, Pa. —Someone used phony prop money to buy goods at an Ephrata, Lancaster County, convenience store, according to police. Related. Document: Men set ...Read more