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
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Bardstown police warn of movie prop money being used as real cashWDRB, April 27th
Bardstown police warn of movie prop money being used as real cas - WDRB 41 Louisville News. Contract With Viewers · WDRB Jobs · Sunday Edition · Jefferson Awards. Member Center: Create Account|; Log In; Manage Account|; Log Out. SITE SEARCH...Read more
A Sneaker Reseller Got Scammed With Movie Prop MoneyComplex, April 22nd
According to The Buffalo News, a 21-year-old reseller from Buffalo, N.Y., was tricked with prop money during a sneaker deal gone wrong. The man allegedly met his buyer on a sneaker reselling site, although it's not specified which one. It wasn't until...Read more
Canton police warn public of movie prop money scamnewsnet5.com, April 21st
CANTON, Ohio - Canton police are warning the public about a scam involving the use of movie prop money to purchase items. Police said the prop money doesn't feel like real currency and are marked "MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY" on the front and back of ...Read more
Movie prop money being circulatedPueblo Chieftain, April 19th
The Pueblo Police Department is warning citizens about a scam involving money that is used in movies as a prop circulating around. “The Pueblo Police Department has taken several reports regarding fake $100 bills that are created for the motion picture ...Read more
Loch Ness Movie Prop Found, Actual Monster Still At LargeTravelPulse, April 18th
And by Loch Ness Monster we mean a fancy film prop that was used in the 1970 movie “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.” Sadly, the real Nessie, which is totally not a delusion in any shape or form, continues to play the world's longest game of ...Read more
High-Tech Hunt Unearths Movie Prop, But The Loch Ness Monster Remains Elusive ...The Inquisitr, April 14th
Since 1933, “1,000 sober and honest people” claim to have seen the Loch Ness monster. On Wednesday, a group of researchers, armed with a high-tech underwater robot, claimed to have found the creature hiding in the water's murky depths. But not so fast ...Read more
You can own a prop from the Alabama-filmed movie 'Big Fish'AL.com, April 8th
Now you can own an "original movie prop" for sale on Amazon from the Prop Store. If you were hoping for Ewan McGregor's shoes thrown over the utility line, or the hat Danny Devito wore as the circus ringmaster, you might be disappointed because what's...Read more
Police report dozen cases of fake movie prop $100 billsKCCI Des Moines, April 7th
Police report dozen cases of fake movie prop $100 bills. Published 8:43 AM CDT Apr 07, 2016. NEXT STORY. New report just released on crash that killed 2 officers, 2 others. Text Size: ASmall Text; AMedium Text; ALarge Text. Photos. WATERLOO, Iowa ...Read more