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

Yukon in the Yukon
Auto123, September 16th

The wooden decked sidewalks (straight out of a John Wayne film), appear at first like a movie prop/tourism gimmick, but actually serve a genuine purpose as the dirt covered roads in Dawson churn to mud when it rains. And boy did it rain! So hard in...Read more

My First Time … Watching 'Pet Sematary'
Decider, September 14th

1:47: This wins the award for Best Movie Prop Ever. The Creeds just moved from Chicago to Maine into this big, new house and a cemetery for pets looms behind their house. It's spelled the way it's spelled because a bunch of kids are the ones who put...Read more

Webinar to Discuss How SCI-FI Concept Became Movie Prop Reality in Less ...
ThomasNet News (press release) (blog), September 12th

"The movie prop and controller presented a unique challenge by needing to not only look like some sort of futuristic device, but it also needed to function like one," said Mike North of North Design Labs. "With only a couple weeks to take a concept to...Read more

Sci-fi Concept Becomes Movie Prop reality in Less Than 2 Weeks
ENGINEERING.com, September 10th

What do you do when you need a highly detailed and fully functional 3D printed movie prop in a hurry? You look for experts in 3D printing and additive manufacturing, of course. The 3D printing and digital manufacturing experts at FATHOM were contacted ...Read more

William Shatner's Halloween Horror Nights debut, sort of
Orlando Business Journal (blog), September 9th

Michael Myers of the Halloween movie franchise will join the cast of Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights 24. The mask is based on the original movie prop, which is actually a Captain Kirk mask. Jim Carchidi: Photojournalist- Orlando Business ...Read more

Pacific Rim Prop Auction has Mites
Technabob (blog), September 5th

If you are a fan of Pacific Rim, you will want to check out this movie prop auction going on. A site called Prop Store has nearly 200 props and costumes from the film that are all being auction off and some of them are super cool. The highlight of the...Read more

Own your own Back to the Future Hoverboard thanks to Vue Entertainment ...
Licensing.biz, September 5th

Hoverboard from Back to the Future, Captain Kirk's costume and Alien flamethrower all up for auction. London's Prop Store and Vue Entertainment International are to launch their first live auction featuring iconic movie props such as Marty McFly's...Read more

Infographic: The 33 Most Expensive Movie Props
Paste Magazine, September 4th

How much money are fans willing to part with for the chance to own a movie prop? Lots, it seems. Joe MacFarland, writer at the eBay Stories blog, put together this infographic featuring the 33 costliest movie props. The purchases start with the Super...Read more