Tag Archives: automobile

In Memoriam, 2015

As the year draws to a close, I wanted to remember some of the people who have passed away in 2015. These are either people who work in our industry or do work closely related to our own. If I have missed anyone, let me know.

Eddie Aiona, props master for Clint Eastwood, died at 83. Aiona first worked with Eastwood on Magnum Force (1973), and propped all his films until retiring after The Bridges of Madison County in 1995. He also propped films for directors like Martin Scorsese, Sydney Pollack, John Carpenter and Robert Redford.

Blaine Gibson, sculptor of figures in Disney Parks, died at 97. Gibson sculpted hundreds of the figures used for Disney’s Audio-Animatronics, including the first one, Abraham Lincoln. His work also included characters in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the Haunted Mansion, and It’s a Small World.

George Barris, Batmobile Creator, died at 89. Barris worked on some of the most iconic cars in Hollywood, including the aforementioned Batmobile from the 1960s Batman with Adam West . He also built the Munster’s Koach and worked on cars for Knight RiderMannix and North by Northwest.

Mark Gill, Macy’s Parade Studio, 32. Mark was a props carpenter at Julliard before leaving to work on the floats for the Macy’s Parade. His wife was in props as well, working as the props master at NYU while I was at the Public Theater (and just a few blocks over). Both of them attended the inaugural NYC Props Summit in 2009. His death was far too soon, and he will be missed greatly.

The attendees of the 2009 New York City Props Summit
The attendees of the 2009 New York City Props Summit

Friday Prop-pourri

It has been a busy week. I taught the second of my master classes at Elon University, and I am preparing for a big workshop I am teaching tomorrow. I have also finished going through the proofs for my book yesterday; with those submitted, the book is basically on its way to the printers. Just think, in a few short months, it will be in bookstores! Here are some sites from around the Internet for you to peruse and enjoy:

The LA Times has a profile of George Barris, who has been making custom cars for film and television for over 70 years. The Batmobile from the original television series and the Munsters’ car are both his.

This giant collection of vintage hotel luggage tags should help supply you for years to come.

I may have mentioned an upcoming book called The Furniture of Necessity before; it’s a look at the major archetypes of furniture used by regular people throughout the centuries, as opposed to the highly-designed stuff used by aristocrats. It promises to be a great reference for period prop design. Christopher Schwartz has an update on that book in his blog, but that’s not the interesting part. His latest post also features photographs of almost 50 variations of a 6-board chest. This style of chest was popular in working-class European households from the 9th century through at least the 17th century, and again in American households from the 1600s on up to the present. In other words, this page is great research for a prop that can appear in a vast range of period plays.

Scenic charge Lisa Lazar from Berkeley Rep shows off her “bikini-wax” method for removing old paint without dust or chemicals.

This is a fairly fantastic behind-the-scenes look at the original Robocop (1987) film. Watch Peter Weller as he talks about putting his costume on; he’s a very eloquent (and funny) guy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=4_1K2GvCyvY