Tag Archives: television

Super Fun Link Time

Creative England interviews props master Michael Betts. He worked on a number of television and film projects over in the UK, most notably the entire run of A Touch of Frost, which aired for nearly twenty years. He talks about his career and gives advice to young props people starting out. For those of us in the US, their studio system seems vastly different from what we are used to, and the comparison is quite fascinating.

“Super-Fan Builds” follows prop maker Tim Baker as he leads a team of builders who constructs one-of-a-kind items for the homes of superfans. His latest is a doghouse modeled after the house from Up, complete with floating balloons.

For a bit of fun, see how well you do in this quiz to match the sofa to the sitcom. It is interesting to see set photos of well-known sitcoms sans actors, so you can really focus on the design and selection of all the props and set dressing.

Finally, we have two stories on houses lost in time and preserved until the present. The first is this great series of photographs on the “Cloud House”, a Welsh farmhouse which has been abandoned for years and contains trinkets and artifacts from decades past. The second is this 1950s kitchen which has been pristinely preserved all these years without any updates or modifications.

Rick Ladomade

Interview with Rick Ladomade

The following is one of several interviews conducted by students of Ron DeMarco’s properties class at Emerson College.

Rick Ladomade: The real ‘Modern Family’ man.

By Georgia Foor

Rick Ladomade
Rick Ladomade

When first getting assigned Rick Ladomade, I was excited and nervous all the same time. I’d seen him in videos, and his work all throughout TV and Films. His work stretches from commercials and films such as Sinatra, Rising Sun, and In an Instant, to TV series such as ER, Miami Medical, Hawthorne, Twisted, and Modern Family. I honestly didn’t think I was even going to get a response, but I emailed him anyway. To my surprise, Rick is one of the kindest, most helpful people I’ve ever encountered. Who else would email a complete stranger, much less a college student, back for a class assignment? Only Rick would email me back within a day or two, every time. He was truly wonderful to talk to, and a great introspect into the world of props in film and television. Continue reading

First Links of 2014

Welcome back, everyone! I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday and are ready for the new year. You may have noticed this site has a brand new look. I am still working out all the bugs and kinks, but all of the articles and information are still there. So feel free to check it all out, and check out the following links as well:

If you are a fan of the show Parks and Recreation, you may enjoy this oral history of the “Cones of Dunshire” board game which appeared a few episodes ago. The prop department worked with the game makers of “Settlers of Catan” to come up with this delightfully-complex (but unfortunately fictional) game.

Do you like the movie Alien? Here is a collection of behind-the-scenes footage from Alien compiled from dozens of bits of home movies. This isn’t the slick and sterile footage intended for a DVD featurette; this is just raw footage shot for personal use and which hasn’t really been seen until today.

Stephen Magazine recently did an article on the Theatre Calgary props warehouse.  They talked with props master Lillian Messer who showed off their well-stocked inventory and explained where they find their pieces.

Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde makes delightful hand-drawn floor plans of apartments from television shows and films. See the furniture arrangement in Monica’s apartment from Friends, or how the rooms are connected in Frasier’s grand apartment. Even the smallest TV apartment is far more spacious than any I have ever lived in.

A Television Hero: The Property Man, 1949

The following article first appeared in The New York Times on April 3, 1949.

A Television Hero: The Property Man

by Arthur Altschul

The property department, always an essential element of the theatre, is becoming equally important in television production. During the years of radio, the responsibility for creating an illusion of reality rested with the sound effects department. Now the principal headaches of manufacturing veracity for video belong to the property man.

An indication of the expanding importance of the property department is seen in a few statistics. Last week, for example, NBC had to produce more than 3,000 props for forty-eight television shows. A year ago the same network found its demand for props approximately 5 per cent of what it is today.

Variety shows, dramatic shows, and children’s programs-in that order- take up most of the time of the station’s property man, who every day is in touch with an assortment of museums, antique stores, prop shops, furniture and department stores, factories and zoos, tracking down the more elusive objects required for a show.

Hours of exhausting search culminate in the effect which an audience takes as a matter of course. The type of work and problems that beset a station’s property department are evidenced in the following excerpts from the property sheet for one of Milton Berle’s recent “Texaco Star Theatre” shows: Continue reading

Friday Rehearsal Report

In case you missed it, Backstage Jobs has changed its name to OffStage Jobs. Same great site, new title and address.

Ray Harryhausen, special effects pioneer, passed this week. StarWars.com has a great tribute to him, talking about his influence on the movie industry. I posted a great video interview of Harryhausen a while back, too.

Over at Tested, Harrison Krix has a tutorial on some pretty advanced mold making for props. It’s actually part 8 of a series on prop making, all of which is heavily photographed and well documented.

I like this show, so I really liked this slide show of 10 odd items from the New Girl set. But even if you’re not a fan, the explanations of how they dress sets and locate props on a TV show are very insightful.

This next one is only marginally prop related, but it’s about Iron Man, a movie that has cool props and whose hero is kind of like a prop maker. Scientists look at the Iron Man suit and debate which aspects are possible with our technology.