The following is the thirdÂ part of a 1920 article on David Belascoâ€™s property collection. The first partÂ and second part were published earlier:
Oddities From the Orient
by Frank Vreeland
Near a Mexican guitar used in “The Rose of the Rancho” and a moon harp played in “The Darling of the Gods” hangs a pair of Chinese torture pliers which were originally intended for use in “The Son-Daughter” and which look like a pair of exaggerated lemon squeezers. Buddhist bronzes and Japanese tea sets of valuable teak wood are mingled with Oriental steel mirrors bought in a New York department store. Beneath a large part of the ceiling spreads the spokes of a large wheel from a loom that is 150 years old and casts its shadow on a set of telephone books from “The Woman,” which Property Chief Purcell remarks drily “are being kept as a souvenir of the day when you could get your call.
“And besides,” he adds with a twinkle, “they’ll be handy if the ghost of one of the men in the cast who died wants to look up a number.”
The room is especially prolific in swords. A bushel of them are rammed into a high vase in one corner, and the room sprouts them elsewhereâ€”Roman swords, old English sabres, heavy five foot blades swung in the Crusades, and an ancient English executioner’s axe, which Mr. Purcell exhibited as a very efficient means of promoting the acquaintance of ancestors with their descendants.
A cabinet with one of the most interesting arrays in the whole exhibitionâ€”which is ticketed and catalogued, by the wayâ€”is that containing the bed quilts of the epoch when they used the bed warmers on view in one corner and didn’t depend on the janitor for heat. There are comforters and counterpanes with the sort of zigzag designs and chromatic convulsions that would warm a cubist’s heart, let alone his feet. Some of them are beautiful even from a modern standpoint, however, and those that are ugly are none the less valuable, like the Paisley shawls, of which Mr. Belasco has his fair share. Many of these coverlets were bought by Mr. Belasco without any intention of applying them to the A. H. Woods kind of production, simply being purchased as part of the entire contents of Gen. Braddock’s house in Washington, which Mr. Belasco snapped up as part of his unending campaign to equip himself with a full line of antiques.
Original Publication:Â Vreeland, Frank. â€œBelascoâ€™s Property Room Houses Antique Gems.â€ The Sun and New York Herald 1 Feb. 1920, Sunday Magazine Section sec.: 7. Print.
This is from a few years ago, but it has everything you need to know about Blood for Film. Okay, maybe notÂ everything, but it has a ton of information, a break-down of helpful ingredients, and a couple sample recipes for different types of fake blood.
Here’s something everyone will like: a history of masking tape. I’m sure all of you have looked at masking tape and wondered who invented it, and why. It was Richard Drew, and he wanted a tape to mask paint.
Tested stops by Frank Ippolito’s shop to see how he madeÂ sci-fi armor based off of a video game. This eight-and-a-half minute video shows how he tookÂ the 3D models in the game and turned them into patterns to cut out of foam sheets, followed by lots of gluing and painting.
Do you like making your own tools for your shop? Because Homemade Tools isÂ filled withÂ instructions and plans for a whole assortment of tools and jugs you can make yourself.
Anyone who reads this blogÂ (or really, any blog about props)Â probably recognizesÂ the name of Bill Doran. You’ve either marveled at his prop work over at Punished Props, watched his how-to videos, or followed his live chats with other prop makers.
One thing you pick up about him is how much he loves teaching and demonstrating everything he learns. Not only is he an enthusiastic teacher, but his knowledge comes tested from building countless costumes for numerous conventions, andÂ regularly talking with other cosplayers. It’s a great recipe for making a book, and a book is exactly what he made.
Foamsmith is all about building a suit of armor out of EVA foam. He began with a series of e-books on different foamsmithing techniques, and has now collected them into a single print volume. Even if you’ve never worked with foam before, you can have a full suit of armor builtÂ by the time you’re done with this book.
The book is gorgeous. Full color pictures and easy-to-read layouts meet you on every page. Websites and e-books are certainly a great resource for learning how to make things, but there’s something about a physical book that makes the information so clear and accessible. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the words and pictures suddenly disappearing like when a website goes down.
Doran covers the basics, fromÂ patterning, cutting and shaping your foam, toÂ carving, texturing and adding other details. He delves a lot into the specifics of wearing a full suit of armor, like designing it to be easy to take on and off, adding pockets to hide your cell phone, and making sure you can go to the bathroom while wearing it.
Even if you never intend to walk around a convention in a suit of sci-fi armor, this book still has a lot to offer. EVA foam is a wonderful material to build many things out of, and DoranÂ has lots of specific tips and tricks for getting the most out of it. HeÂ has built entire props just from foam; I’ve used it for puppet-making in the past as well. His instructions on sealing and painting the foam are very useful, and his chapter on LEDs and wiring are helpful even if you are not working with foam at all.
If you’ve ever watched Doran’s videos, you know he has a cheeky sense of humor, and his personality is all over the book as well. You get the sense that this is a lot of fun for him, and he wants to share everything he knows with us so we can have fun too. It’s not distracting though; his instructions are clear, and he does a wonderful job of matching photographs to his text to further reinforce what he is describing.
I wish he had a few more photographs of his completed projects. He has a few, and I know you can find them online, but it would be nice for the book to show the culmination of his processes. The tutorials throughout the book show bits and pieces of some of the suits he built, and you just think, “wow, that little wrist gauntlet looks awesome, I wonder what the whole costume looked like?”
There are very few Bill Dorans in the world, and it is exciting to see him put his experience into book form. Prop making and cosplay still suffer from a lack of books and learning materials, so I’m glad to see more people contributing to this vast field.
Hi everyone. If you noticed a lack of posts this week, it was because I was in tech for our second show of the season at Triad Stage. And I bought a house and moved. And I have a newborn. But there’s still some cool props stuff this week:
New York Theatre Workshop has transformed its space for a unique production ofÂ Scenes From a Marriage. The New York Times is on the story of how directorÂ Ivo van Hove and his production designerÂ Jan Versweyveld chopped the space into three rooms that audiences wander through in the first act, and then return to an amphitheaterÂ after intermission. Crazy. If those names sound familiar, it’s because I made a fake dead lamb for a previous production that van Hove and Versweyveld did at NYTW.