I've got SOME BALLS!!!

Prop Runner

Sr Member
Hopefully some of you guys MUST have seen these before: Alec Baldwin's brass balls from the star-studded David Mamet film Glengarry Glen Ross:

[image]http://www.wackychimp.com/uploads/baldwin_balls_composite.JPG[/image]

He's a foul-mouthed regional manager who is brought into a local real estate office to motivate and threaten a bunch of salesmen who've been in a severe slump, played with gusto by Ed Harris, Jack Lemmon, R.I.P., and Alan Arkin. Al Pacino plays the local office's star salesman, and most of the movie he's in a bar working a potential buyer, played by Jonathan Pryce (Brazil). Kevin Spacey plays the office manager and Alec Baldwin's scene is only a 10-minute cameo, but it's his most amazing career performance, he delivers the most scathingly offensive monologue I've ever heard in any film. He must have uttered the word "f-uck" at least 20 times without stopping for breath (move over, Scarface. ;) ). In fact, the center-top headhot of Baldwin catches him in "mid F." :lol He's brilliant in the role, and the ONLY prop in this long, talk-filled movie is the pair of dangling brass balls he pulls out of his open briefcase to demonstrate to the group "what it takes to succeed."

By the way, my ex-girlfriend just told me that last Saturday on SNL Alec Baldwin hosted the show and he parodied himself in Glengarry Glen Rross as a giant elf brought in to motivate the other elves to "always be cobbling." :lol Apparently he also had a pair of brass balls and a giant gumdrop with him...

Did anyone catch or record this sketch? Gotta love the timing. Now I have to look for reruns. :p

So... because I just HAD to have an extra pair (everyone here knows I've already got brass ones :D ), I set out to not only replicate the balls, but to design an attractive, original, and functional display to compliment them. The project began with my virtual model for a replica display concept:

[image]http://www.wackychimp.com/uploads/brass_balls_assy_rev_2_front.JPG[/image]

The first proof-of-concept prototype looked less than stellar, but it was made to see if the base and hanging rod kept the heavy balls stable, and for purposes of designing the box packaging:

[image]http://www.wackychimp.com/uploads/proto_10_s.JPG[/image]

This week, the same day I got my screen-used DUNE Pain Box hero prop, the production prototype of the brass balls display set came by courier from my vendor:

[image]http://www.wackychimp.com/uploads/IMG_1912s.JPG[/image] [image]http://www.wackychimp.com/uploads/IMG_1911s.JPG[/image]

[image]http://www.wackychimp.com/uploads/IMG_1914s.JPG[/image] [image]http://www.wackychimp.com/uploads/IMG_1917s.JPG[/image]

[image]http://www.wackychimp.com/uploads/IMG_1916s.JPG[/image]

The brass balls and hanging rod turned out fantastic.. Those things are HEAVY... And because they're yellow brass, I had to have them made outside California, adding to the cost, curse our damn, wonderful environmental laws. :rolleyes I'm actually unsure what wood my vendor used for the base. :lol (let me get back to you on that...) But I think it's a nice grain and color, don't you? Or would a rose wood or cherry wood base look more "executive?" The base has a black felt lining (even though I asked for green or red - what do you guys thing it should be?) I added the color printout as a stand-in for the proposed photo plaque, which is still being developed. I liked the results so much that I decided to have the display copyrighted as an art sculpture - my first-ever copyright. :D

I've also designed several brass plaques with different phrases for those who'd want to display the set as a novelty rather than a movie prop replica. The text will be etched and black-oxide filled. These are my top three phrase choices:

[image]http://www.wackychimp.com/uploads/plaques_1_2_3_samples.JPG[/image]

By the way: "A-B-C: ALWAYS BE CLOSING" is one of Baldwin's lines in the movie (see above photos). I welcome additional plaque phrase ideas. :) One of my buddies here to whom I already showed these suggested "COFFEE IS FOR CLOSERS" :lol (movie reference - watch it and you'll understand).

The photo plaque will be polished aluminum or brass with the image printed directly on the metal and clear coated, leaving a small border of polished metal. Aluminum goes better with the image, but brass obviously suits the rod and balls more, so I'd appreciate your feedback on which to use.

I also had to design a template fixture for applying the different plaques to the base in order to keep them all centered and parallel. That's still on the drawing board, and will be my final project expense.

I'm not taking orders yet, because I was hoping to get some feedback and constructive criticism before signing off on the prototype. For instance, here's an alternative base with a trapezoidal footprint:



The trapezoid footprint would lend a little more stability to the display, as the balls have a slight tendancy to tilt the center of gravity forward. As they are now with the rectanbgular footprint base, unless you start swinging them from the hanging rod, the display is still quite stable. The trapezoid may also look more stylish than the rectangular footprint, so I wanted to run it by you guys because I respect your aesthetic judgment. My thinking on the trapezoid shape was that it looks like a grand staircase in a throne room, leading up to the Big Brass Cajones... :D Please comment freely on your prefered base shape.

Anyway, Just wanted to show off my latest project and see what kind of feedback I can get. If you'd like to get on an interest list, please e-mail me at proprunner@aol.com (my PM box is nearly full and I'm going to be out most of the weekend). Should I get enough names, I'll start a separate interest thread in the Junkyard.

Thanks for looking. B)


- Gabe
 

ed-209

Sr Member
Hey Gabe....
Here's some company selling a set.
But I like YOUR balls better.....
Wait...what did I just say...???
Oh well, shows I've got 'em to make such a posting.... LOL
ED

 

Lupus Yonderboy

Well-Known Member
First of all, brilliant idea.
Haven't actually seen the movie but from your description, I'll have to :lol
Once you're up and running, I'd definitely be interested.

Some feedback:
- I don't think the black felt is a bad idea.
- IMHO, the alternative trapezoidal base looks better.
- I'd be interested in one without a plaque as well...

Keep up the good work.

Cheers,
Pontus
 

Montagar

Legendary Member
Community Staff
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Alec Baldwin was also the "Schweaty" balls guy on a Saturday Night Live skit... a mere coincedence? I think not... :lol


George: "When I talk to the police I get nervous."
Ricky: "Yes. You know who doesn't?"
George: "Who?"
Ricky: "Thieves."
 

E2K13

New Member
Oh man. I was sooo waiting for someone to put together a set of these.
I like the Trapazoidal Base as well.
You might want to also add the optional plaque:

"This is what it takes to sell Real Estate"

Being a Mortgage Broker, that movie is one of my all time favorites.

(Ricky Roma) "Ever take a dump that made you feel like you slept for 12 hours?"
 

mez7

Sr Member
Originally posted by Lupus Yonderboy@Dec 17 2005, 12:02 AM
Haven't actually seen the movie but from your description, I'll have to :lol
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see this movie, its brilliant,

great prop, like it alot
 

Prop Runner

Sr Member
:lol

Thanks a lot, guys. I'm deeply moved by both your subject recognition and comments. I see I've touched a few hard-core GGGR fans. :D

Of course, anyone who hasn't seen the classic Schweddy Balls sketch owes it to himself to either rent it or stalk their cable/satellite guide for reruns. Another great play-on-words sketch is the "Cork Soaker" sketch with Janet Jackson from last year - had me in tears. :D

Please keep both the movie quotes coming and and constructive criticism - I want this to be PERRRRRRFECT.

Thanks for bustin' my balls. :lol

- Gabe
 

Montagar

Legendary Member
Community Staff
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Originally posted by Prop Runner@Dec 16 2005, 11:50 PM
Thanks a lot, guys.  I'm deeply moved by both your subject recognition and comments.  I see I've touched a few hard-core GGGR fans. :D
Well, for me anyway, it's because it is such a non-Hollywood movie; by that I mean, very dialog intensive (a real rarity), no special effects, no car chases, no explosions, no violence (although very intense), no contrived romances, no product placements, no lone superstar actor to focus on and detract from the plot... etc, etc, etc. I guess I could go on all day, but you get the point. :D
 

Feraud

Sr Member
Holy crap. That is a truly hilarious and wonderful prop. I have wanted a set of brass balls since I first saw the film. :D

I think the trapezoid base is perfect. The raised back presents whatever info in on the base towards the viewer. The wood looks good. My personal preference on the plaque would be, "A B C Always Be Closing".


Call me very interested..
 

KarlBud420

Well-Known Member
Originally posted by Montagar+Dec 17 2005, 10:12 AM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Montagar @ Dec 17 2005, 10:12 AM)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Prop Runner
@Dec 16 2005, 11:50 PM
Thanks a lot, guys.  I'm deeply moved by both your subject recognition and comments.  I see I've touched a few hard-core GGGR fans. :D
Well, for me anyway, it's because it is such a non-Hollywood movie; by that I mean, very dialog intensive (a real rarity), no special effects, no car chases, no explosions, no violence (although very intense), no contrived romances, no product placements, no lone superstar actor to focus on and detract from the plot... etc, etc, etc. I guess I could go on all day, but you get the point. :D
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Mainly because Mamet is a playwright by trade. Have you seen any of his other flicks?

If not, immediately check out Heist and Spartan. Heist was only written by him, but Spartan was written and directed by Mamet. Top-notch dialogue and acting, and the ever present double/triple/quadruple double cross. They are both Saturday afternoon favs when nothing else sounds interesting.

Great replica Gabe. As far as my opinions on what you originally were asking:

I think rose/cherry wood is preferred as that has more of an "Executive" feel to me personally. That was the wood I chose to frame my degree and I've never regretted picking it.

For the felt, I'm not sure why, but I prefer green...maybe just 4 little felt circles in the corners instead of having the entire bottom covered in felt?

As far as the plaque is concerned, I'm in favor of the movie logo/artwork like that which is already on the prototype. It would make it easier for guests browsing the collection to know what it is instead of having to explain it to them. That leaves more time to discuss the movie and why they should see it straight away.

edit: as far as the base is concerned, more stable is better, therfore the trapezoid.

Respectfully,
Bruce
 

KevVader

Sr Member
I agree with all of Bruce's points above...except that I'd prefer the "What It Takes To Succeed" plaque....I'll know what it means even if guests don't... :D
 
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