Prop Store

Would you repair this damage if it was yours?

Discussion in 'Production Made Costumes and Props' started by Buckaroo, May 14, 2012.

  1. Buckaroo

    Buckaroo New Member

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    Hey, all -- lurker coming out of hiding here. As my screen name implies, I'm a huge B.Banzai fan, and have been lucky enough to land a couple of pieces of wardrobe from the film: the Blue Blaze Irregular cap worn by Bill "Casper Lindley" Henderson throughout the movie, and the big piece: John "Emilio Lizardo" Lithgow's coat, most likely used in at least two scenes as evidenced by the tag, but I'm not as certain about the nature of its screen-use.

    It's this latter piece where the tyranny of ownership has raised its ugly head: close inspection of the coat the other day revealed some minor but enormously upsetting moth damage: in six or so places, the nap of the cloth has been eaten away in small ( < 3/16") patches, leaving the weave underneath. This despite my best efforts to prevent just such a thing. Now, it's possible that the damage was already there when I purchased the coat, and I've only just noticed it -- I had never inspected it so closely before. Still, it's pretty much ruined my week. :cry

    I've taken the coat to a dry cleaners that specializes in antique/delicate/museum textiles in case the critters are still there, and will be consulting with a conservator at the end of the month to discuss further steps. There is a process called "reweaving" that makes invisible repairs, by taking threads from hidden hems and other places and rebuilding the area -- it's fairly expensive, but the damage would almost completely disappear, so I'm considering it. However, there are a couple of divergent schools of thought on the desirability of such permanent restorations on historical artifacts, and I'm wondering if the same issues generally apply to movie memorabilia. Also, it would require getting access to hidden areas to remove replacement material, which itself would disruptive to the coat's "screen-used" state, as stiches would probably need to be pulled out and then re-sewn. So my question is: How would y'all handle this? Would you attempt a repair? I'm not so concerned about the impact on the monetary value of the coat, as I never intend to sell, rather I'm interested in preserving the value of its authenticity, if that makes any sense -- but at the same time, every time I look at the coat now, all I can see is the damage.

    Man, stuff like this completely ruins the joys of ownership.
     
  2. ursus43

    ursus43 Well-Known Member

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    DEpending on how/where you stored these, have you checked other items in the dame area? If no other pieces have damage, then the piece probably came to you in that condition. If that's the case, keep it as is.
     
  3. Art Andrews

    Art Andrews Community Owner Community Staff

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    To me, this statement answers your question right there. If you feel the coat is ruined due to this damage, then get it fixed. Why own something you are unhappy with?

    Yes, there are some collectors who think that is a mortal sin, but it is your piece so don't let anyone else tell you what you should do with it.

    If having those holes in it takes away from your enjoyment, then have it repaired.

    (y)thumbsup:thumbsup
     
  4. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member

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    I agree, it has to be something you can live with. If you don't fix it, it will bug you over and over until you do fix it. :)
     
  5. Nobby

    Nobby Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    /\ this :thumbsup
     
  6. Interceptor6

    Interceptor6 Sr Member

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    Hi Buckaroo, welcome to the RPF!
    Love to see pics of these iconic props, in "any" condition!
    Cheers, Jeff
     
  7. Guardian Devil

    Guardian Devil Sr Member

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    I've got to echo this, there's people who will be shocked at the very thought of it and people who wouldn't think twice about trying to bring it back to its former glory, but the only opinion that matters is yours.
     
  8. Wes R

    Wes R Legendary Member

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    It's your choice but if you can get it fixed I would if for no other reason than to prevent more damage. I'd also store it around some cedar chips as critters hate them. Getting it looked at to make sure whatever did the damage isn't around still is a good idea for sure.
     
  9. Buckaroo

    Buckaroo New Member

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    Thanks for the responses, everyone!


    I'll try to post some when I get home -- at least of the cap, anyway. I'll have to wait for the coat to come back from the cleaners.
     
  10. Buckaroo

    Buckaroo New Member

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    Okay y'all, here are a couple of photos. I was able to positively identify the cap in about 75% of the scenes that Bill Henderson appears in. Here it is:

    [​IMG]

    And here it is, in situ:

    [​IMG]

    And here's the tag that came with the coat (which is still at the cleaners):

    [​IMG]

    The hat I bought from Profiles in History, the coat from a private seller on ebay. Was a little apprehensive about authenticity for the coat, but figured I'd take a chance because the buy-it-now price was pretty good. Apparently it had been in a storage unit with some other props, as well -- probably should have followed up with the seller to get the whole story, but didn't. I'm satisfied it was used in production, but whether it was actually screen-used or was simply a backup I'm not sure. The cool thing about it is that it still has threads left behind from where the medals were sewn on -- I took pains to stress to the cleaners that those should remain. They understood.
     
  11. Buckaroo

    Buckaroo New Member

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    Yeah, I actually checked that, and it's the one thing that prevents me from committing seppuku over this whole business. None of the other items in the closet or the area were damaged. I put the chances about 50/50 that it occurred on my watch, so I'm trying not to beat myself up too much.
     
  12. Pandorum

    Pandorum New Member

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    interesting story. I have a similar situation with a prop from Buckaroo Banzai strangely enough. I picked up a prop yellow vest used to see the lectroids in the film from the same seller who had the lithgow coat. The paint is flaking off in places from all the years and I dont know if I want to repaint and "restore" it or keep it as is. Its been making me crazy for years!

    Another thought on your coat. Did you ever think about replicating the medals? When I was looking at the prop jacket and thinking of purchasing I was considering doing it and then finding replicas for the jacket, would make a nice display.
     
  13. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'd say that move props differ from museum style historical artifacts. Movie props primary purpose is to look a certain way and are often used as display pieces and if it looks like crap then it's function no longer exists.

    Historical artifacts are less about appearance and about the story of the item itself which is often told in the damage it's received. The damage from a poorly stored
    movie prop only tells a story of neglect instead of the cool fantasy it's supposed to represent.

    Check out Tom Spina's restorations for proof of this theory.
    Movie Prop Restoration Galleries, specializing in preservation, conservation, repair and display of foam Latex masks and costumes, movie props and television props

    That all said. 3/16s of an inch is pretty small on such a huge beefy coat and may not really affect the overall appearance in my opinion.

    Is it this coat-
    [​IMG]

    or this one-
    [​IMG]

    However, the Lectroid Resperator Vest that's flaking off like crazy needs to be restored and stabilized to prevent further damage and to look super cool on a display shelf.

    Of course these are just my opinions. :)

    Also, please post pics of your vest, Pandorum! I've always wanted to make a replica. I've got the correct Motocross chest protector but would love more pics and info on mouth piece and how it attaches.

    Nick
     
  14. Buckaroo

    Buckaroo New Member

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    Ha! I wondered who got that respirator. I almost bid on it myself, but then figured I'd spent too much on this stuff for a while. I've regretted it ever since. :facepalm Yes, I've thought plenty about finding some medals for the coat and putting together a mannequin display, or at least a (very long) shadowbox. Just one of those things I haven't gotten around to yet.

    Your thinking pretty much mirrors the rationale I came up with for how movie memorabilia differs from historical pieces. Thanks for the independent confirmation! The coat is like the one from the second picture, though I see some blemishes on the one in the photo that lead me to believe it's not mine. And yeah, the spots are small, but *I* know they're there, so my eye goes to them now instantly. :unsure
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
  15. Pandorum

    Pandorum New Member

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    Well the paint is flaking off, I dont know if I would say like crazy, and its at like 80% or more still intact so I dont want to repaint it all, should I just try and spot paint it? if it were terrible the choice would be easy. Also the vest is the one worn by Reno so the arm sling worn in the film added some of the wear I'm sure. I have a hard time messing with film used items. Its a tough one for sure.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2012
  16. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I can see a big hole in the left lapel just in the picture above. It would be safe to guess that the other holes were present as well during filming.

    It's a ratty old military surplus jacket. Like everything in that movie, it's kinda rough and worn. Lord Whorfin cares not for such vanity!

    It definitely needs the medals though a much more important aspect than a few little moth holes that were probably already there when the almighty Whorfin was wearing it.

    Nick
     
  17. poormansjb

    poormansjb Well-Known Member

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    A word of caution on "re-weaving": a couple of years back I pulled out a tux I hadn't worn in a bit and discovered a fairly prominent moth hole. I did some checking and found a re-weaver. I got an estimate but was still somewhat surprised at the final charge of roughly $150 ... even more so because the repair did not "almost completely disappear" ... in fact, it was pretty bloody obvious!

    Now, it was a common tuxedo and not a piece of movie memorabilia. Further, a tux has a comparatively clear weave to start with; there's no nap or anything to hide a repair.

    I was very disappointed with my re-weaving experience and despite the investment, wound-up buying a new tux.

    I'm not going to weigh in on whether you should or shouldn't pursue this, only advising that it didn't work for me.
     
  18. Pandorum

    Pandorum New Member

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  19. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Oh man, that's cool!

    Is the white connector piece just a PVC pipe connector?

    Nick
     
  20. Pandorum

    Pandorum New Member

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    Yeah I think so it looks like its just a found plumbing part.
     
  21. ArcLight

    ArcLight New Member

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    Cool stuff. I'm insanely jealous.
     
  22. Buckaroo

    Buckaroo New Member

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    High praise from THE ArcLight! You're famous in Blue Blaze circles, after all! *




    * In fact, I'm pretty sure we corresponded briefly back in the mid/late 90's...
     

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