The history of clapperboards: “Superman”

Whilst not an exhaustive guide here is a smattering of my research done on Superman clapperboards last year. Some of the pictures are taken from behind the scenes footage and some from books and other research material

Here is a tiny board used for closeup work of Marlon Brando from Superman filmed in 1977.

A board with Richard Donners full name and Geoff Unsworth displayed marked Test 82. Superman had a great many costume and makeup tests done for the film.

An early test board from 7th April with black and white grade on side

This board would probably have another production under the tape. This was for a flight test.

So many tests were done that people started getting frustrated. This one has 2nd unit info on it.

6th May 1977 interior shot test 83 board. Another possible earlier production board that could have been any movie made before “Superman”

An actual production slate on a monitor marked 9-5-78 that is behind a Matt painting used to allow Chris Reeve to repair a train track with his body.

The original traveling Matt board sold at Propstore last year. The reverse was marked Superman 2 which was almost work thru. The reason is not clear but we can guess because Superman 2 was filmed at the same time so perhaps the board was made to flip for sequences in the Main standing sets (daily planet and Fortress of solitude) and this not require two boards to be held during filming.

A beautiful shot on set of yet another board being used for Matt shots with the two stars of the film.


John Mollo costume designer has died…but no one told me. A retrospective look back at a costuming genius

After I had read Brandon Alinger’s book on costumes made for the Star Wars trilogy I received for Christmas I sat back and thought about what the great talent meant to me as a child.

His costumes adorned all my action figures and fancy dress costumes. His talent was the visual mark that the trilogy, when my mind wandered too it later in life meant more to me than strangely the actors.

It wasn’t Luke’s face I remembered it was that Hoth hat…Leias Bousch disguise….Hans red dotted pant leg etc.

It sounds crazy to me that It took so long to understand but I think sitting here now I realize that’s where my love of costume originated. His work and his Crew..the detail they installed was what made me fall in love with fashion even though I have little fashion sense of my own.

It comforts me that I now know that and more so that I can write this like so many others have and say thank you to his memory.

I never knew this man but to me he was a genius and will always be remembered like so many others that have meant so much to us all.

Stan Winston, Ron Thornton, Kit West, Carlo Rambaldi, Derek Meddings, Ken True…and so many others when I see their work in visual FX, costume or makeup I’m saddened I can’t tell them how much their workday meant to me which to them must have seemed so normal and yet made our dreams come true and our lives richer for it.

Thank you all very much for your hard work. We miss you very much. Spider-Man costume auction ends in 13 hours.

Well this is going to be a neck and neck race at the end. The auction will extend 1 minute each bid giving the winner and loser time to decide if they want to let this piece of cinematic history leave their opportunity to own.

The costume (without webshooters) is probably the best piece from modern movies to have been available at auction this year and the bidding has been slow but steady. I expect the end to be very different. Here are the current stats.

Screenbid does a great job with their auctions and 2018 has some big announcements for them very soon.

Make mine Marvel! Excelsior!

Screenbid Spider-Man auction

The history of 90’s props as told by James Latta part 2

Part 2 of interviews and questions put to with Jim on his time at Icons prop replicas, assisting Planet Hollywood with their collection and buying props in LA in the early 90’s.

It’s interesting what is said about American rental facilities as exactly the same thing happened in the UK in the 90’s talking to various collectors and business owners.

Food for thought here and certainly worth bringing to peoples attention.

The history of 90’s props as recounted by James Latta (part 1)

This is a reprint of material taken from the archival mind of James Latta, prop historian and collector.

James has a checkered history having been involved with icons prop replicas which went bankrupt due to a multitude of different reasons BUT he was a witness to so many prop related events in the 90’s that hearing his stories will be a major bookend for historians of the future. When in 2012 he showed up on the replica prop forum I had a chance to ask him about several prop finds during the start of my career in collecting small items but I had also heard many stories. James was able to fill in many gaps.

Now like all stories I’m sure there may be some fluff here but generally I believe that what you read here is not only accurate but also kind of troubling. I’ll let those stories run through your brain and hopefully some of these will significantly alter most collectors misconception of the 90’s.

“I asked Jim about the costumes shown by him and roger in 95 at a large convention in Pasadena I attended which was wall to wall Galactica and buck Rogers.”

Jim continued after my comments

Part 2 coming soon

“The dark tower” vip auction prop pistols

I was very excited recently to win the two pistols in the vip movie auction on eBay. After following up with the propmaster I can confirm that the guns went thru many variations and indeed some were even filmed and then the color changed with cgi midway thru production.

It was also decided during filming that the guns would not light up blue on the sides during shorting Which remained in the trailers but was removed from the final film as can be seen below.

It was also brought up during the sale that some of the guns were labeled as replicas. Having talked to several crew members I can confirm this term originated from the person making them and was a term donating they were rubber/resin and not metal versions. They were still production made and used.