It’s that time of year again where everyone gets together, grills hot dogs, and tries to blow everything up but their hands.
This year July 4th falls on an awkward day, Thursday. That means some people, with their hands hopefully completely still intact, have to get back on the production wagon the Friday after festivities.
As is our custom we’ve asked so you don’t have to. So without further ado (and even fewer explosion jokes related to limb safety) here is our list of prop houses who will have their doors open for you this Friday, July 5th:
How would Kramer in a Seinfeld episode ever be able to make one of those crazy entrances into Seinfeld’s room without a doorknob? How would Jamie Lee Curtis ever be able to lock that window to keep that horror film bad guy out of the house if it wasn’t for window lock? And what would Scrooge talk to if there was no door knocker to change into his old colleague Marley’s face?
What is Hardware? Also referred to as builders hardware, hardware is made up of metal products that most of us take for granted every day. They are used in our homes and other commercial buildings, everywhere really. Every latch, doorknob, hinge, cabinet handle, and door knocker helps to tell the story and add the final touch to a space. As you can imagine there are a large variety of styles, shapes, sizes and metal types used for hardware. Depending on the time period, location, and even the character who lives in a space, the hardware chosen can be drastically different.
The real question is, where does one get the right hardware and how do you know it’s the right hardware? There are quite a few spots of course, but today I wanted to chat about the Hardware Department at Warner Bros run by Mike Hollis.
He has been a guiding hand and curator for the past 35 years, staying on top of the art and the history of hardware. You can find his latest location downstairs under the Prop Department on the Warner Bros lot. He can help you through not just the history, making life easier with their great selection. Why don’t you zip down and take a look, and tell Mike we said hi!
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We open to our protagonist working (sort of) on her laptop in the evening with a glass of wine in hand. Suddenly her cell phone rings.
It’s her boss, there’s a big scoop, and she needs to get to the office ASAP, preferably an hour ago!
We finally get to the office where a security guard is sitting inside the entrance at his computer. They wave familiarly to each other as he buzzes her in and our character walks from this quiet first room to a large, open office buzzing with activity; landline phones, cell phones, monitors and television screens abound. It’s going to be a long work night.
The most common kinds of productions take place, more or less, in the here and now. The latest cell phones, laptops and television screens (to name just a few things) need to be present to set the scene. Sometimes the simplest of items can be hard to track down quickly and affordably, especially when you are talking about current technologies with current technology costs (I’m looking at YOU iPhone X).
On top of that, sometimes behind the camera a production needs current technologies. Wifi boxes (MiFis, hotspots), laptops, cell phones and more need to be available for a crew that doesn’t have those items themselves. Where do you rent modern technology, especially WORKING modern technology?!? Oh that’s right, Debbies Book can help with that.
Cell phones, cell phone plans (temporary and long term), laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots and routers. Airwaves is one of the two gotos for working, handheld and modern tech. They also carry laptops, smartwatches and more. Whether it’s for in front of the camera or behind they can get it to you.
Looking for some Blackberry’s, or perhaps some flip phones or at least phones with keypads? When it comes to “not new” cell phones LCW has you covered. Computer monitors, computers (from Ataris to more modern desktop towers), servers are available. They are also a great resource for the seemingly always needed “tech bench” with monitors and computers attached.
From PDAs, CRT Monitors and “folding computer pocket organizer” resource to futuristic faux technology with moving and blinking lights that do whatever you need them to. Modern Props is the go to for those and everything in-between. Check out their website and their new location!
What better place to get electronics than from a place that has been purposefully collecting and repairing them for decades? RJR Props, located in Atlanta, is an electronic repair company turned prop house. From servers to computers and more they’re a great resources, especially for the South and East Coast.
The Hand Prop Room
Cell phones, televisions, radios and office equipment, many rigged for production. They aren’t called the Hand Prop Room for nothing!
Wireless for All
Cell phones, Go Pros, tablets, screen protectors, accessories, plans and more. If it needs to be modern and working, they will work with you. On top of what they have in their inventory, they repair items too. Specializing in screen repairs, they can make that cell phone look like you never dropped your glass water bottle on it.
Woody’s Electrical Props
Need wallmounted computer panels, levers, servers, and more? Woody’s has been providing Control Panels and Consoles for years. Modern Industrial, Antique Industrial, Mission Control, Air Tower, Computer Room, Military and Fantasy Sets have all included Woody’s creations.
Honorable Mentions: Omega/CP Two – Rooms of tech, both working and non-practical. Give them a call, they’ve got it most likely. Sony Prop House (Off Lot) – Computers, gadgets and more from over the decades. Universal Studios Property – Laptops of various decades, gaming consoles, desktop computers, monitors and more. Warner Bros Property – Old school floppy drives to modern laptops and desktops. They even have laptop cases!
There ain’t no rest for the wicked, and apparently many prop houses too, for the coming Monday before the 4th of July!
For specific prop houses, check out the list below. All of the following will be open for at least partial hours starting in the morning:
For a longer list of prop houses on Debbies Book, you can check it out here:
May everyone have a fantastic 4th of July! Specifically for those lucky few where it’s an option, may you enjoy your four day weekend!
As American as John Wayne and Apple Pie. It can be as over the top fantastical as the Wild Wild West (steampunk anyone?!?) or as gritty as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
There are countless productions that need the look of the Untamed West, from your run-of-the-mill Western to a contemporary but remote Mexican village. But what prop houses do you get these items from, and where can you film them?
Caravan West Productions
The absolute go-to for Western Dressing. From hand props like straight razers, whiskey flasks, and authentic Native American items including pottery, tomahawks, beadwork to a full blown Western filming location within the Los Angeles studio zone that includes an old barn, a 19th century house and mining shacks. Period weaponry to fit the times, wardrobe, animal skins and all manner of other dressing are at your fingertips in their inventory as well.
Omega/Cinema Props, CP Valley & CP Two
Western barrels, horse troughs, water pumps, cast iron stoves, Western tools and oil lanterns. For decades Omega has been collecting props to fulfill production needs, and Westerns are certainly one of them. Call them up to find out what location you need to swing by to cover your needs.
A prop house that specializes in horror and dark themed props has Western Dressing? You betcha. Apothecary props, rattlesnake props, animal and animal bone props, gallows and more are available at Dapper Cadaver. Servicing the Haunted House circuit for years has encouraged them to amass many Western items to cover your needs.
Jackson Shrub Supply
Split rail fence, wagon wheels, various cactus varieties, hitching posts and more (including wagons and the ever-important tumbleweed for rent). Part of what a Western needs is the proper foliage, fencing and more. Jackson is a proper source for it.
Green Set, Inc
Not to be outdone by another greens company, Green Set also offers the proper foliage, greens and dressing for many Western themed productions. Straw bales, carts, fiberglass barn animals (cows, buffalos, horses), and more rustic decorations. Don’t forget that prop houses including Green Set are perfect for events too!
L. A. Party Works
Mechanical bulls, cantina poker, tomahawk throwing, archery and more. If it is a Western Themed Event you are throwing you can’t go wrong reaching out to Party Works. They’ve got western themed bars, games and entertainment that is bound to lasso in a smile from the biggest curmudgeons.
Every child has had love for playgrounds. Swing sets, slides, jungle gyms, animals on springs and roundabouts (merry go rounds). There is really only one problem about playgrounds, one that never bothered kids. They’re rather permanent.
So now it’s time to dress a park, a backyard, or even a kids space at a fast food restaurant or mall. You need an impermanent but permanent looking set of rentals and playground equipment. Thankfully we’ve climbed around Los Angeles and beyond to find all kinds for you. Was it so we could pretend we were kids again or was it so we could help you out?
Why can’t it be both?
Alley Cats Studio Rentals
Jungle gyms, swing sets, teeter totters and more. They specialize in the outdoor props and how much more outdoors can you get than a playground set?
L. A. Steelcraft Products, Inc.
They have been making playground equipment for over 60 years including the usual merry-go-rounds, play barrels, arch climbers, swings and much more. If you need a variety to select from (or simply need something fabricated for a playground) LA Steelcraft has the experience, know how, and inventory.
Lennie Marvin (Prop Heaven)
An outdoor playset, spring animals and outdoor exercise bars are a part of their inventory. They also have the ever elusive ball pit balls that can often be hard to track down!
The kings of the backyard play set, Sunland Creations has it down to a science. On top of the usual suspects (swing sets and trampolines) they do the backyard play set structures the child in us always wanted. From the simplest playhouse to the two-story set ups with a tube slide, a zip line and swings attached; they’ve got you covered.
Worlds of Wow
If you need indoor playspaces dressed, Worlds of Wow is a must contact. From largescale play areas a la Chuck E Cheese and Sky Zone, to little play areas such as a church or doctors office, they have the resources and experience making it for you. 3D Climbable sculptures, themed environments for mall rest stops, toddler play areas and more are all available through these magic wielders.
Today we hit the lotto. While visiting Victor over at the Warner Bros. Drapery, Upholstery & Flooring Robert and Amy were serving up dogs and burgers to their crews and the many decorators who arrived for their end of summer bash.
I got to visit with Tara from Hollywood Studio Gallery and Set Decorating fame and other friends while Bryce was put to work serving up Root Beer Floats.
Thanks for the yummy lunch (and the sugar overload from the root beer floats)!
Nikki, the manager of the Atlanta location, was very welcoming to Ruby before showing me around their warehouse.
It was a pleasant surprise to find so many items over here. Their already large inventory has even expanded recently due to the acquisition of a recently finished project. Nikki was happy to show me around a bit.
A nice selection of dressing and hand props, including some interesting busts:
(Apparently we know where some of MacGyver is being shot at).
It’s a good space with antiques, trunks and books too:
Like any good prop house it has range as well:
All in all, Warner Bros Atlanta location is a great stop. Of course anything over in Los Angeles can be easily shipped over too!
A cowboy is racing towards a small shack on his trusty stead, being chased by God knows what. He jumps off and runs into the humble structure; the door isn’t even locked. Pulling on a seemingly random series of wooden panels on the wall a hole and staircase appear below. He presses a button in the stairwell as he descends, once again hiding the secret entrance. As we enter below the camera peels away to look around the room. Computer control panels, half completed robots, and futuristic weaponry abound.
Steampunk is a sci-fi fantasy genre often placed in a Victorian or Wild West setting. Generally it is a period setting with one minor change. Machines wilder than the imagination exist and generally work off of steam power.
It has gathered popularity over recent years, though existing for decades, becoming more and more prominent in pop culture. But where on Earth do you find a source to dress and decorate such a scene? Who has the gizmos and hand props? I’ll bet Debbies Book can help.
Sword & Stone
The craftsmen over at Sword & Stone are unparalleled when it comes to both their talent and experience with The Industry. If you need something to be crafted they have the know-how. One thing they aren’t often touted for, however, is their large inventory of items for sale (and rent too if you need to).
The Rational Past
If you need period scientific equipment these guys are a must. From industrial antiques to pocket watches, gauges and drafting equipment they’ve got you covered. They are really a great spot, I love unique businesses.
Lux Lounge EFR
It’s rare for an event company to have steampunk styles, but Lux Lounge does. Steampunk sofas, chairs, banquetes and even chandeliers. If you need a large room (or an event) filled, they’ve got you covered so you don’t lose any steam putting everything together.
A little gem in Santa Monica with quite an array of unique items. Aviation models, goggles, copper ring towers and all manner of quack medical equipment not to mention motorized gear units, control panels and tesla coils. This place was serving steampunk as rentals long before the term was really even popularized. They went under the radar for a few years but are certainly back up and running and ready for the task.
History for Hire
If it’s older than new, they’ve got it and (especially when working with period pieces) you won’t regret swinging by to find much of what you need.
One of the kings of miscellaneous, the crew over at LCW is always happy to get to you what you need. They have plenty of control panels and aerospace equipment, plus things you probably didn’t even realize you want.
N.S. Aerospace Props
Rocket parts, hydraulic hoses, flow control valves and so many other parts. They have the large assortment of parts and pieces that could make anyone drool (if they drooled over aerospace parts).
Warner Bros. Studios Property Department
Remember Wild Wild West? Guess where quite a bit of those items went? That’s right, a classic steampunk movie has some of it’s pieces right in the heart of the studio lot.