Toy Story…

IMG_3940-001IMG_4078IMG_3947IMG_4084An American Toy Story
19 March – 30 October 2016

Just like the films that inspired the toys and collectables in our new exhibition, An American Toy Story promises to be a real blockbuster!

This exhibition explores the huge impact that movie-licensing had on toy production and the way we play. A collection of vintage treasures and modern classics, spanning over 100 years, is on display together for the very first time. Whether you’re a Disney princess or the next James Bond, you’re certain to find something to delight you in this show.

Exhibition highlights include;

Iconic early-twentieth-century celebrity dolls, including Charlie Chaplin and Shirley Temple
Classic movie posters
Early Disney toys, including a rare 1930s Donald Duck
A collection of vintage James Bond toys
Favourite toys from the Science-Fiction films of the 1980s
Superman costume worn by Christopher Reeve
An interactive room with dressing up and photo zone

Press Release;

This spring and summer, the major exhibition at the American Museum in Britain is An American Toy Story. It will appeal to avid cinema fans as well as families looking for an interesting day out, as it tells the story of the toys and games that inspired – and were inspired by – popular films.

As well as showcasing movie props, vintage toys, and memorabilia from various famous films – including James Bond, Star Wars, Snow White, Mickey Mouse, Frozen, and Toy Story – the exhibition will also give visitors the chance to take part in various interactive activities, a stop-motion animation zone, and the chance to dress up as film characters.

Exhibits will include well-loved toys displayed alongside mint-condition treasures from film buffs’ collections. Donald Duck and Shirley Temple dolls from the 1930s will appear alongside the ET Extra-Terrestrial video game from 1982; 1970s Early Bird Deal and Millennium Falcon toys can be contrasted with Buzz Lightyear 1996 action figures; and more recent films such as Frozen will be represented too.

Disney started early in the licencing and franchise business, but few other early film companies ventured into that arena as it was not seen as not very profitable. In 1977, there was a radical change when George Lucas struck his infamous deal with 20th Century Fox for a share of the merchandising rights for Star Wars. The money made from this deal exceeded box office takings and enabled Lucas to set up his own production company. It also heralded an era of film in which merchandise became both commonplace and also collectable.

Items on loan to the exhibition have come from a variety of sources ranging from children lending their beloved toys to serious collectors showing valuable and unusual pieces.

The exhibition will be open from 19 March – 30 October 2016 in the Exhibition Gallery.

Tuesday – Sunday, 12noon – 5pm. Gardens and café open from 10.30am.
Closed Mondays except during August and on Bank Holidays.

An inspired conception competently executed, this exhibit currently housed in The American Museum in Bath is sure to bring joy to children and a nostalgic misty eye to the parents.

SUPERMANIA was lucky enough to get these preview images of the Superman display as it was being installed, showing a very rare and complete costume from Superman IV: The Quest For Peace on loan from the V&A’s Hollywood Costume exhibit of a few years back.  Having just toured the world, this is a rare opportunity to see the only genuine Superman costume on display anywhere in the UK.  Unfortunately, the same restrictions on photography still apply and fans will also notice the cape has been re-mounted with the straps on the outside – Chief Curator Kate Hebert explains;

“I am aware that the Superman cape is mounted incorrectly. I am, alas, unable to correct this. The costume is a loan from the V&A Museum. They mounted the costume on the mannequin and we, as the borrowing institution, are not permitted to change it. I suspect that it has been mounted in this way for conservation reasons but I will contact them to confirm this…”

Regardless, set against a perfect backdrop and accompanied by arguably the greatest Superman action figure produced to date (Hot Toys) in such great surroundings this has all the makings of a memorable day out..!

 

Sold..!

DSC_3533DSC_3552DSC_3556DSC_3521-001An unprecedented success with many lots outperforming their estimates by thousands, the Propstore’s Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction made headlines across the prop world while making many a collectors dream come true.

Luckily, SUPERMANIA managed a last-minute pilgrimage to The ODEON BFI IMAX in London to photograph the Superman items on display only hours before they went live.  Below are the highlights of the Super-sales along with the astonishing prices realised –

424.  Contact Sheets – £1,100

425.  Shooting Scripts – £4,750

426.  Autographed Still – £700

427.  Underwater Tunic – £25,000

429.  Large Kryptonian Crystal – £1,700

431.  Promotional Ephemera – £1,600

432.  Autographed Stills – £700

433.  Muscle Tunic – £20,000

436.  IV Script – £350

437.  Pod Prop – £4000

As expected, the well-publicised underwater tunic (second pic) stole the show with the Muscle tunic (third pic) nipping at its shorts at only five grand less.  Less expected were the amounts achieved by some of the smaller lots, with a single autographed still of Christopher Reeve going well above estimate at £700 and a folder full of essentially promotional clippings fetching £1,600 – most of which already present in the SUPERMANIA collection.

While many of these fabulous relics of movie history will take pride of place in private collections, The Starship Pod prop (bottom pic) was bought by Stateside SuperFan and Broadcaster Jay Towers, a prominent figure in Superman collecting and vocal supporter of the classic films.  SUPERMANIA wishes Jay all the best with his his purchase and hope he enjoys it for years to come..!

Going Once…

image-0223image-0227image-0230image-0231image-0232Going under the gavel in in a matter of days and currently on display at the IMAX Odeon in London’s Waterloo, this unprecedented collection of production/screenused treasures from the series of Superman films is presented in catalogue form by Propstore here on SUPERMANIA.

High-end pieces all with estimates set to suit a modest or high budget, this gathering of production ephemera and screenused props represents the finest collection of Superman related material to hit the market since the Ilya Salkind collection was offered by Profiles in History in 2007.

Chief among the lots is the full-size Starship ruin from Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, first positively identified and documented on SUPERMANIA here and presumed lost to storage after the closure of the London Film museum in 2013.  ‘Superman’s Pod’ was obtained by Propstore and now offered in exactly the same condition as it was seen on display (then incorrectly listed as originating from Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie) and is a completely unique piece of Super-history.

Other highlights are the Cosmonaut suits (made by costumiers Bermans and Nathans) from the opening scenes of Superman IV and storyboards from Superman III.  Fans of the original movie and its sequel are catered for also by a pair of scripts and photographic contact sheets and even Supergirl is represented by a superb piece of (ultimately unused) concept art by Chris Achillieos.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bid and own these pieces starts at 2PM (GMT+1) on 23rd of September.  SUPERMANIA would like to extend an advance invitation to the lucky new owners to have their purchases showcased here along with their stories…

Wet Muscle…

image-0224image-0225image-0228image-0229Costume month draws to a close on SUPERMANIA with a preview of not one, but two magnificent lots soon coming up for auction from Propstore – the quality, provenance and likes of which that may never be seen again.

With Warner Bros. recent announcement that no further items of wardrobe from the classic Superman movies will released into the collectors market, these two immaculate pieces may well represent the best and last of their archive made available.

And quite the fascinating tales they tell.  Studio labelled throughout and complete with COA from WB, these special-effects purpose tunics offer rare insight into the considerable effort made in 1978 to convince audiences a man could fly.

Custom-made for specific scenes, the differences between what, on screen, represent exactly the same outfit in reality are marked.  Note the colour differentiation between the blues for the tunic made to not darken when soaked through to a tunic (minus shorts) tailored for flying against a front-projection screen.

Commanding appropriate reserves and going under the gavel on Sept. 23rd, these choice examples of film/comic book history form part of the astonishing collection offered in the Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction being held at the BFI IMAX in London’s Waterloo. Besides the beautifully presented catalogue (pages reproduced above), live previews of 250 treasures will be available courtesy of ODEON (dates TBA) in a museum grade exhibition…

UPDATE: Video of the lot here.

“My Attachment…”

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAimageCostume month on SUPERMANIA gains momentum with this fascinating and unique variation of the iconic outfit made especially for Margot Kidder in Richard Donner’s Superman II.

As originally scripted, the scenes between Lois Lane and Kal-El in the Fortress Of Solitude conclude with the very controversial (at the time) consummation of their relationship before the sacrifice his of powers for love.  Later, as Clark/Superman confides in his father that all he craves is the chance to live a ‘normal’ life, Lois appears wearing the Superman tunic as a nightshirt.

This particular tunic (one of three made) was specifically tailored to appear oversized for Margot from the same Bridal weight Spandex as the full costumes and was used to photograph wig tests prior to the filming (top pic).  Asked about the footage only days ago – Margot herself recalls –

“I don’t remember wearing that at all but there was a love scene and Lois wore that the next morning. I don’t think the scene made it into the movie but I’m not sure. my hair was never like that in the Donner version. I had my own hair, not those hideous wigs. Harry (Dick) would never have allowed me to wear such an ill fitting piece of crap on my head..”

This entire sequence would be ultimately be excised and rewritten after both Richard Donner’s departure and Marlon Brando’s salary demands forced the Producers (and replacement director Richard Lester) to reshoot all of Jor-El’s scenes with Susannah York.  In this theatrical version, Superman would first be de-structured before spending the night with Lois as a mortal man.

It would be almost thirty years before the sequence as originally shot would be discovered in UK vaults and restored for inclusion in Superman II; The Richard Donner Cut, where Margot does indeed appear wearing the tunic (without said hairpiece.)

Amazingly, one of the tunics would survive in pristine condition to this day and form part of the significant collection of the UK office of Propstore, where it was mounted in an acrylic case with its label still attached (second pic). The accompanying sign (third pic) eloquently highlights the differences between the structure of this shirt versus the bodysuits (where its appearance suggests Superman’s costume in the movie framework is a top and tights as opposed to leotard) and its provenance from Warner Bros (Read Jason DeBord’s assessment on The Original Prop Blog here).

Propstore would later offer the tunic on the market (read the listing here) and in the hands of a private collector in the UK it was recently photographed being signed by Margot Kidder at a con (bottom pic).

While an owner has the right to do what he pleases with his property, SUPERMANIA nonetheless urges fellow collectors never to interfere with any original costume in such a fashion as it dramatically affects the value of the piece…

Coming soon, the Super-auction to end all auctions…