Thursday, September 1, 2011

There's a bionic arm in my office...

And it's only one of several strange items I'm currently serving as caretaker to...

As usual, to get to the real story, I'm going to back waaaaaayyyyy up. I first met movie makeup guru Jeff Goodwin on the set of Super Mario Bros. back in the early 90's. He and I shared a great fondness for old movies, and the greats of movie makeup, like Lon Chaney and Dick Smith, so we became pals. Jeff had already at that point been a working professional in film for a decade, so I really enjoyed hearing his stories of working with North Carolina film legends like Earl Owensby, and being a part of Dino DeLaurentiis's DEG studios, which was a lot like the old studio days in Hollywood. Jeff would tell me he would finish Project A on Friday evening, and then promptly report to work Monday morning to start work on Project B, with no breaks of employment; just moving from one movie to the next. It has always sounded like an incredible time, and I sometimes wish I had skipped college and come straight here from high school in the mid-80's; if only I had known about the place then!

Here's a crappy cell phone pic from my scrapbook - Jeff
Goodwin on the right, me on the left, CBS TV movie Search
for Grace.

But I digress.

Over the course of the next decade Jeff and I worked together a lot, and as I was usually the production assistant in charge of coordinating the production's cast through makeup, hair, and wardrobe and getting them to set, I worked closely with him and his assistants.

Here's Jeff and I in the mid-90's on the beloved but short-lived
CBS series American Gothic. The actress in the chair is the
lovely Sarah Paulson, and I have no idea why I'm invading
their personal space to that extent. Guess I'm that guy. *sigh*

When the 21st century began, production work in southeastern North Carolina was mostly gone to Canada, and our lives pulled us away from working together. I moved on to work outside of the film industry (though I try to keep my little toe in through my old friendships, as my set invasion of Piranha 3DD showed) and Jeff moved to Rome, Italy because of the needs of family, and because there simply wasn't enough work here to keep food on the table.

Jeff and I have kept in touch, first through email, and more recently through social networking. Recently, a wonderful documentary project contacted Jeff about his work on the David Lynch movie Blue Velvet in the mid-80's. They wanted to interview him, and they wanted to interview him here in Wilmington on the actual locations from the original film! (This really is a very cool film project - if you'd like to read my earlier post about it you can find it here)

Jeff and Mr. Ear - the severed ear he created
for David Lynch's Blue Velvet.
So, Jeff returned to this area for the first time in a few years. In addition to his work on It's A Strange World - The Filming of Blue Velvet, Jeff was also planning to use his time here cataloging some items he's kept here in storage, and clearing some of them out to make better use of the storage space. He was also hoping that some of the items - props, costuming, and makeup pieces from different films over the years, might possibly be sold to fund a project he's gearing up.

Jeff and I with our longtime pal, fellow movie makeup guy
Rick Pour (Super 8) during Jeff's visit in July.

Well, some of the items that he ran across are not really collectible by movie buffs, so one evening when Jeff and our mutual friend Bill came by to watch some movies Jeff presented me with some pretty amazing items from some of the shows we worked on.

In addition to some carefully stored makeup pieces like the bug-gnawed cheek pieces he sculpted for Bruce Campbell to wear while being devoured by giant cockroaches in American Gothic, he also gave me pieces from some other movies and several items from Super Mario Bros. I was thrilled to have this stuff for my collection, and started planning where and how to display them.

Sometimes, it's like knowing a serial killer...Bruce Campbell's
chewed-up cheeks, American Gothic (1995)

Then, a few days later, Jeff called and asked me to join him at his storage area. He had a proposal for me.

When I arrived, Jeff showed me more amazing items from his collection, carefully packed away, like the life cast of Bruce Campbell used to sculpt the pieces he'd given me previously. Stuff like this was staying in storage.

Jeff mixed two batches of plaster for this one, one for the
face, and one for the chin.

Jeff then asked me if I would act as his business representative here in the United States to try to sell the items he was looking to divest from his collection. Knowing this was probably the subject Jeff wanted to discuss, I had already hit on the idea of contacting Profiles in History, the Hollywood memorabilia dealer featured on the Syuh-Fyuh channel series Hollywood Treasures. While I was there with Jeff, he also mentioned contacting Profiles in History, so it seemed like a fait accompli that I would be getting in touch with them.

I agreed to help Jeff out with this, and I also decided not to hang on to the Super Mario items if they were of interest to PiH, as I want to help Jeff out with this project. (Of course, if PiH is not interested in something, it may be staying in my collection. We shall see.)

After Jeff headed back home, my wondrous wife Suze and I photographed all of the items, and I've since emailed them to Profiles in History for examination. Here are the items, and where they came from:

Bob Hoskins's Mario jacket from Super Mario Bros. - presented to Jeff by Bob Hoskins at the end of production.

Jaime Sommers's bionic arm from the last Bionic reunion movie: Bionic Ever After? (1994). This was used in a scene where bad guys perform surgery on a drugged Jaime, implanting a chip with a computer virus in it to make her bionics go haywire.

Closeup of the fine detail in the arm, and the "sabotage chip."

THWOMP Boot jet bullets - Super Mario Bros. Two are painted and finished, one is unpainted.

A blue one from the film.

Bene Gesserit dresses and Navigator costume - Dune (1984)

Navigator costume

Bene Gesserit dress

These came into Jeff's possession in a roundabout way. After Dune was shot in 1984, the costumes and props were transported to Wilmington NC, which was Dino DeLaurentiis's only studio space in the United States. Everything was put into storage. Well, a tropical storm blew through the area, and the storage warehouse was getting flooded. The head of production for DeLaurentiis Entertainment Group, Martha Schumacher, called Jeff and asked him to go over and grab anything he could - before it was all destroyed. Jeff loaded his car with costume pieces from Dune, which Schumacher then gave him!

Oreo Cookie pieces - Stephen King's Cat's Eye (1985)

Remember the little troll finds a cookie on the floor and tries it, spitting it out and throwing the cookie down in disgust?

Move magic - regular sized guy in troll
giant cookie made of plaster. Yum!

SPOILER ALERT for this last one if you haven't seen the movie!

The Very Dramatic Climactic Shopping Bag - and its main occupant- Stephen King's Cat's Eye (1985)

At the end of The Ledge segment, someone's been shopping, and they really got ahead on some sales....

Just a bag...but what's in the bag...?

Meet Ivana Myheadback! aka Marcia Cressner, played by Patricia Kalember.

How cool is that? And...breaking news...Profiles in History has gotten back to me - and they think there would be interest in nearly everything we sent pictures of, except, interestingly, any of the Super Mario Bros. stuff, which they seem to think would have no value. Not sure why there's no love for props and costuming from the very first movie based on a video game, but what do I know? I just work here.

I may post again if the stuff turns up in a catalog for one of PiH's auctions. Until then, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Craig: Talk about serendipity. I don't think it's a coincidence that you met back up with your old friend Jeff. (I believe in signs...as Mel Gibson said in "Signs"..."What if there are no coincidences?")

    There is some pretty cool stuff here. I hope it all sells.

    I had no idea the Oreo cookie in Cat's Eye was a giant cookie...had no idea how they shot those scenes. Very very cool.

  2. good read Craig . .good luck with the stuff . . Super Mario!

  3. very cool stuff - I really enjoyed my time on the page