David Mandel, the famous showrunner of Veep and writers on Seinfeld and Curb your enthusiasm has a well-documented love for movie memorabilia. Already in 2016 the New York Times ran a piece on his passion for prop collecting, which is so extensive it fills an entire second apartment he maintains in Los Angeles and diversity had a piece in 2017 about the props that line Paramount Lot’s office that it led into Veep.
Ryan Condal, the writer-producer who is currently doing the show running show Game of Thrones Prequel and previously worked Coloniesis another great collector; By collecting, he became close friends with Almond. And the couple starts next Thursday The things dreams are made of, A 12 episode podcast series distributed by Rooster Teeth that will delve deep into the world of Hollywood collectibles – one that is intriguing, rich in history, and with its own shabby underground.
Check out the trailer for the show here:
We reached out to Condal and Mandel to talk about creating the podcast, the memorabilia community, and the props they stole from their own shows.
As a result, I am unfamiliar with the movie memorabilia or the prop collecting community in general. My feeling is that it’s a bit big, that it’s very expensive, and that it can get pretty intense. Is that an exact interpretation?
David Mandel: It’s definitely bigger than you think, as you say. It’s always surprising when someone turns out to be a collector, you know? There are many known collectors, but there are also many rumors about who one may or may not be.
Guillermo del Toro is a great one. He had a huge exhibition at LACMA [the Los Angeles County Museum of Art] in 2016, and it included his huge collection of movie props, not just his own stuff, but other famous horror and science fiction films that he has accumulated over the years. Peter Jackson is another collector. Frank Darabont. The late Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, built an entire museum. And that’s just on the high-end side.
In terms of intensity: absolutely. When it comes to collecting, I always want to say that just because we collect the same things doesn’t mean I want to eat with you or watch you eat if it does because there are totally crazy people out there. There are terrible people. There were crazy moments. But I’ve also made a lot of friends through collecting, including Ryan. That’s how we got to know each other. We wouldn’t be friends in real life; We wouldn’t know each other’s families if it wasn’t for collecting. You get the good and the bad.
Ryan Condal: People don’t tend to be casual collectors of these things. I think you may be casual collectors of other things, but of course this requires a significant investment, and it requires attention and attending auctions and the like. But that’s exactly what I love as a community. It’s this shared passion. You can always tell when you are talking to another collector as it all has a specific language.
Which topics were you more excited about in the podcast?
RC: We were just editing an episode about this wonderful book, which is a kind of rite of passage for anyone involved in collecting. It’s called The Ruby Slippers von Oz, Written by a Los Angeles journalist in the late 1980s Times, Rhys Thomas. Like many of these books, he had started to write an article about what had happened to the ruby slippers The Wizard of Oz and then just fell into that rabbit hole.
It’s a pretty old story now because Rhys wrote about guys in the late 60s and early 70s in the late 80s when The Wizard of Oz was popular again because it aired on CBS, but the story he found was just too bizarre to be fiction. He went in hoping to uncover the secret of the ruby shoes: where is there more than one pair? Where were you? Who had them all
And he quickly learned that it all came back to that one man, Kent Warner, who is something of an icon in our field. He really was the original collector. Kent was a customer who worked in Hollywood and he went to all of these studios and found that all of this stuff was thrown away or not looked after. So he took her out of the dumpster, rescued her, and kept her. It’s a fantastic story and we tried to have lunch with Rhys for eight years but she never got together and now we were able to get him on this podcast and he spoke to us for two hours. We got a wonderful interview with him.
In the first episode, you talk a little about the idea that people either have the “collect” gene or they don’t. I don’t think I have this gene, so I’m curious if you can tell me about the feeling you get when you acquire a piece you want. What do you feel that i don’t feel
DM: I wish I could tell you I knew what a runner high is so I don’t like tossing words like that around [laughs]. It’s really hard to explain. It is as if you are trying to capture a piece of your childhood again or, dare I say, a piece of your soul. It puts a smile on your face. You walk by, you check it out, you remember, you smile.
When i get one war of stars Piece for my collection – and war of stars is a big part of my collection – I’m brought back to 1976 when I was 7 years old, went to Times Square and sat through war of stars twice in a row with my father. I don’t know it’s a pure nostalgia injection that just puts a smile on my face.
RC: The pieces that I’m most connected to are things that I loved in my childhood. I think what’s special about movie memorabilia is that they give movie fans a tangible connection to an intangible thing. Films aren’t tangible objects, are they? Yes, you can buy the VHS tapes or the collector’s magazine or whatever, but you connect those pieces back to something that you couldn’t otherwise hold in your hand.
How much of your collections have you stolen from your own shows?
DM: I have a ridiculous amount of Veep Stuff. I’ve got more Veep Things than anyone should have.
To the SeinfeldI have a set of plates and a coffee mug from Monk’s Café. You look like nothing. I also have the Bizarro Superman statue from my episode “Bizarro Jerry” which was in place of the regular Superman statue in Bizarro Jerry / Kevin’s apartment.
RC: Most of my collection is from childhood and things like that, but I’ve kept a good amount mostly from my TV shows. I kept a lot of things off Colonies. Over time, I chose key pieces. Nothing big, but things that happened along these lines would be important points of action.
I’ll say, and I’m not very proud of that, but for my films – and Dave can testify to that too – if you’re a film writer, it’s not you unless you also direct, usually invited to put. So I had to humiliate myself and go back and actually buy things from my own movies.
Have you called Dibs on any of that Game of Thrones Prequel yet?
RC: I don’t … but I have. I’m just saying that I’ll really enjoy the last day of shooting.
Do you guys have white whales when it comes to props?
DM: I think it would be an honest X-Wing or TIE fighter built from the ground up. Preferably from the original war of stars, like an Industrial Light & Magic model.
RC: When Viggo Mortensen was working on it Lord of the RingsHe stepped into the role of the strider very famously and took the method of acting to a whole new level. He stayed near his sword, which was made from real steel by a swordsmith named Peter Lyon, and slept with it in the wild and used a whetstone to take care of it, and he often did it himself. And then he has it supposedly kept and taken home from production.
I love these films and especially the first film when Viggo was still Strider instead of Aragorn. So I would say: Viggo Mortensen’s personal Strider sword out The Lord of the rings.
DM: Let’s be clear: if Viggo Mortensen is murdered anytime soon in the next few months, you might want to cut out Ryan’s answer here. That’s all i’m saying
RC: If he’s not found crushed under a Millennium Falcon, I might be fine.
The things dreams are made of drops its first episode on Thursday October 22nd.
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