We can find them with this.
October 1, 2021 7:38 PM   Subscribe

 
. (for the business)
posted by bryon at 8:10 PM on October 1


I watched these videos just the other day! It's always amazing how much mileage you can get out of the same damn prop.
posted by gwydapllew at 8:28 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


But Robby the Robot has its own IMDB page! Ha!
posted by SPrintF at 8:35 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


Sure, sure, you've got that Most Important Device in your lab and it's running well but have you checked on the IBM AN/FSQ-7 that's controlling it?
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:02 PM on October 1 [13 favorites]


Some respect is due the Oscillation Overthruster, as well.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:05 PM on October 1 [8 favorites]


I wish there was one of these for ubiquitous stock sound effects, too.
Everyone knows the Wilhelm Scream, and the Howie Scream, but there's this overused 70's to 90's 'fiery explosion' sound effect, with what has always sounded like some kind of pitch-shifted panther or wildcat rawrRAWR mixed in, that I've never managed to pin down.
posted by bartleby at 10:19 PM on October 1


Big fan of that Iona shoe polisher
posted by aubilenon at 10:28 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


Those tubes, so lame. Just a pair of three neon tubes (of boring PIZZA-BEER orange) blinking 1-2-3 in tandem. Slowly. That's it? 1-2-3, 1-2-3. Sigh. Jacob's ladder a lot more fun (although anachronistic, now). And a neon transformer could be used to power it.
posted by Rash at 10:32 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]




Halloween Jack, would you be interested in trading 100 gross self sealing stem bolts for that oscillation overthruster?
posted by bartleby at 10:49 PM on October 1 [5 favorites]


Somewhat related.

I would like to give a shout out to Kenneth Strickfaden, the designer and builder of the laboratory in in Frankenstein(1931) which were also used in Young Frankenstein over 40 years later. Apparently he still had a lot of the original props in his garage when Mel Brooks contacted him.
Now, this is cool machinery, and in my very subjective opinion, it has never been topped.

Great post, by the way, I love this kind of thing
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 11:41 PM on October 1 [12 favorites]


Some respect is due the Oscillation Overthruster, as well.

"What's that watermelon doing there?"
"Tell you later"
posted by whuppy at 3:52 AM on October 2 [12 favorites]


I hadn't heard of John Zabrucky, but that LA Times article is kind of lovely. Yes, it's sad that an iconic prop house closed. But Zabrucky had a really successful business, and he's retiring to make art. That sounds like a good life.
posted by davidwitteveen at 5:58 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Zabrucky was also part of the ’80s new wave scene; he art directed for the band Devo and cast its video “Whip It.”

The third-most important device in the universe...
posted by chavenet at 6:16 AM on October 2 [6 favorites]


When I saw what the most important device was I was waiting for the Airplane 2 clip and I was not disappointed.
posted by jmauro at 6:48 AM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Your overthruster is for shit.

Now let's talk interocitors
posted by aubilenon at 7:01 AM on October 2 [8 favorites]


Related: there's a subreddit called "That's a Book Light" that contains screenshots of everyday items and gadgets used as various props and set decorations. Some good stuff there.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Thatsabooklight/
posted by SoberHighland at 8:08 AM on October 2 [7 favorites]


[Clayton "Firebrand" Forrester] Like, who doesn't have an interocitor, you collective heads of knuckle?!
posted by delfin at 8:20 AM on October 2 [1 favorite]


/Related: there's a subreddit called "That's a Book Light" that contains screenshots of everyday items and gadgets used as various props and set decorations. Some good stuff there.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Thatsabooklight/

Ha! And I bet I know exactly what book light they're referring to, because I exclaimed the very same thing when they pulled out a sci-fi gadget in V For Vendetta that was the exact model of book light I had at home!
posted by UltraMorgnus at 8:25 AM on October 2


Just a pair of three neon tubes (of boring PIZZA-BEER orange) blinking 1-2-3 in tandem. Slowly. That's it? 1-2-3, 1-2-3. Sigh.

I mean whywouldthegovernmentputallthatmoneyinto athingwithredlightsthatkeepgoingbackandforth. Doesn't make any sense.

My personal favorite "That's a book light" was watching some episode or other of The Next Generation and noticing the medical scanner was an old Radio Shack stereo microphone that got a coat of silver spray paint.
posted by mcrandello at 10:57 AM on October 2 [1 favorite]


I'd love to see a book documenting the most oft-used props in movies and their contexts. That would be fun.
posted by hilberseimer at 11:31 AM on October 2


I wish there was one of these for ubiquitous stock sound effects, too.

Like the good old squeaky gate sound featured in about 10,000 different TV shows and movies. Once you recognize it, you'll hear it everywhere.
posted by dephlogisticated at 12:25 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


I'd love to see a book documenting the most oft-used props in movies and their contexts.

When I lived in LA there was an article in the paper (I wish I'd kept) about a business in Venice which specialized in building SF props. They created the little medical sensor Dr McCoy waves around his patients in the 'Star Trek' films -- that was a piece of work. (Just a shiny metal salt-shaker in the TV show, but for the movies and TNG it had a circle around the rim of tiny marquee lights.)
posted by Rash at 12:44 PM on October 2


ubiquitous stock sound effects

The one that really bugs me is the "eagle screaming" noise that happens at the start of every desert/western scene in every movie and TV show ever made, ever. I've spent considerable time in the American southwest—and have seen hundreds of eagles and hawks— and have never heard that eagle screaming noise in real life.
posted by SoberHighland at 2:54 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


My personal favorite prop I recognized was having seen this video on the Tapwave Zodiac PDA and then a month later seeing it in use as a device on a later season of Stargate SG-1.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:41 PM on October 2


Like the good old squeaky gate sound featured in about 10,000 different TV shows and movies. Once you recognize it, you'll hear it everywhere.

Morrowind uses several of these (the gate sound, and I think at least one door sound) and since that game etched itself on my brain at an impressionable age, I hear them everywhere.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:57 PM on October 2


never heard that eagle screaming noise in real life

It's a red-tailed hawk call.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:03 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


That thing belongs in the Smithsonian.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:56 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Back in the university days of old I had a Jacob's Ladder and sitting next to it was a cat's brain floating in a jar of formaldehyde on top of which sat a small monkey skull. And of course the required plasma globe that kept time with the music. For a while there was this 7' rack of old old computer that had been used to run the campus radio station with lots of lights and switches and a big pizza-box sized whopping 10MB disk platter... but eventually scavanged all the good little components and tossed the rest. My room did look like some bit of crazy mad scientist movie set.
posted by zengargoyle at 7:55 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


And then there's that "bullet ricocheting" noise that you seem to hear in every old-time Western, even if the gunfight is taking place in the middle of the desert with nothing there for the bullet to ricochet off of.
posted by Epixonti at 5:12 AM on October 3


"Oh, there's a cat in the scene? Let's dub in a meow that's the wrong meow for the cat's obvious mood and point of attention at the time."
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:47 PM on October 3


Screaming in movies? Did somebody call for the Wilhelm?
posted by DreamerFi at 4:20 AM on October 4


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