Ten Movie Props We Wish Existed In Real Life

justCollecting

justCollecting

2017-01-17 15:41:24

Ten fantasy props from the world of movies that we wish worked in real life

Have you ever come out of a movie thinking "Dammit, why hasn't anyone invented that yet?" Hollywood has presented us with devices, weapons, technology and products that would all make the world a more interesting place, but that remain tantalisingly out-of-reach. So we've compiled a list of our ten favourites - ten movie props we wish were real.

This list could have been much longer. Honourable mentions go to the sunglasses from 'They Live'; the Neuralyzer from 'Men in Black'; and pretty much every ACME product. But in the end, these are the items that we wish were coming soon...

10) Rocket pack (The Rocketeer)

The concept behind rocket packs dates from the 1930s, and a variety of working versions have been built since the 1950s – so why the hell aren’t we wearing them right now?

Despite constant promises that they’re ‘just around the corner’, a commercial version available to all remains a pipe dream. Never has a cool invention been so close and yet so far away, so for now we’ll have to rely on the movies for our flying fix.

The most stylish rocket pack in movie history belongs, appropriately, to The Rocketeer – the acclaimed 1991 film that vanished at the box office. Based on a 1982 comic book which is in itself an homage to the adventure serials of the 1930s, the film depicts a rocket pack built by Howard Hughes – apparently before he turned his attentions to the Kleenex box footwear industry.

With the addition of an art-deco helmet, the Rocketeer’s uniform resembles that of ‘Commander Cody, Sky Marshal of the Universe’ – a 1950s U.S television show cut from episodes of the 1940s Rocket Man movie serials.

As a classic period adventure, the film set the tone for director Joe Johnston’s next venture into the genre – Captain America: The First Avenger. And as a piece of production design, The Rocketeer remains one of the best-looking films of the 1990s.

Despite not being a hit, the film has a number of devoted fans and collectors – including one who paid an amazing $42,500 for a complete screen-worn Rocketeer suit and pack in May 2006.

In the real world:

Your daily commute becomes ten times faster and fifty times more terrifying; the sky gets clogged up with people taking mid-air selfies; and watch out for the ‘hang-ons’ - you will get ‘hang-ons’.

9) Lotus Espirit submarine car (The Spy Who Loved Me)

The white Lotus Espirit submarine car is one of the most iconic Bond cars of all time, driven by Roger Moore in the 1977 film ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’. Not only is it a car which can turn into a submarine and drive underwater, it’s also one of the most 80s-looking cars ever built – it’s basically the Duran Duran of automobiles.

Sadly, the vehicle used during filming only worked as a submarine and fell into disrepair after production had ended. It was rediscovered in 1989 in a Long Island storage locker, the contents of which were sold in a blind auction for just $100.

After being restored and exhibited for years, the vehicle – known as ‘Wet Nellie’ by the production crew during filming – was sold at auction in London in 2013 for $997,000.

Remarkably, it’s also the item on our list that’s closest to becoming a reality thanks to its new owner – billionaire inventor Elon Musk. "I was disappointed to learn that it can't actually transform,” said said Musk, founder of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors. “What I'm going to do is upgrade it with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform for real."

And when the real-life Tony Stark says he’s going to do something, you can expect to see him driving full-speed towards the ocean with a grin on his face real soon.

In the real world:

No more paying bridge tolls; amazing parking spots at the beach; road trips to Hawaii; the complete collapse of the glass-bottom boat industry.

8) Time Sled (The Time Machine)

Silver screen time machines have taken many forms over the years – from Deloreans and phone boxes (always popular) to hot tubs, wormholes and an almost incomprehensible ‘box’.

But our favourite by far is the Time Sled from the movie adaptation of H.G Wells’ classic 1895 novel ‘The Time Machine’. For us, if it doesn’t have at least three parts that light up and spin around for no reason then it ‘aint a time machine (we’re talking to you Shane Carruth).

Described in the book as “a thing of brass, ebony, ivory, and translucent glimmering quartz”, the Time Sled was brought to life in the 1960 film by MGM art director Bill Ferrari.

Ten years later it was part of the famous 1970 MGM auction, which saw the financially-strapped studio sell off most of its props and costumes. It was sold for $10,000 to an entrepreneur who exhibited it across the U.S, but less than a decade later it was rediscovered in pieces in an Orange County thrift shop.

The sled was saved and completely restored by actor and film historian collector Bob Burns, and today remains part of his world renowned collection.

In the real world:

Build yourself a Biff Tannen-style evil business empire with sports betting? Find true love with ‘the one that got away’ all those years ago? Create a time paradox that destroys the fabric of reality? The choice is yours. You can start by claiming back the 10 hours you spent watching Transformers movies.

7) Hoverboards (Back to the Future II)

In 1989 a generation of movie-goers were promised a future so bright, we’d have to wear Doc Brown’s weird silver shades. There would be self-lacing shoes, instant pizza, the Scenery Channel, flying cars and Jaws 19 – but most of all, there would be hoverboards. Damn you ‘Back to the Future II’, we trusted you.

Remember that kid in school who said his uncle had bought him a hoverboard in Canada but no one else was allowed to play with it? He was lying. Admittedly the film is set in 2015, but unless scientists start putting in some serious overtime it looks like we’ll all just have to keep walking around with our feet on the ground like suckers.

The screen-used hoverboards have since become some of the most famous and sought-after props from 80s cinema. Amongst the boards used during filming were several lighter Styrofoam models and a handful of sturdier wooden models – few of which survive today.

The most expensive and best-known ‘hero’ board sold at Profiles in History in 2008 for an amazing $55,000. We only wish Elon Musk had bought that instead...damn you Elon Musk.

In the real world:

Teenagers around the world simultaneously become more mobile and get less exercise, bringing mankind a step closer to the inevitable hovering blobs presented in Wall-E.

6) Lightsabres (Star Wars)

For generations of kids and grown men that should know better, the lightsabre has been the fantasy weapon of choice since the summer of ’77.

According to Obi-Wan Kenobi the lightsabre is “a more elegant weapon for a more civilized age”, although to us this sounds a little like regular old-guy complaining (“You kids, with your blasters and your droids and your rap music...”).

However there’s no denying that the Jedi weapons are amongst the most iconic in movie history, even if George Lucas did overuse the hell out of them in the prequels.

Scientists recently stated that the equipment needed to create a beam of energy the length and power of a lightsabre would be the size of a two-storey building – and more importantly, the beam wouldn’t make the cool buzzing sound, so really, what’s the point?

For now collectors and wannabe Jedis will have to stick with the numerous toys, replicas, or even the screen-used models such as Luke Skywalker’s lightsabre from the original film – which sold at auction in 2008 for $200,000.

In the real world:

Creates the Olympic Games’ most dangerous and most-watched new event; raises the bar for kitchen knife adverts (“Forget cans, this lightsabre cuts through three blast doors!”).

5) Everlasting gobstopper (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)

The everlasting gobstopper from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is one of the most famous pieces of confectionary in film history.

It’s also one of the worst business ideas in film history, a product which would more than likely bankrupt the company and see the local streets flooded with bitter, unemployed Oompa Loompas performing fantastically-choreographed protest songs.

Apparently the reclusive chocolatier didn’t see the inherent problem with creating a gobstopper which meant kids never had to buy another one ever again; but it’s probably hard to comprehend financial forecasts properly when they're sung to you by a tiny orange accountant.

Only two prop everlasting gobstoppers survived from the original 1971 production, and both have sold at auction in recent years for major money.

The first – the gobstopper Charlie gives back to Willy Wonka at the end of the film – sold in May 2011 for $42,500, and the second – given to Veruca Salt and kept by actress Julie Dawn Cole – sold for $40,000 in July 2012.

In the real world:

“Mom, Dad, can you buy us some candy pleeeeease?”

“Quit crying, we bought you some four years ago.”

4) Mr Fusion (Back to the Future)

When Doc Brown turns up at the end of Back to the Future, he brings more than bad news about Marty’s kids and a flying car. The DeLorean’s flux capacitor is now powered by ‘Mr Fusion’ – a handy device which turns trash like banana skins and beer cans into nuclear energy.

This replaces the weapons-grade plutonium which originally powered the vehicle’s time circuits, and led to wacky high-jinx with some pesky Libyans - which is good news for Marty, as if he’d spent much more time sat in an essentially radioactive car he probably wouldn’t have been able to have kids in the first place.

The screen-used Mr Fusion converter from all three BTTF films was constructed from a Krups Coffina coffee grinder mounted on a custom-made base. The original hero prop was sold at auction by Profiles in History in 2005, for $20,000.

In the real world:

Mr Fusion would instantly solve all the world’s energy problems, end the need for fossil fuels, prevent conflicts fought over oil and help mankind save the planet from global warming.

It would also free up scientists to dedicate their time to answering a far more important question: namely, “Where are our damn hoverboards?”

3) Bottomless carpet bag (Mary Poppins)

Mary Poppins travels light, refuses to give references and knows an unusual number of chimney sweeps. She’s a clear candidate for Nanny-Cam if ever we saw one, but luckily for the Banks family the most sinister thing she does is introduce their children to Dick Van Dyke.

She does, however, also own one of the most potentially useful props on our list – the bottomless carpet bag. Capable of holding a mirror, a standard lamp, a coat rack and a rubber tree amongst other things, not only does the bag defy the laws of physics but it also comes in a delightful floral pattern.

The original screen-used carpet bag was one of the few props from the film not kept by the Disney archives, and it ended up in the possession of a family in Chicago who regularly took it on vacation as luggage and let their kids play with it.

Years later it was rediscovered by Joe Maddalena, owner of movie memorabilia specialists Profiles in History, who authenticated the bag and auctioned it in July 2010 for $95,000.

In the real world:

Say goodbye to excess baggage charges on flights, hiring moving trucks or ever buying more than one ticket in a movie theatre.  

2) Houdini’s magical movie ticket (Last Action Hero)

‘Last Action Hero’ may have been panned across the board (although we think it’s an underrated cult classic – seriously), but it does have one particular prop we’d love to see work in real life – the magical cinema ticket.

Originally owned by Houdini himself, the ticket lets you enter the movie you’re watching, and can bring characters off the screen into the real world. In a time of falling box office figures and on-demand streaming, it could be the idea that saves Hollywood – or dooms it, when the entire front row gets eaten during the premier of ‘Jurassic World’.

The prop tickets used in the films have all been sold in recent years. According to Wikipedia, one such ticket sold in 2008 for $1,650 to an anonymous collector in Texas known only as ‘Mr X’ – proving that more than 20 years on, people are still ashamed to admit they like this movie.

In the real world:

Enlivens any trip to the movies. “How was Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?” “It was great, I punched Shia LeBoef in the neck and Harrison Ford came back to our apartment and did Jell-O Shots!”

Also, why not sneak up behind Bill Murray and find out what he actually says to Scarlett Johanson at the end of ‘Lost in Translation’.

Warning: ticket should probably not be used in conjunction with anything directed by Lars Von Triers.

1) Bubo the mechanical owl (Clash of the Titans)

Who amongst us can honestly say they don’t secretly (or openly) want a mechanical owl? If you answered “me” then you’re only lying to yourself.

Bubo was one of the best-loved characters from the 1981 film ‘Clash of the Titans’, featuring the final work of stop-motion genius Ray Harryhausen.

Made from gold by Hephaestus (the Greek God of Blacksmiths), Bubo is sent by Athena to aid Perseus in his quest to defeat the Kraken. He also made a brief appearance in the 2010 remake, cruelly tossed aside by Sam Worthington (who later claimed he wanted to smash Bubo to pieces), before outraged fans demanded a larger role in the 2012 sequel ‘Wrath of the Titans’.

The original Bubo now resides in the permanent collection of the Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation, set up by Harryhausen in 1986 to maintain his remarkable creations.

Items from the collection often appear in exhibitions around the world, and if you get the chance we’d highly recommend making a trip to see the work of one of Hollywood’s greatest-ever magicians.

In the real world:

You get to own a mechanical owl. There is no possible downside to this, unless you think being awesome is a downside.

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