Dan Lanigan is a writer and producer who has worked on Race to the Scene and West Texas Investors Club. He talks to us today about his passion for movie props and his new show, Prop Culture.

You can watch Prop Culture on Disney+ now!

How did you get the idea for this series?

I just thought people might find it interesting to learn about the unique history of film from the perspective of the people that made the props, costumes, and set pieces from some of Hollywood’s coolest films.

How did your passion for film props come about?

I was always interested in the behind the scenes documentaries and the how-they-did it special fx shows, but after seeing some original film props up close and personal (from some of my favorite movies) at the Disney MGM studios back in the 90s, I became obsessed.

What was your first reaction when you discovered the magical content of the Walt Disney archives?

To see all that wonderful Disney history in one place was pretty astounding. I wish I had the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks there just to study everything in detail.

How did you find the different guests?

They were all very nice and they liked having the opportunity to share their stories. And for me to be able to spend time with these amazing people was super cool.

Your series contains some very emotional moments. What was the most intense moment for you?

Probably when I was talking with Dee Dee Wood. She was such a sweet lady, and you could tell that working on Mary Poppins was an important part of her life, and seeing the chimney sweep brush meant a lot to her.

Difficult question, what is your favorite prop?

Harrison Ford’s Deckard Blaster from Blade Runner. It’s my favorite film, and that one piece is so singular to the character and the film. Plus its history on how it was made is still steeped in mystery.

In your series, it is very interesting to see the evolution of the status of props. Once almost useless after shooting, they are now part of the history of cinema. How do you explain this?

The props are physical representations of the film, so in my opinion if the film becomes important, then the artifacts remaining are important. These tangible artifacts have residual cultural magic of that movie.

What is your best memory of this production?

Getting to hang out with Tom St. Amand. He’s someone I’ve wanted to meet for a very long time, and he is such a nice guy.

What is the most mythical prop you haven’t found yet, your holy grail?

Harrison Ford’s trench coat from Blade Runner. It’s the stuff of legends. Nuff said.

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