Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Best of Universal Studios Hollywood costume and prop archive exhibits - Part 1...

The other day to my dismay I found out that the NBC Universal Experience archive exhibit at Universal Studios Hollywood would be closing on September 1, 2015. The costume, props and memorabilia museum attraction has been open since 2008 and I first visited the ever-changing exhibition in April 2009 and have returned frequently since, so I'm sad to see the space close.

Universal Studios Hollywood costume and prop archive exhibits
NBC Universal Experience costume prop exhibit Feb 2013
NBC Universal costume prop exhibit May 2013
NBC Universal costume prop exhibit April 2012
NBC Universal costume prop exhibit March 2011
NBC Universal costume prop exhibit April 2014
As a tribute to the attraction, here's a selection of fantastic treasures from the big and small screen, from genres spanning sci-fi, fantasy, comedy, period dramas, musicals, romance and more, that captured my imagination and offered a peak behind-the-scenes of Hollywoodland over the past six years.

Mamma Mia: The Movie costumes on display in April 2012
Mamma Mia Movie costume exhibit
First up are fab ABBA-esque costumes from the movie version of Mamma Mia the musical. These glittering costumes from the film's fun closing credits were worn by Julie Walters and Stellan Skarsgard.

If you're a fan of the film and like these outfits, be sure to also check out these other costumes and props from Mamma Mia: The Movie that I've spied on my travels.

Columbo signature costume worn by Peter Falk on display in April 2012
Peter Falk Columbo costume
One of the things I truly loved about the theme park feature was that you got to glimpse a little piece of TV or film history, like seeing Peter Falk's iconic costume he wore in the Columbo television detective series.

Jim Carrey's The Grinch Santa suit on display in April 2012
Jim Carrey The Grinch Santa movie costume
Around the Holidays I always get requests for photo references for Jim Carrey's Grinch from the 2000 live-action Ron Howard movie, and because of the Universal Studios exhibits I've been able to provide them.

Draco maquette from Dragonheart on display in November 2011
Draco maquette Dragonheart
Back in November 2011 it was cool to see this maquette of the dragon 'Draco' from 1996's Dragonheart fantasy adventure.

Animatronic Max dog from The Grinch on display in March 2011
Max animatronic dog The Grinch
And here's another fab item from The Grinch, an animatronic puppet of the dog 'Max'.

If you're a fan of the movie, be sure to enjoy all these other props, prosthetics and models from How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Enik the Altrusian prosthetic head from Land of the Lost
on display in March 2011
Land of the Lost Enik Altrusian prosthetic head
The TV series Land of the Lost got a big screen remake starring Will Ferrell in 2009, and I loved seeing this alien-looking prosthetic makeup head for 'Enik the Altrusian' from the film.

Hayden Panettiere's cheerleader costume and painting from TV's Heroes
on display in March 2011
Heroes eclipse painting cheerleader costume
Being a huge comic book fan I loved the Heroes TV show (the compelling first season, at least), so it was cool to see one of Isaac Mendez's eclipse paintings and the show's iconic cheerleader uniform worn by Hayden Panettiere on display,

Cloak worn by Yvonne de Carlo as Lily in The Munsters
on display in March 2011
Yvonne de Carlo Lily Munster cloak
And then talk about TV history and this cloak worn by Yvonne de Carlo as the vampiric 'Lily' in the original 1960s Munsters series was a real delight to see in person, look at the drapery detail in this piece.

TV's Buck Rogers costume and props on display in January 2011
Buck Rogers costume and props
And as I kid I absolutely loved Buck Rogers and the robot 'Twiki', so being this jacket and these props from the show was a real treat.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor movie costumes
on display in January 2011 
Mummy Tomb of the Dragon Emperor movie costumes
Over the years I've been able to see an array of costumes and props from The Mummy film franchise, but these outfits from the third installment, 2008's Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, were some of the most elaborate.

Someone who worked in the archives once told me that they had so many amazing costumes they were never able to show because they came from less successful movies and TV shows, even though the costume designs were works of art.

If you're a fan of the films, be sure to check out all these other original costumes, vehicles and props from The Mummy movies on display.

Tiffany animatronic from Seed of Chucky on display in June 2010
Seed of Chucky Tiffany animatronic
There was always something for everyone on display, from horror to romance, costumes to animatronic puppets, like this 'Tiffany' doll from 2004's Seed of Chucky.

Back to the Future II hoverboard prop on display in June 2010
Back to the Future II hoverboard prop
Fans of the Back to the Future Trilogy would have loved seeing all these hoverboard props from the second film and more besides.

Animatronic werewolf from The Wolfman on display in June 2010
The Wolfman animatronic werewolf prop
And one of my personal favorites, was this gory animatronic werewolf creation for The Wolfman 2010 movie remake, which I believe may not have been used on screen in the end in favor of CGI special effects, but it was still a pretty cool life-size puppet to see in person.

Be sure to take a look at these other costumes and makeup prosthetics from The Wolfman that featured in the exhibit attraction over the years.

Classic and reboot Battlestar Galactica costumes on display in June 2010
Battlestar Galactica costumes
Another science fiction favourite of mine from my youth and from recent times is Battlestar Galactica, so I was so excited to see these costumes from the classic 70s show and the 2004 rebooted series.

If you're a fan too, you should also check out these other Battlestar Galactica costumes and props, plus more treasures from the spin-off prequel series Caprica.

Original Milk movie costumes and props on display in February 2010
Original Milk movie costumes and props
In February 2010 I got to see more original film costumes and props from the Oscar-winning biopic from 2008, Milk, about the life of murdered San Francisco gay activist Harvey Milk.

Animatronic baby from Children of Men on display in July 2009
Animatronic baby Children of Men prop
And back on my second ever visit to the exhibit I saw the most lifelike baby animatronic from 2006's Children of Men (which seriously puts the fake baby in American Sniper to shame). This prop behind protective glass really made me do a double take.

Original stop-motion animation ghost puppets from Coraline
on display in April 2009
Coraline stop-motion animation ghost puppets
On my first visit to the attraction I loved seeing these ghostly stop-motion animation puppets from the 2009 movie Coraline, alongside a whole host of other character figures and sets from Coraline.

Communicator prop from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 
and Tom Hanks Apollo 13 NASA costume on display in April 2009  
ET communicator prop Tom Hanks Apollo 13 costume
Plus a real treat from the archives was E.T.'s cobbled together communicator device from Steven Spielberg's 1982 classic family movie, plus Tom Hanks NASA flight-suit from 1995's Apollo 13.

Original Gladiator movie costumes on display in April 2009
Original Gladiator movie costumes
And finally for this installment, Janty Yates Oscar-winning costume designs from Ridley Scott's 2000 Roman Empire epic Gladiator were also on display for all to see.

Plus be sure to also check out more original Gladiator movie costumes that have graced these display cabinets in recent times.

I'm sure visitor figures contributed to the attraction's demise, space is at a premium at Universal Studios Hollywood, but does the theme park really need another rollercoaster or simulator ride, when it already had something truly unique that celebrated the studios history.

Be sure to stay tuned for more hidden cinematic and televisual treasures in the spotlight, now that the vaults have been closed and all the items returned to the archives to collect dust (at least I won't need to buy an annual pass anymore).

Plus search the Universal Studios Hollywood tab for even more amazing wardrobe pieces, models, maquettes, animatronics, props and memorabilia that I've managed to capture and share.

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