Old Movies

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Blog entry by Dallas posted 02-27-2012 08:06 PM 3219 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Yeah, I watch ‘em. Mostly old westerns, some old WWI and WWII movies and Civil War movies. I also watch other stuff, but those are the focus here.

As much as I like watching these old movies, my main concern is with how the sets are built. Now, I’m not a set builder or even in that business, but I do notice how the sets and props are built… and sometimes get kind of obsessive about it.

What I look at is how the joints are made, the ‘antique’ finishes and the general design.
Some of my favorites are the ‘B’ grade cowboy shows filmed at Spahn Ranch or in Inyo County, Ca during the 1930’s until the 1950’s. I those you will see actual houses that people lived in an had an aged appearance.

I was watching a Gene Autry flick just last night and there was a Hoosier cabinet that was obviously original and well built. I would love to be able to duplicate that work some day.

Oh, and yeah, I REALLY like to watch Encore Westerns for other stuff besides the building design…..... kinda!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

9 comments so far

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3453 days

#1 posted 02-27-2012 08:46 PM

I do the same thing with samurai movies. Apart from the great action and stories, the architecture, design, and costumes are just awesome. Lots of visual inspiration to be had.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3643 days

#2 posted 02-27-2012 09:36 PM

I am with you Dallas. As I write this I have the TV on and a western playing on Encore Westerns. Man great minds think alike. LOL

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3951 days

#3 posted 02-27-2012 09:51 PM

It’s part of the woodworking addiction, and yes I have it as well.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Roger's profile


21047 posts in 3771 days

#4 posted 02-27-2012 10:26 PM

oh yea! inspiration from every corner. I’m always lookin what’s behind the folks on the tube.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 3965 days

#5 posted 02-27-2012 10:28 PM

When I lived near Edmonton, an antique store did real well, Movie people would come in and pay good money for the old props they needed, just for one shoot .

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View LittlePaw's profile


1572 posts in 4046 days

#6 posted 02-28-2012 03:09 AM

Yup, some of those old movies are much better in content and scenery than the garbage of today. Whenever there’s “noth’n to watch on tv, my wife would put on one of her several hundred old movies! For that reason, we have not gone to a movie-house show in probably more than ten years! We don’t pay for garbage, especially all those shoot’m up and blow’m up trash of no redeeming value.

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View AmandasHusband's profile


58 posts in 3661 days

#7 posted 02-29-2012 12:51 AM

I love westerns!

And I’m always checking out the woodwork on them also.

I need to drop HBO & Cinemax and pick up Encore again.

-- In this world there's two kinds of people my friend. Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3455 days

#8 posted 02-29-2012 01:03 AM

Every once in awhile I catch one on AMC or TMC also, but they are few and far between. Fox Movie Channel carries a lot of the old old old 20th Century Fox movies from the 20’s – 60’s.
In the middle of the night when I can’t sleep I turn the TV on really quiet to keep from waking the sleeping bear and just watch the scenery and the building practices.

One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of the newer westerns aren’t much on settings. It seems the producers believe that every western town was built of nothing but pig board and studs. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I went down to Langtry,TX a few years back and went through the original Judge Roy Bean Bar, house and courtroom. It was a well built although plain looking set up.

I’ve also been through some of the abandoned structures out in Death Valley and in Inyo county California…. There are some beautiful fixtures and finishes that those builders used. Sometimes you have to use a bit of imagination to see the beauty because of the ravages of time and vandals, but it’s there if you look for it.
One old hotel we explored had crown mouldings and ceiling medallions that any designer would have been thrilled to have.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 4259 days

#9 posted 02-29-2012 02:35 AM

Things may not look as good in person as they do on screen. I went to Universal Studios in 2002. They had a haunted house based on the Brendan Fraser “Mummy” movie. Along the line going in was a glass case with what the sign said were the actual prop guns used in the movie. Up close, they looked terrible – obviously fake, very short on detail, crude finish on both wood and metal (not even sure it was metal). But on screen, they looked great.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

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