Hocus Pocus Mary Sanderson Puppet Conservation

Conservation and display of a Mary Sanderson puppet from Hocus Pocus

An original Mary Sanderson puppet from Disney’s classic Halloween movie Hocus Pocus, came to us in need of some light restoration and a custom display stand to help support and conserve the piece over time. Originally created as part of a trio of puppets by Rick Lazzarini’s The Character Shop, this wonderful little puppet had a great likeness of actress Kathy Najimy.

Before we begin any work on these types of props we give them a through examination, so we can identify any areas of concern. Overall this foam latex puppet was in really great condition for it’s age, so our main objective was conservation and display. However there were a couple of small areas where the armature structure had broken through the foam latex. After some careful cleaning and targeted locking of certain joints (where movement in the future would damage the fragile foam further), our lead artist for this project Maria Teran addressed those small damaged areas. After reinforcing the foam, she carefully patched and blended each away. She took special care to ensure a seamless transition between the old material and new. As always, any paint touch ups were done with in-painting, where the artist paints only the patched material and leaves any original production-painted material as untouched as possible.

Creating the display was more challenging than expected. While the puppet featured a mounting point below, the mount is made to be intentionally flexible. So the character wouldn’t stand upright until we worked out an additional support to catch the vacuum below just right to hold her safely in place. The mount was devised by Patrick Louie and custom-welded supports were created by Pierre Briel.

A black base and an elegant full-color, custom printed metal plaque gives context as a final touch to the display!

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Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy star as the outlandish Sanderson witches in this Halloween classic.

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