Gremlins Puppet Restoration for Actor Dick Miller’s Family

Restoration of a Gremlins puppet for the family of the late actor, Dick Miller

This Gremlins 2 puppet was a special restoration as it belong to the late Dick Miller and his wife, Lainie.  Dick played countless characters in his career, but perhaps is best known for playing Billy Peltzer’s eccentric neighbor Murray Futterman in both Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch. This puppet was affectionately named “Gremmie” by the Millers and was very special to their Family. We were honored to be able to help preserve this bit of movie history and bring this prop back to his former glory!

Gremmie the gremlin showed similar issues to most of the puppets from Gremlins 2. The foam latex in the neck area had cracked and torn. This was the result of being stored on a stand which was created to be used on set rather than one with conservation in mind. While these stands worked really well as temporary storage between takes, over time the single post allows gravity to exert pressure on the fragile foam of the puppet’s neck and the weight of his body pulls down causing the material on his neck to crack and tear.  The whole foam latex puppet was also becoming brittle and fragile with several areas in need of repair and a few pieces needing to be reattached.

Before any restoration begins, we always start with a careful cleaning. A bit of dust had found its way upon Gremmie and removing that was a crucial first step. From there, a custom supportive insert was fabricated. This archival insert helps spread out the stress of gravity and holds the Gremlin puppet up by his more robust body, rather than his head and neck. It also provides a means of holding the piece in a single position, creating a solid form that our artists can use to assist in stabilizing the fragile foam latex and any patched areas.

Once Gremmie was mounted on his new custom form, the team was able to go in and patch any of the missing material, mimicking Rick Baker’s amazing teams’ original sculpture style for a virtually seamless transition between the old and new material. They then go in and paint only the repaired areas, a technique known as “in-painting”. We prefer this technique as it leaves as much of the original material visible as possible, and maintains as much of the history as possible.

The finished puppet was given a custom black museum style base, which also included a custom foam support for his feet. Additional welded wrist cuffs help hold the hands in position and keep the arms from swaying and potentially cracking. This gave the finished display a sleek finish as well as providing additional support to the newly restored movie prop puppet. We’re so grateful that we got to help save “Gremmie” and a little bit of the legacy of one of our favorite character actors!

Click here to see more of our other Gremlin movie prop restorations!

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A few words from our client…

I am honored to be acquainted with you and your entirely gifted group. You and your entire  group reek with talent beyond awesome… Your entire group and Tom in particular, are magical .

Best to all,

Lainie Miller

Lainie Miller (wife of the late actor, Dick Miller)