Planet of the Apes Mask Prop Restoration

A damn, dirty Planet of the Apes mask prop restoration!

An original latex gorilla mask from the classic Planet of the Apes, which we gently restored and mounted on a custom mannequin head.  We’re all huge fans of the classic Planet of the Apes movie series and have created displays for a number of original movie costumes from the films and TV series.  Even still, a screen used background style pull over apes mask prop is still somewhat rare, and we’re always excited when we get a new movie prop into our New York studio for restoration.  There’s something about seeing Hollywood history right in front of you.

The latex gorilla mask came to us in fair condition. The fur hair was matted and the prop exhibit signs of prior restoration and repair work that was failing (and a bit too obvious for the collector who now owns the Apes mask prop head).  One of our restoration artists carefully patched the holes in the latex and added support via internal muslin patches and archival mediums.  We got the mask into a more pleasing and displayable pose/shape and mounted it to a properly fitting customized mannequin head.

In this case, we viewed the work as a prop conservation rather than restoration.  We focused our repairs on the obvious damage and made sure the finished piece was more subtly repaired, where any repairs better blended in with the existing movie used latex material and paint. The a mask that displays wonderfully on its new head form and is a prop that looks much improved, yet still vintage, with all the charm that original movie props have (and replicas often don’t!)

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Do you have an original movie or television prop that is in need of restoration or display?

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