This stop motion puppet is one of the Beetlejuice sculpture pieces “created” by Catherine O’Hara’s character Delia Deetz, which are brought to life by Michael Keaton’s character in the film. Like many other stop motion puppets this prop was made of foam latex are built around metal armatures and wires which allowed film makers to use flex and bend them to create movement. This repetitive movement usually makes those foam areas more fragile and those areas will typically show signs of aging more readily that the stationary parts.
Before any work began we discussed different options with our client regarding what might be possible for the restoration, understanding their desires for the level of conservation vs. restoration, potential poses for the piece, and the type of final display.
Because there are frequently many versions of the same props created for a film, for different uses, each piece needs to be considered in its own unique way. With the client, we examined the film and the consensus was that this particular puppet matched the “walking mode” of Delia’s claw-like sculpture. We have previously worked on some of “Delia’s other sculptures”, and although we can use some of the information we’ve discover from those, we need to consider the specific needs of each individual piece when coming up with plan for the restoration.
Over the years the delicate tips of the Beetlejuice sculpture had deteriorated so much that they needed to be rebuilt. The silver lining there, was that allowed us to safely get the puppet back into its “walking” pose. With the tips being built from a much more sturdy and durable material, they were able to provide a solid foundation for us to build on and gave our customer a display option that may have stressed the piece too much if it still had delicate foam latex claw-tips.
Our style of restoration is all about maintaining as much original material as possible. We prefer to only patch and paint the missing areas of the foam latex. We’ll also provides support to the surrounding original materials. Once the entire piece is patched, our artists go in and paint match only those patched areas, maintaining as much original paint from the production and film use as possible. Patrick Louie and Melissa Ocampo were the lead restoration artists on this fun project!
This client had us create a themed display for another one of Delia’s sculptures that they owned so we created a matching display for this Beetlejuice sculpture, adding the warm beige sand from the movie scene, metal printed Beetlejuice logo plaque, and a beautiful black laminate base with a lip to support an acrylic top the client will be adding in the future. Click here to check out some of our other Beetlejuice restorations and themed props!
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