Gremlins: Screen Used Puppet Restoration
CURRENT STATUS: COMPLETED November 2020
Back in September 2020, we had the rare opportunity to acquire an original Chris Walas designed Gremlins movie prop. The piece arrived in rough shape as it was most likely being stored in someone's garage for 30+ years. The puppet's head was detatched from the body and showed severe degradation which is typical for foam latex props of this age.
The condition of the PROP was rather concerning at this stage as the puppet was extremely brittle and fragile.
Beginning the Restoration
We hired Tom Spina Designs to carry out the restoration of this one of a kind historical piece. Their team has an extensive background restoring both Gremlins and Gremlins 2 props, and their expertise in this small niche is unmatched.
Upon reception, they cataloged each body section, noting the hands being fused together, left shoulder breaking loose, and left ear curling in. The head being detached from the body is very common as the weight can put excessive stress on the much lighter and hollow body.
Reassembling the Gremlin
Tom Spina's team, lead by artist Ricky Vitus was able to reattach the head to the body using internal supports to the neck area. Supports were also added to the ears to help them retain a more natural looking shape over the years. Finally the hollow interior was filled to keep the much heavier head aloft and looking good for years to come.
With the age of the poly foam and foam latex, it was all the more impressive that they were able to fully get all the facial features arranged in a way that really captured the original expression of the Gremlin.
Finalizing the Restoration
After reinforcing all the damaged foam latex, the Tom Spina team then matched all the old original textures with new archival material. With extensive areas like the neck missing, getting it to look seamless was both difficult and necessary. The final step was then fixing one of the eyes and then painting / color matching the damaged areas.