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Here's Johnny! - The final image from "The Shining"

Toys are Hereby Declared Illegal - from "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town"

Butch and Sundance - "Wanted" Again!

The Recreation of the Map from "Time Bandits!"

Remembering the "Marvel" of Oz.

There and Back Again, the Hobbit's Map.

Galactica's Cash!

final picture from The Shining

HERE'S JOHNNY!

The final image from "The Shining."

The Shining has been called a classic of modern horror. Everyone knows the tale of Jack Nicholson slowly and painfully going mad while spending an isolated winter with his wife and young son as caretakers of the Overlook Hotel. But the terror that unfolds is brought home to us in a more personal, visceral theme. The film, as others have noted, is basically the tale of a man who hates his family. And the lengths he is willing to go to rid himself of them. When you strip away all the trappings, that central theme is still haunting.

The film leaves the audience with a haunting image of Jack Nicholson's character taken 60 years earlier. As a fan of the film from it's original release, I wanted to recreate that image.

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Illegal Toy Declaration from Santa Claus is Comin' to Town

Toys are Hereby Declared Illegal...

The Burgermeister's Declaration from
"Santa Claus is Comin' to Town"

It may be impossible for kids of today to understand the anticipation of annual television traditions from decades past. Today, with You Tube, on-demand streaming, DVDs, etc., the idea that a TV show could only be seen once a year seems downright medieval. But, that rarity made them more special. And the top of the most-anticipated list were the Rankin/Bass Holiday specials.

One of my favorites has always been "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" from 1970. The stop-motion animation special chronicled the life story of young Kris Kringle. It told how he was adopted by elf toy makers, grew to manhood and vowed to deliver their toys over the mountain to brighten the lives of children in the dreary Sombertown.

Kris's toy deliveries are constantly thwarted by the toy-hating leader of Sombertown, Burgermeister Meister Burger. After tripping over a toy and breaking his leg, the Burgermeister has toys declared illegal. And he posts the official declaration for all to see.

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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Wanted Poster

Butch and Sundance -
"Wanted" Again!

The Bolivian Wanted Poster from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" was not typical western fare when it premiered in 1969. It has all the trappings - chases, posses, gunfights, escapes - but through it all is a light-hearted sense of humor. I've been a fan of this film since I was a kid. It's one of those films I can watch over and over.

As I was rewatching it recently, a scene caught my eye. It's during the montage in Bolivia when the pair decide to take up crime again. A stick of dynamite explodes open a bank safe. Sundance glances down at a bound and gagged bank guard. The guard then follows the direction of the camera and looks up on the bank wall at the wanted poster for the two guys robbing his bank. "Now that would be a cool poster to have," I thought.

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Time Bandits map photo

The Recreation of the Map from "Time Bandits!"

With a little help from a Mythbuster.

I grew up loving Monty Python. I still do! So, naturally, when members of the Python troupe ventured into other projects, I followed right along. So, when Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits was released in 1981, I was there. Loved the film - even the off-beat ending. And, as someone who was soon to begin a career in graphic design, I really wanted a copy of the map of the universe from the film. 26 years later, I decided to make my own. And I received some help from a surprising source.

My interest in this map was rekindled in 2002. I'd been a fan of movie props for some time and frequented a couple web forums devoted to the subject. A board member announced his plan to recreate the map. It looked promising and took quite a while. When it was finally complete, it's price tag was beyond my meager budget. But, I was inspired.

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Professor Marvel's wagon

Remembering the "Marvel" of Oz.

Professor Marvel's Wagon Art.

The Wizard of Oz has so many memorable moments. One of them has always been when Dorothy happens upon Professor Marvel's wagon with it's lavish claims and old-world charm.

As a kid, that wagon was mysterious and a little scary, but it anticipated adventures to come. I wanted that art in some way, but short of building and painting a wagon, how do I do it? I decided that in addition to his painted wagon, the good professor probably had a couple banners to post at the local fairs and carnivals he attended. So, I decided to replicate the wagon art as a banner. Staying true to the original was the main goal, but I did deviate a bit. I wanted the banner to look like it had lived out in the real world for a while, so I added in some staining and weathering. But I kept it subtle and closer to the edges to not obscure the main art.

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Thror's Map from The Hobbit

There and Back Again, the Hobbit's Map.

Crafting the Iconic Map from The Lord of the Rings.

I have been a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien for decades. I love to immerse myself in the world of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. There is such depth and detail. The scope of the work still amazes me. One author (and later his son Christopher) working for decades to create a world complete with mythology, languages, a detailed history and rousing adventures. I really enjoy all the maps Tolkien and Christopher created for the books. I'd follow along as characters made their way across Middle Earth. Later, I would buy posters of those maps and eventually draw a few myself.

Fast-forward to December 2001. The first film of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, hit theaters. It exceeded my expectations on many levels. And as Gandalf was walking through Bag End, what does he find? The map that started it all for me from Tolkien's The Hobbit. The map was a key element from Bilbo Baggins' first adventure as part of a company of dwarves seeking to win back a treasure from the ferocious dragon Smaug. The map shows a secret entrance into the lair of Smaug deep inside the Lonely Mountain. It was a great moment seeing the map in that film and I decided to create a version for myself.

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Starbuck meets Starbuck at Starbuck's

Galactica's Cash.

The Currency of Battlestar Galactica.

I'm a huge fan of both the original Battlestar Galactica and the new series that debuted in 2003. So let me start off with my favorite photo relating to Galactica. Here you see Katee Sackoff (Starbuck in the new series) meeting Dirk Benedict (Starbuck in the original series) at Starbuck's. So, literally, Starbuck meets Starbuck at Starbuck's.

Everything about the new series was epic. It redefined what could be done with sci-fi on television. Time Magazine, The National Review, Rolling Stone and New York Newsday proclaimed it the best show on television. It was sci-fi to be sure, but it was a character-driven drama first. I really wanted prop pieces from this show. Unfortunately, the most desirable items were beyond my skills to create, but I did purchase a few nice replicas. However, the paper currency used on the show had a very intriguing design. This was something I could create. Several fellow fans began making replicas of the bills. But, much of their work was based on guesses since definitive reference material did not exist. But that was about to change.

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