Monthly Archives: March 2016

Find That Prop!: The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch


Find That Prop!: The Classic “Silly Walks” Bowler Hat


In honor of April Fools Day and National Humor Month, here’s a look series that I originally ran in 2014 on the “props” of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Find That Prop!: Gumby Couture


In honor of April Fools Day and National Humor Month, here’s a look series that I originally ran in 2014 on the “props” of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

gumbymainThe Prop, well Costume Really…The Gumbys:

The Gumby, the not-too-bright, but exceedingly loud Python recurring character, who utters choppy and sometimes monosyllabic phrases, is one of the best-known Python characters. The name Gumby comes from their footwear, Wellingtons, or “gumboots.”

One of their signature sketches, “Gumby Brain Specialist,” inspired the catch phrase..”MY. BRAIN.gumcosplay-300x268 HURTS!”

The very first Gumby to appear on screen was played by the late Graham Chapman, although the most frequent Gumby portrayor was Michael Palin. Every Python has played a Gumby at least once, and when the Pythons reunited in 2014, veteran comic actor Eddie Izzard stood in for Chapman to don the white hanky hat.

It seems there was a Gumby in almost every Python episode. They helped bridge the segments together, were often part of the Man on the Street segments, and Palin’s Gumby was the voice that announced the show title in Series 3. There were even animated Gumbys…courtesy of Terry Gilliam.

These characters all pretty much referred to each other as Mr. Gumby, but there were instances when their name was listed in subtitles…often with the title “Prof.” before it. Of course!

These lovable morons have a favorite place in fans’ hearts, and Python audience members were often not shy of dressing full Gumby to attend their live shows, including their recent reunion show in 2014.

tumblr_nch8q2Nm7b1rugg8io1_500How to Cosplay It:

If there’s one thing about thing about The Gumby, he is easy to find clothes for.  Any or all of these items can be found in a second-hand store, discount retail store or even in an old attic box.

The key isn’t what to get…it’s how to wear it. Pretty much everything in Mr. Gumby’s world looks like he’s ready to wade into the steam and hunt for tadpoles..or lost change.

Here are The Gumby basics:

• White long-sleeved button down shirt, sleeves rolled up haphazardly.
• Sweater Vest: tucked into pants.
• One pair or suspenders, any color
• One pair of polyester slacks or khakis, rolled up above the knee
• One white hanky, tied at all four corners and worn on the head
• One set of round wire glasses
• One Charlie Chaplin or “Hitler” mustache (the official term is “toothbrush” mustache, but nobody knows that. Well, now they do). This can be painted on, if you can’t find one.
• One pair of Wellingtons (rubber rain gumboots, preferably black)

Most importantly. The stance. Stoop your shoulders. Bend your knees. Toes out, heels together. Clench your fists like and angry gorilla in front of you. Congrats! You’re a Gumby!

For a little extra prop…carry two foam bricks around to bash together.

For all those fashionistas, we’ve even put together some modified Gumby Couture for men and women, using popular fashion-builder sites like Polyvore:

gumbycouturePlus, it’s not to hard to piece together doll-size clothes for Build-A-Bears, Barbie or fashion dolls, American Girl-sized dolls or even sock monkeys.

For those who want to show their Python pride, but don’t want to go all out, “My Brian Hurts” t-shirts can be found on several sites like Cafe Press and TV Store Online, although Zazzle has a design in Latin that’s the perfect inside joke.  Planet Minecraft even has a Gumby-inspired skin design for digital cosplay.

There was once an officially-licensed plush version available, but that is long out of production. Keep an eye out on eBay or collectible shops for this rare find.So, Gumby-up! It’s so easy to do…it will make your brain hurt!


DIY By The Numbers: Big Hero 6-inspired Fred-Cessories


fredcessories-1024x963Disney announced a Big Hero 6 television series, so it’s time to Fred-Cessorize, with this easy hat and necklace craft inspired by everyone’s favorite slacker.

1. Using felt, cut out three green or light blue or green “eyes” and one black or grey “mouth.” These are easy designs to cut out freehand, or use this template as a guide.

Cut out the pieces for teeth and pupils and lightly tack them on their eyes and mouth, before placing them on the hat. Colorwise, the teeth and eyes are the same, and the pupils and mouth are the same.

 Sew the details on the individual pieces before sewing them on the hat.

Sew the details on the individual pieces before sewing them on the hat.

2. Attach these with similar-colored thread onto a plain turquoise skull cap.  These caps can be found inexpensively at craft stores, sporting goods stores and other retailers.

3. For the necklace, roll three small cones (tapered, rolled pieces) out of day-glo or similar-colored green polymer clay. Make one cone slightly smaller than the other two.  Mold these together at their thickest end, and smooth out the crevices, so it resembles a little green squid-like creature. Cut the top end off, so it is flat across, and place a small eyepin in the center. Bake the clay, as directed on the package.

Fred’s necklace is just a set of three rolled pieces tapered at the ends

Fred’s necklace is just a set of three rolled pieces tapered at the ends

4. Once the clay has cooled, use a toothpick and craft paint or felt tip marker, to dab two little dark green dots on the two outside “tentacles.” In the center of the pendant, dab a circle of white paint and let it dry. Over the circle, dab a smaller bit of red, so it resembles an “eye.” Once the red is dry use a tooth pick and black paint or a felt tip pen to give it an easy, black “pupil.”

5. String the pendant on simple black satin or hemp cord.

IMG_8226-782x1024Give these as gifts, or wear them yourself and feel like someone no one would ever expect is worth a million bucks!

DIY By The Numbers: Darth Maul Inspired Skull



Alas, poor Darth Maul, I knew him, Obi Juan.

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens about to come to Blue Ray, Star Wars-inspired crafts remain in the forefront.

For a fun addition to this trend, here’s a dollar store skull re-paint DIY for one of the Sith’s darkest characters: Darth Maul. these skulls can be purchased on line year round, not just in the fall, on sites like Orientral Trading Company and Spirit.

1. Spray paint a life-size skull completely red, a let dry.

2. Paint the tattoo patterns on with acrylic paint. Draw on outline of pattern with a felt tip marker, first.

Fun fact: Maul’s tattoos are not Sith related, but are due to his affiliation with the Dathomiri Nightbrothers, from his homeworld. They cover his entire body.paintprog

3. Using a beige or bone-colored bakable polymer, create his ten small horns which circle his head and temples, and bake as directed until firm. Attach with a glue gun or strong jewelry adhesive like E6000.

skullangle-1024x3394. Optional: Paint the underside of two clear flattened glass bead with his signature yellow eye pattern (as shown below). You can set these in the eye sockets for and extra creepy gaze. Don’t glue them in, so you can have the option of displaying the skull with or without the eyes.

For an excellent reference, the 501st Legion has images and descriptions of how Darth Maul’s face, head, horns, and the rest of his body, should officially look.

eyeprogwnumberOnce complete, you’ll have a Star Wars Halloween prop that is actually pretty frightening, but also really cool.

“Always remember,” Darth Maul has said in the extended universe, “I am fear.”

— Lisa Kay Tate, originally ran October 30, 2015