“Props” to David Zaritsky

Memorabilia collector David Zaritsky was kind enough to invite me to a Bond fan party at his home yesterday. First of all, what a home! A beautiful, spacious house with high ceilings, lots of light and space, and lovely furnishings.

But for a Bond fan, the highlight of the home is the basement, where David’s lavish collection of props, mementos, posters, and reproductions boggles the mind. Most of the props are reproductions (like his Thunderball “rebreather”) or acquisitions of like productions (for example, he has the exact sunglasses and perfume worn by Eva Green as Vesper Lynd). Some are actual on-screen props or costumes. The collection is beautifully laid out, each movie having a little section, with wall mounting and a shelf (or more). For example, here is a great shot of the FRWL display; with a poster, a reproduction of the magnificent trick shoe, a lamp as used on the Orient Express set, a reproduction of Tanya’s compact, complete with her map of the Russian embassy, a repro of the photo that Bond signs (“From Russia, With Love”) and more.

Two items thrilled me. First and best, a fabulous reproduction of the golden gun from TMWTGG. These are almost impossible to find, and this one works perfectly. I even put it together myself.

The second was a jar of Zukovsky caviar. This was a real prop, not a reproduction. This sort of thing blows my mind; that I didn’t even realize that the movie showed caviar jars with Robbie Coltraine’s image on them. These tiny, minor details; you think to yourself, “Why do they do it?” because after all, you never notice such things when you see the movie. Thing is, on a subliminal level, you do notice. Movies without these sort of detailed props look hollow somehow. You can’t put your finger on it, but they just don’t have flesh. And every outrageous stunt, every unbelievable plot device, is supported and made more believable by a beautifully-constructed mis en scene. The caviar jar was like the quintessence of that for me.

Anyway, it’s not just about the fabulous props, the beautiful setting, the amazing action figures, the signed posters, and the extraordinary costumes on display. It’s mostly about the people; how much fun we all have meeting each other, discussing the trivial, delighting in the gorgeously unimportant. David, like I said, is a terrific and warm host. The other collectors were all equally interesting and entertaining. It was a great day. I wish I could have stayed longer.

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