Faux Gold…

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Flash Gordon’s (Sam J. Jones) Mongo Military Jacket, FLASH GORDON (1980)

Flash Gordon (played by Sam J. Jones) is the eponymous hero of Mike Hodges’ science fiction adventure. The film is remembered for its style, which includes the spectacular costumes. This particular item is the very distinctive red jacket that Flash wore when he was attempting to escape from the planet Mongo with Princess Aura. The jacket is a custom made piece in red leather with epaulettes and a wealth of beaded embellishments and gold braiding.

Auction Estimates: £5,000 – £7,000

Going under the gavel on September 27th as part of their latest Entertainment Memorabilia Auction taking place at the ODEON BFI IMAX in London’s Waterloo, this superb lot offered by Propstore is as stunning as it is unique.

Described as Flash Gordon’s ‘Mongo Military Jacket’ this splendid, intricate piece of design by Danilo Donati has somehow survived the test of time in pristine state and is easily the most significant item of costume offered from the film in some years.

Though Ming’s army is shown en masse wearing similar tunics brandishing similar bead applique’s, none are leather like the jacket liberated by Princess Aura to disguise Flash to aid his escape from Mongo.  Its appearance in the film may have been limited to a few scenes but it was used extensively for promo shots such as this –

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Interestingly, the inscription in the collar reads ‘double’ so it is this was a backup jacket for Sam rather than a stuntman as scenes featuring this costume were light on action.  Regardless, between its iconic status and Propstore’s stellar reputation there will no doubt be plenty of interest in this lot so it will likely go beyond estimate…

UPDATE – ITEM SOLD FOR £8,500!

Bob the Curator…

photo“YEAH!!!”

Gordon’s Alive! returns with another spectacular exclusive interview, this time with no less than arguably the world’s No.1 Flash Gordon fan.  It was my pleasure to finally meet Bob ‘The Curator’ Lindenmeyer in the flesh at the 35th anniversary last year – you can read part 2 of this conversation at the all-new celebration page right here but in the meantime, enjoy this one on one before seeing two of two..!

Bob – Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to Gordon’s Alive

Your name has been synonymous with Flash Gordon for some years now but to the uninitiated, how would you describe yourself, your background and your association with the film?

I guess I would try to describe myself as trying as hard as I can to hold on to that little boy who was 11 years old and has his mind blown by Flash Gordon. I have always been an artist and creative type, even back then, I spent my time building models or drawing spaceships. Luckily for me that is now what I do for living.

As for my association with the film, it has come in part, because of my tenacity and not fearing to ask. If I hear about anything go on Flash related I just start calling around and ask if I can be involved somehow. That has worked really well for me, that and the fact of being a super-fan means I will usually do this stuff for free.

What are your earliest memories of the movie and when/where was the first time you saw it?  Was the impact instant and what was it specifically that prompted you to start collecting?  What was your first item?

Back in 1980 I was 11 and my friend and I rode our bikes to the theatre on a Saturday afternoon. I was, as all kids were back then a huge Star Wars fan and desperately consumed anything that had a spaceship in it. Battle Beyond the Stars, Star Crash? I was there!

I was already watching The Flash Gordon cartoon and was a huge fan, so the film was a must see for me from the get go.  So there I was, me and Marc Beagle, parked in the second to the front row of an almost empty matinee. And then… FLASH! Ahh! blisteringly loud, I mean volume 11 loud. The way the film should always be played.

The thing that really struck me about the film, like others have said, was the color.  Space wasn’t black, skies weren’t blue, ships weren’t white. It was unlike anything I had seen up to that point.

Collecting props was a revelation for me, this was before big budget auctions, and when Ebay was still friendly. I was making good money at a videogame company and every week, me and my fellow nerdy co-workers would go to the local toy store and by an action figure or two. There are documentaries on how adult collectors are trying to re-capture the thrill of finding that particular Jawa figure they got as a kid. I am no different.

Buried in a pile of cool action figures, one day I realized…If I didn’t by action figures from the movies I love for two months, I could afford to get something that was actually in the film. I then sold all of my action figures (not my Jawa) and started saving and searching for props.

My first Flash prop and maybe my first non-replica prop, was the sword. I bought it on Ebay from a guy in Scotland. Something that took some getting used to about collecting props is how trashed or simply made most of them are. My sword looks more like something Boba Fett would have than Flash…but soon you get to appreciate the roughness, these items have been used and there a charm and character about that.

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Let’s talk about Chronicle Collectables.  You previewed a prototype of a scale model of War Rocket Ajax at the Flash 35thAnniversary last November.  What is your involvement with this and what has been used as the source of the replica?

I work for Chronicle, I do most of their marketing and packaging materials. It’s a great place to work, so many cool projects and opportunities. I asked if I could work there when I heard they had the FG license. Again…always ask!

The Ajax, obviously if you’re going to make FG replicas, you have to make the Ajax. I am lucky enough to own the only known Ajax in the world. It is not from the film (Ajax was destroyed during filming) but a replica build by the original modeller who built her for the film-the next best thing, in my mind.

I have tons of archival photos from the production, with these- and my Ajax as reference an all new Ajax model was created. Chronicle are big Flash fans too, so with our combined efforts pouring over the details, I think we have made the most screen accurate Jax possible. I am personally doing final assembly and paint master for the production run…literally right now. I’m so excited about it.

And what of future plans with Chronicle?  Besides Ajax and the fantastic replica of General Klytus mask are there more Flash prop replicas or costumes on the horizon?  What would be your dream recreation?

We hope to do a bunch of Flash stuff, some items are already in development. I’m not trying to be cheeky when I say I cant talk about them, that’s not my department. Maybe you can interview Chronicle? They would love that, I think.

I can say since it was teased at the 35th…Klytus’s mask, and the signature sword are coming.

Finally, you have alluded to working on a Flash Gordon book – can you confirm this and is there a publishing deal in place?  If so can you reveal some of the content and will you be applying your considerable design skills to it in similar fashion to the Flash 35thcampaign?

My Flash book-geez I really want to finish it! There has been some unofficial chats with folks about getting this published. I honestly am not sure it can be published. Finding all the rights to the hundreds of photographs and info I have in my collection is the challenge. Any licensed book should have the proper “okays” to use the content. A book will be made. It may end up being a limited run for family and friends. I have “top men” working on it.

The book will be designed entirely by me and hopefully be even cooler than the 30 page program I did for the 35th. The collectors program was a good test run from start to finish for a full blown book.

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Bob – Thanks so much..!

Coming Soon!

DSC_3557DSC_3520DSC_3526DSC_3577DSC_3530DSC_3576DSC_3594Gordon’s Alive! is proud to present this special photographic preview of an upcoming special feature on the 35th Anniversary Celebration held last month at BAFTA in London.  The page will be a permanent addition to the site (under the Go Flash Go banner on the right) and the coverage so thorough it will be like you were actually there.

For those fortunate enough to attend the page will hopefully serve as an online souvenir of an unforgettable experience, an evening of sheer class with a gathering of friendly, like-minded people from across all cultures all with one thing in common – an unashamed admiration for this timeless sci-fi classic.

With thanks in advance to organiser Lisa Downs, associate and graphic designer Bob Lindenmeyer, host Jason Lenzi and of course the attending cast & crew, the 35th page will hopefully be a fitting testimony to your efforts…

Dispatch!

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Fast establishing itself as a company where ‘Shut up and take my money’ should follow its name, Chronicle Collectables is well on the way to producing arguably the most significant replica from Flash Gordon ever offered to collectors.

War Rocket Ajax (as originally built by Martin Bower) is easily the most iconic spaceship from the film and has been lovingly recreated by John Eaves, Richard Long and good friend of Gordon’s Alive! Bob Lindenmayer.  Up for pre-order soon, this 24″ long display will feature clear windows and detailed interior and is sure to be a huge hit with fans.  Look for the tab on the right hand side of the page when it becomes available..!

Death Mask…

Screenused_Mask2Screenused_Mask4Screenused_Mask3Screenused_Mask5Screenused_Mask1Production made and sold in auction by Screenused (see original listing here), this amazing prototype SFX General Klytus mask with interior skull was made for Peter Wyngarde’s gruesome/hilarious death scene.

A somewhat raw cast having been filled/sanded but abandoned before the iconic gold plating could be applied, the key identifier for its intended use is the fixed position of the lower jaw to allow the SFX tongue to poke through.

According to the notes on the Screenused listing, the alien-looking skull was apparently created for an alternative ending but offers no further details.  Interestingly both the alien skull and what could very well be this same mask appear in this group shot of Flash props and weapons (bottom left and right).

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Klytus3Klytus2 (2)These new pictures above are from the prop’s latest owner where the original auction tags (from Sotheby’s) are present and still attached.  Thankfully it seems the piece has been kept in pristine condition as private collection or no, it remains an important relic of the film’s history…