First road trip of 2004, good to get away, especiallt to somewhere a little warmer than the bone chilling temperatures of late... Drove down to Tennessee over the weekend to visit my friends Kristina & Paul outside of Knoxville. They moved out there from California about a year and a half ago - previously Paul did SPX for Hollywood & worked on movies like Terminator 2 - he now holds the license to make reproductions of the T2 Endoskeleton and I got to see one in progress. It is rare that I visit somebody who has more cool shit than I do but boy do they... their house is like a museum of movie props - Paul proudly showed me his life size fiberglass Creature from the Black Lagoon (cast from the original movie costume) and goodies like a stop motion Martian from "Mars Attacks", the Hessian sword from "Sleepy Hollow" and even let me try on the armored Nazgul gloves from "Lord of the Rings" (OK so those weren't the actual ones from the movie but they were made by the same guy...) He specializes in collecting Creature toys so he and Paula bonded over their love of the scaley green guy and compared notes on their collections = )
Here I am sitting in the spookhouse ride car from Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" movie that now sits in their driveway (Paul found it at a yard sale at Tim Burton's estate!!) - yes, Johnny Depp sat in here!!
Kristina is an amazing sculptor - she designed many of the ceramic horses produced by Pour Horse pottery & I've collected her work for many years. It was a real treat to see her personal collection that included many test pieces and one of a kinds and she showed me some sculptures in progress including an ultra neat Okapi (I might need one...) I also got to meet her "children" - two adorable Fjord ponies (Viking and Vral) in their fuzzy winter coats who were as friendly and curious as could be and only too happy to pose for pictures (got many "up the nose" shots!), their "moo cows" who are two wooly Highland cattle (I'd never seen those before in person and had no idea they were so tiny!) and her Chameleons including two rare melleri (I was able to get some pix of them feeding with their sticky tongues shooting out about 18 inches after crickets!). So we had a brilliant weekend looking at cool stuff, watching them work in the studio, watching movies ("House of 1000 Corpses" and "The 13th Warrior") & going out to a great Japanese steak house where the chef cooked at our table & tried very hard to juggle eggs on his spatula with limited success....
You can visit Lucas Francis Studios on the web here: http://www.lucasfrancisstudios.com/