Day 6

The producers behind Veep and Colony celebrate Hollywood collectibles in a new podcast

David Mandel and Ryan Condal are known for their work on shows like Veep, Seinfeld and Colony. Now, they have a new podcast about film and TV memorabilia. They tell Day 6 about their most prized props in their collections.

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of is about all things props, from stormtrooper helmets to fake guns

Podcast hosts David Mandel and Ryan Condal have extensive personal prop collections, including one of Conan the Barbarian's swords, top right, and a Batman cowl from Tim Burton's 1989 production, bottom right. (Rooster Teeth, Ryan Condal)

After years writing for Seinfeld, SNL and Curb Your Enthusiasm, David Mandel knows what a good screen prop is worth — both in terms of sentimental and financial value.

But when the sets came down after the final season of Veep, the sitcom's famed showrunner and executive producer left one crucial collectible behind: Selina Meyer's iconic lipstick.

He didn't realize the oversight until the tube showed up for sale at a public auction.

"I kid you not, it was the most expensive item in the auction," Mandel told CBC Radio's Day 6. "Somebody else wanted it very, very badly. And it cost me $5,000 to get my own lipstick back, basically."

Mandel shares that story and many more like it in his new podcast The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of, a project he launched this week with friend and fellow prop collector Ryan Condal, co-creator of the TV series Colony and the forthcoming Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon.

The 12-part podcast offers a deep look at the history and lasting popularity of Hollywood prop collecting — starting with a peek at the hosts' own impressive stockpiles of memorabilia.

David Mandel's prop collection includes Leonard Nimoy's Mr. Spock tunic and pants from the original Star Trek series. (Submitted by David Mandel)

These days, Mandel figures the lipstick is his favourite prop. But he's gone to even greater lengths to track down other items, including calling up a private investigator to help him locate a set of rare Star Wars memorabilia posters.

"A couple of weeks later, she calls me back and basically goes, 'Here, here's his number. He's waiting for your call and he thinks it's hilarious,'" Mandel said. "So, you know ... you do crazy things to find this stuff, especially ... the pieces you have to have."

According to Condal, those sorts of tales have become less common over the last decade, as prop collecting has morphed into a mainstream hobby.

"I think it's really become harder to track down stuff from the old productions that everybody wants stuff from, because this used to be kind of a secret sort of underground hobby," he said.

"It's just getting harder and harder. That's not to say that things don't appear ... They do. They just usually come out in the form of an auction."

Comedy writer and Veep showrunner David Mandel, left, is a prolific prop collector. So is Ryan Condal, right, whose most prized prop is one of Conan the Barbarian's swords from the 1982 film. (Submitted by David Mandel, Submitted by Ryan Condal)

Auction or not, few prop collectors have the kind of set access that Mandel and Condal have.

So, is becoming a high-profile writer and director still the best way to start a prop collection?

"I would say it's not a bad idea if you can do it," Condal joked. "You know, creating the sequel to one of the biggest television shows in history is a fantastic way to start."


Written and produced by Annie Bender.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now