Generally, a life mask is a cast taken from the face of
a living person. Also known as a life cast these living
impressions have been used for centuries by artists working in all
mediums to capture true to life images.
Life masks are
used in motion picture and television industries to create special
effects make up. Rather than tying up an actor to sit through make
up tests, a cast is taken and used to produce the required make up
appliances. A variation is the Death Mask, again a centuries old
technique, used to record the features of dead persons.
Can I wear a Life Mask?
No. Life Masks are made as display items.
Traditionally they are solid or hollow cast in casting plaster or
stone. Life Casts from The Haunted Studios Collection™ are
exclusively cast in UltraStone™.
Are they life
size? I bought a Life Mask and it looks smaller than life
Yes, all Life Masks sold by The Haunted
Studios™ are life size. It is often surprising just how small
some actors are; a long standing tradition dating back to the stage.
Smaller actors allowed for smaller (and cheaper) sets and costumes.
Some life masks are cast from originals that are over 70 years old
and may have one to two percent shrinkage due to age but remain
essentially life size. Can I paint the masks
myself to look "life like"?
Yes, and many of
our customers do paint the casts in flesh tones. For
best results order your mask in white. All of our
life masks are available in White, Antique Gold, or Antique Silver.
Why do some Life Masks have hair and open eyes?
The Life Masks in The Haunted Studios Collection™ are all
castings from studio originals; we do not "sculpt" or "enhance" the
life masks in any way. Typically a studio will create a Life
Mask to develop special effects make up. For that purpose the
casting will not have hair or open eyes.
as illustrated above with actor Richard Boone, the studio technicians will sculpt the eyes
open or add hair. The only Haunted Studios™ Life Masks
that have open eyes or hair are the ones sculpted by the original
studios; we do NOT modify the life masks in any way.
Where do your original Life Masks come from?
Our collection began in 1963 when Ken Patterson retrieved a
number of Life Masks and original molds being discarded by Universal
Studios. Ken pulled nearly 100 masks and molds from the
dumpsters at the time Universal was "cleaning house". Over the
years we have purchased or traded to bring our collection to over
3,000 Life and Death Masks. Only a fraction are offered for
sale at any one time.
I have an original
Life Mask I want to sell. Are you interested?
We are always buying Life Masks, so if you have something to
sell please contact us at
firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you have.
How many copies of each mask are made?
Generally we produce 50 pieces from each mold, then that mold is
destroyed. Some editions may be as large as 100 pieces.
Each mask is close numbered. We use an IR ink to record the
mask number on the back of each mask. Your purchase is
registered with us and your number recorded. Often, for
popular Life Masks, we will create a new mold when the initial run
is sold out. Some masks, however, are limited to their initial
production run and once sold out are never again offered.
Do the masks come with any Certificates?
Yes, each Life Mask from The Haunted Studios™ comes with a
Certificate of Authenticity and your purchase is registered with us
and your number recorded.
Other people sell the
same masks but they cost three times as much. Why?
We have been collecting, trading, and selling since 1963.
That's 46 years. When we started a hard to find mask might
cost hundreds of dollars. When we began selling our collection
on the internet we wanted to have fair, popular prices. Most
of our "faces" are under $20. and most of our "heads" are under $30.
Our prices are fair and our quality is the best. You
can pay more for someone's recasting of our masks, but why would
Where did your Original Maltese Falcon come from?
This a long but interesting story. To start with we need to go
back to the original 1941 Warner Brothers production of The Maltese
Falcon starring Humphrey Bogart.
Surviving documents and
first person accounts confirm that director John Huston was far from
pleased when presented with the Original Maltese Falcon prop by
Warner Brothers Art Director Robert Haas. The problem with the
Falcon was that it looked new. Huston felt this inappropriate for a
piece that had been around the world many times in the hands of
More than 600 years travel should have taken
their toll, but as presented the dingus looked like it was literally
An Artist in his own right, Huston did a
number of sketches depicting how the Original Maltese Falcon should
be aged for its appearance on the screen. Following Huston's
instructions the Warner Brothers Property Department produced a
second, aged original that won the director's OK.
Property Department created lead and plaster castings while Huston
and Associate Producer Henry Blanke arranged for an outside modeler
to provide a light weight and durable resin casting.
important to know that the resin falcon is actually quite different
from the plaster and lead falcons; its head is flat and elongated,
much like a real bird. The resin dingus was used exclusively in
publicity photos and compared to the screen used castings the
difference is plain to see.
We all know what the Falcon
looked like that made it to the screen, but what happened to the
original, unaltered Maltese Falcon? That is a question that
historians have been arguing over for years.
We do know that
several plaster castings were made of the unaltered Falcon. Some
immediately disappeared into private collections, in the early 1990s
a claim was made that one had been found inside a sound stage wall
at Warner Brothers, and at least one appears to have ended up in the
hand prop room at Century Props on Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood.
That Falcon was rented in the summer of 1962 for use on The Steve
Allen Show syndicated by Westinghouse TV and taped just down the
street in the old Vine Street Theater.
The Falcon was to
have been used in a comedy sketch featuring Allen as Sam Spade, but
for reasons unknown the bit was never performed and the Falcon sat
backstage at The Steve Allen Playhouse on Vine Street in Hollywood,
never returned to Century Props.
In the summer of 1963 a new
Steve Allen Show set was installed and a general house cleaning took
place. Ken Patterson, then a teenager, spent most of the summer
hanging out at the studio, having been introduced to the crew by
Talent Coordinator Jerry Hopkins. When the old set was coming down
Patterson was given a truck load of "trash" including the plaster
casting of The Original Maltese Falcon.
With help from his
friend sculptor Vito Paulekas Ken produced the first Studio 303™
mold from The Falcon. Within days he had sold the first copies
through a collector's book shop just off of Hollywood Blvd. This
Original Maltese Falcon has been offered for sale by The Haunted
Studios™ continuously since 1963.
In 2008 The Haunted
Studios™, in association with Studio 303™, for the first time
offered a "screen accurate" version of The Original Maltese Falcon
to honor the 45th Anniversary of our offering of The Original
The 45th Anniversary Falcon was
created by applying hand burnishing and aging techniques to a cast
of the first Haunted Studios Original Maltese Falcon™ in order to
achieve a Screen Accurate replica with an authenticated history. Our
Falcon stands 12" tall is resin cast with a weighted bottom and has a shipping weight of
is the difference between Studio 303 and The Haunted Studios?
This is really a chicken or the egg question. Ken
Patterson, the Curator of The Haunted Studios Collection™ grew up in
Hollywood California in the 1960s. This was a time of great change in
the entertainment industry as well as society in general.
Throughout the 1960s studios were "cleaning house". Not only
were they letting go of long time contract employees, but they were
cleaning out old storerooms and lofts. Decades worth of old
effects prop molds, Life Masks, and sets were on their way to the
land fills of Los Angeles.
Starting in 1963 Ken "mined" a
sizeable collection of celebrity Life Masks. Whenever Ken
would show the collection the immediate reaction was amazement and
"I want one!". Life Masks were not well know as they are
today. They were collected and traded, but only by
entertainment insiders and were highly valued prizes.
been kicking around the name The Haunted Studios™ ever since
hearing the story of an old sound stage on Santa Monica Blvd that
was supposed to be haunted by the ghost of Rudolph Valentino.
Ken began using the Haunted Studios™ name for a number of projects
in 1963, including the sale of castings of Life Masks and The Original
Noted sculptor Vito Paulekas was a close
friend of Ken's and helped with the very first molds made from the
original Life Masks. The Haunted Studios™ production
Studio 303™, is named in honor of Vito, the address of his Hollywood
art studio was 303 North Laurel Avenue.
To make a long story
short, Studio 303™ makes them and The Haunted Studios™ sells them!
Can I get
one of your life masks cast in bronze or other metal?
Yes, but it is quite expensive. Foundry costs vary from
mask to mask, but the fees are always several hundreds of dollars
just for the casting process. Hot (foundry) cast life masks
are quoted on an individual basis. For more information email
Can I buy your items
wholesale for my shop or website?
Yes, all of our
items are available wholesale, and the majority offer a progressive
quantity discount. For more information on how to set up an
account just click on the Wholesale information link below our
banner or click here.
Processing Policy, Options, and Information
Haunted Studios Group(tm) currently offers FedEx and USPS
exclusively for shipping both domestic and international purchases.
You may choose any FedEx or USPS shipping option available to
your delivery address upon checkout. The second page of checkout
allows you to see all available shipping options, and make your
final selection, prior to payment. All shipping prices are provided
by the FedEx or USPS servers and are based upon weight and size of
your combined order.
You make the decision on shipping speed
[Home Delivery, 2nd Day Air, USPS Parcel Post, Priority Mail,
Express Mail etc] but keep in mind that many of our items are solid cast
UltraStone(tm) and have considerable weight. All light resin
casts have lower shipping costs. The faster the
delivery the higher the shipping cost.
All items are shipped
fully insured again loss or damage.
Depending upon your delivery address we offer both FedEx and USPS for
international shipments, but we strongly recommend USPS.
Always select a USPS option
for the lowest cost and fast dependable delivery without additional
customs agency charges.
are shipped fully insured again loss or damage.
Processing Speed Options
Most items allow you to select between Standard, Rush, and
Guaranteed Same Day
processing. Standard processing orders typically ship within
seven business days of payment processing. Rush processing moves your
order to the top of the queue and typically process for shipping
within 72 hours of payment processing. Guaranteed Same Day
Processing will process shipping the same day order is placed. Items located in our
California warehouse may take an additional five business days to
before 11 AM PT with Guaranteed Same Day Processing will ship
process for shipping the same day
or your processing fee will be refunded.
Because each Rush processing item is individually expedited the fee
is charged on a per item basis, not per order.
If you have any questions
regarding shipping please contact our Shipping Manager, George Fine,
For more information
Ken Patterson's Haunted Studios™ are known world wide for a rare
collection of props and Life Masks of the greatest stars of
motion pictures and television. We started this collection in
the early 1960s, and have been adding to it ever since.