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A long and 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 published first person accounts confirm that director John Huston was far from pleased when presented with the first prop, a recasting of the stylized Falcon previously used in the 1931 Warner's production of The Maltese Falcon, by Art Director Robert Haas. The problem with the Falcon was that by 1941 its smooth Art Nuevo lines looked dated and too feminine as can be seen in the photo below. Moreover the prop looked new, and Huston felt this inappropriate for a piece that had been around the world many times in the hands of greedy men. More than 600 years travel should have taken their toll, but as presented the prop looked like it was literally made yesterday.
This is really a chicken or the egg question. Ken Patterson, the founder and Curator of The Haunted Studios Collection™ grew up in and around 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 bought and sold, consolidated, or closed and there was a great deal of cleaning house going on. Not only were they letting go of long time contract employees, 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 landfills of Southern California.
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.
Ken had been kicking around the name The Haunted Studios™ 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 Real Maltese Falcon™.
Noted sculptor Vito Paulekas was both friend and mentor to Ken and helped with the very first molds made from the original life masks and of course the Falcon. The Haunted Studios™ production division, 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!
Yes, all Haunted Studios™ products are made in America by Studio 303™. In producing our resin castings we use only products made in America. Our shipping boxes are also made in America. Whenever possible we choose American made components for everything we make.
Your purchase from The Haunted Studios™ collection comes with an unconditional satisfaction guarantee. If you are not happy with your purchase it may be returned for a full refund of your purchase price including original shipping charges. This no fault return policy does not require you to say why your item is unsatisfactory, the only requirement is that your purchase be returned in as new condition. Items returned with missing or damaged components may be subject to a restocking fee at our sole discretion.
Special order items as well as our lead filled heavyweight Falcons will be subject to a restocking fee. Insured return shipping is the responsibility of the buyer. Import duties, fees, and taxes collected by your country of residence may be refundable, you would need to contact your local agency directly.
In addition to our no fault guarantee, all shipments are full insured against loss or damage in transit and in the event of this damage or loss there is no restocking fee. In the event of damage or loss in transit refunds may be paid directly by our carrier.
depending upon what is available you may choose any USPS or FedEx shipping option available to your delivery address upon checkout. Our shipping estimate system allows you to see all available shipping options, and make your final selection, prior to checkout. All shipping prices are provided by the USPS and FedEx online servers and are based upon combined weight and size of all items in your order.
You make the decision on shipping speed (USPS Parcel Post, Priority Mail, Express Mai, FedEx Home Delivery, 2nd Day Air, etc.) plus our products are all cast in lightweight resin that yields lower shipping costs than our previous stone casts. The faster the delivery the higher the shipping cost as you might expect. All items are shipped fully insured again loss or damage.
depending upon your delivery address we offer both USPS and FedEx 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 associated with FedEx.
We include an invoice in the customs pouch for all international shipments as required by postal regulations. The lowest cost international shipping rate, First Class International, is limited to a total weight of 4 LBS. All international items are shipped fully insured again loss or damage. Import duty in the country of delivery is additional and payable by buyer per the laws of country of delivery.
Processing Speed Options
Our production system allows you to select Standard, Rush, or Guaranteed Same Day processing. Standard processing orders typically ship within five business days of payment processing. Rush processing moves your order to the top of the queue and typically process for shipping within 48 hours of payment processing.
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 have been 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. In recent years the advent of 3D printers have made possible a kind of digital life mask by teaming a digital scan of a person’s head with the new 3D printing technology to produce a kind of “touch less” life mask.
A variation is the death mask, again a centuries old technique, used to record the features of dead persons.
In 2015 we began the process of slowing our sales of life masks. There were a number of reasons for our decision; several of our license agreements were ending, over 100 of our life masks were due for new silicone molds, and, finally, we just grew weary of the shrill tone of other sellers. We will, however, continue to offer a limited selection of our most requested masks.
We sold our first life masks in 1963 and were the leading source, worldwide, for museum quality life masks until we ended production in 2015. But time marches on and none of us are as young as we used to be, and 52 years of sales was long enough. We have now reduced from several hundred to just a few life masks at any one time to concentrate on production and sales of our Original Maltese Falcon™ and 1941 Screen Accurate Maltese Falcon™.
Special releases of life masks have taken place during the Halloween and Christmas holiday seasons and we hope to continue these seasonal releases in the future.
No. Life Masks are made as display pieces. Traditionally life masks are solid or hollow cast in plaster or stone. Life Casts from The Haunted Studios Collection™ are exclusively cast in lightweight resin.
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.
Yes, many of our customers paint the casts in flesh tones. For best results order your mask in white and use any good quality oil or acrylic paint. All of our life masks are available in White, Antique Gold, or Antique Silver.
The Life Masks in The Haunted Studios Collection™ are all cast 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.
Other times, 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.
Our collection began in 1963 when Ken Patterson saved a number of life masks and original molds being discarded by Revue, the then television production division of 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 life masks to bring our collection to over 3,000 Life and Death Masks. Only a fraction have ever been offered for sale at any one time.
No, sorry, as of 2015 we have stopped adding to our collection.
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 closed 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.
Yes, each Life Mask from The Haunted Studios™ comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and your purchase is registered with us along with your mask’s production number.
The short answer is greed. Charge whatever the market will bear. That was not our way however. We have always offered a great product at a more than fair price.
We have been collecting, trading, and selling life masks since 1963. That's over 50 years. When we started, a hard to find cast might cost hundreds of dollars (remember those are 1960s dollars!). When we began selling our collection on the internet we wanted to have fair, popular prices. Most of our "faces" are under $50 and most of our "heads" are under $100.
No, sorry, we discontinued foundry casting of life masks in 1999.
I met Conrad Brooks in 1996 at the time I was planning a relaunch party for Absolute Post, a Burbank California based television post production house. We had just completed a facility wide upgrade and had added two new digital graphics and effects suites.
Because our relaunch was happening in October I came up with the Haunted House Party idea. With assistance from my good friend Allen Skinner we were able to trace original Ed Wood stars and horror icons Maila Nurmi, aka Vampira, and Conrad Brooks, aka The Gielgund of bad films, and obtained their participation in our party. Guests had their pictures taken with Vampira and Brooks supplied many posters, lobby cards, and photos that were to have been used at the party.
Due to conflicts with other members of the management team we were unable to make use of Brooks’ memorabilia at the party but I did purchase several hundred vintage, original photographs and lobby cards from him. Many of the items had been given to Brooks by Bela Lugosi, a fellow Ed Wood star and friend.
In 2018 we began the process of digitizing the collection and
will be offering the first items in 2019 exclusively here on our
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