I was able to preview the upcoming Disney+ series “Prop Culture”, which is from collector Dan Lanigan. He hosts this incredibly entertaining docuseries that premieres on May 1st, 2020. When I first heard of “Prop Culture”, I was expecting a dry show focusing on props. What I have found after previewing some episodes – I did receive all eight to watch – is a fantastic journey though some of my favorite films, not just in props but in interviews, stories and history. It reminds me of when I reviewed the book “Eat Like Walt”, which sounds like it is all about food but it isn’t. “Prop Culture” certainly has props but there is so much more to it. Each episode of “Prop Culture” is approximately 30 minutes and is like a road trip through films that include “The Muppet Movie”, “Tron” and “Mary Poppins”. This will be my second favorite series on Disney+ now after “The Imagineering Story”.
All photos provided by Disney
To begin with, Lanigan is an amiable host – think like if Josh Gad was hosting. He is a fan himself and it makes the show more fun. Lanigan also allows the spotlight to shine on those he speaks with and the props that are being featured.
I started first with “The Muppet Movie” episode, which is the last of the eight episodes. Originally, “Prop Culture” was to be a weekly show, but all the episodes will drop at the same time. I expected this episode to be my favorite because I watched “The Muppet Movie” as a child in a theater and have a great fondness for it. This 30 minutes of “Prop Culture” was so special. We get to see how Kermit rode his bike; we see the Studebaker and learn about it while at the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana – and there are some wonderful interviews as there are in each show, including with Brian Henson. There aren’t really a ton of props left from the original film – nor a lot of costumes, which are often reworked so they can be used again (but some do exist). And the ending of this show is sweet. I don’t want to give away all the interview subjects and outcomes, because it is fun to have an element of suprise.
I also didn’t watch all of each episode because I want something to see for the first time on May 1st. But some other wonderful moments include Richard Sherman talking about how the song “Feed the Birds” came about and he plays it; Dee Dee Wood, the choreographer for “Mary Poppins” talking about working on the film and about Walt; and Christopher Lloyd and Kathleen Turner talking about Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
While “Prop Culture” is going to drop all at once, I don’t recommend watching them all at one time. After “The Muppet Movie”, I watched parts of a number of other episodes and felt like one at a time would be best – savor one episode for a while, and then move on to the next one a day or so later. And that is from someone who usually binge watches TV shows.
Each episode will connect with viewers in different ways – “The Muppet Movie” is probably going to be my favorite, but I look very much forward to watching “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and other episodes. The Dee Dee Wood interview is very emotional and you might have a few tears during the “Mary Poppins” episode. Lanigan spent time with artists Kevin Kidney and Andreas Deja and so many other talents you may recognize. There is much to enjoy about “Prop Culture” and I look forward to continuing to continuing my own journey with it on Disney+ on May 1st. I did have the opportunity to be part of a group phone call with Lanigan and will be talking about that as well next week.
Mousesteps grade for “Prop Culture”: A