Restoring the Magic: An Interview With Tom Spina From Regal Robot

The Haunted Cinema go behind the scenes of cinema restoration for an interview with Tom Spina from Tom Spina Designs & Regal Robot.

The props and costumes created for the films that we love, were never considered to be of any value to the studios after the filming was done. Consequently, many were discarded, re-purposed, or simply forgotten about. Only recently, has their value as art, historic records, and even as profit possibilities caught the attention of Hollywood. Unfortunately, many of the items from some of the greatest movies, had already begun to deteriorate from years of neglect. That’s were Tom Spina and his team come in. They rescue, resurrect, and redo these wonderful treasures. It was my pleasure to spend a few moments talking to Tom about his company.

The Haunted Cinema (THC) – You and your company have done some amazing work restoring old props and costumes, however, before we get into that, I want to know more about you and your interests. Many of fans can point to a single event, film, T.V. show, etc… that captured our imaginations and set us on the path. What was yours?

Tom Spina (TS) – King Kong and the Wizard of Oz were huge favorites of mine as a kid but it wasn’t until Star Wars came out in 1977 that things really clicked. Everything about the film just felt real… but my parents told me that everything was fake! I was so happy they did that. If it’d been real, well, then it’s not so special. Someone pointed a camera and shot a documentary. But knowing everything had been made, that meant someone had to make it… even as a little kid I thought, “I want to make stuff like that!”

THC – You are, with a doubt, the greatest authority/historian of the Star Wars Cantina aliens. The Star Wars universe is so broad, and collectors and fans focus on lots of different things; Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, light sabers, weapons, etc… What was it about that short, 10 minute scene in the Mos Eisley Cantina that caught your imagination?

TS – Ha! Quite a title to hold! I think the coolest thing about the Star Wars universe is how diverse it is and the sheer depth of that world that George Lucas and his team created. To me, the Cantina sequence exemplifies that depth like no other.
Seeing all of those monsters as a kid, and again, knowing someone made all that, absolutely blew me away. When I began to research the scene as an adult, I found layer upon layer of effort and artistry put in by dozens of talented people. Those folks became my heroes. And while we are fortunate to have a ton of photos from behind the scenes, that first film isn’t is well documented as a lot of people think, leaving quite a number of mysteries to be discovered over the years. It just keeps getting more fascinating to me.

Take the link below for the interview in full.

SOURCEThe Haunted Cinema
James is an active member of the Star Wars collecting community, and is the Brand Director for Jedi News. James is also the host of the Star Wars Collectors Cast, and co-host of RADIO 1138 on the Jedi News Network.