Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Magic Rings and Mystic Bling: part 1
One-of-a-Kind Customs: 1:
Dr. Strange TV Movie - Ring

As a wrap-up, of sorts, to my past series of entries about the DR. STRANGE 01978 TV Movie, and as a lead-in to another new series of posts, I am revealing one of my prized possessions.

It's one of several "unofficial" items in my collection, and by that, I mean, it's not an official piece of merchandise or actual production piece. Instead, this is a piece that I had made custom.

As you can readily tell from my previous posts about the Dr. Strange TV movie pilot, its official swag and releases, unofficially official action figure, as well as my copiously-detailed review - I have a love for that flick that goes beyond its story.

I have a love for the assorted design that went into it.

One of the pieces that I loved the most was the ring which Stephen Strange wears.

You gotta tilt your head to the left to see it correctly.

I searched for years for the ring to see if it existed anywhere in someone's collection or on sale in a prop auction. Years. Both pre and post-internet. I still search for it to this day.

Nevertheless, one day many years ago, I figured that if the real one was out of my reach, I'd have one made for me.

The problem was, that the only copy of the film that I had, at that time, (for many years prior to my buying more copies of the film than anyone has,) was a poor quality, taped-off-of-tv, home-made tape.
Due to the poor quality of that old tape, it was nearly impossible to discern the actual design that went into the ring. And what I could see, I wasn't exactly sure I wanted in my version of the ring.

The TOP part was easy enough; the "ancient symbol of light" raised over a field of black.
However, while I was enamored with the ring in general, I wasn't too keen on their version of the "symbol of light" for the use on a ring.

I wasn't happy with having the horizontal arms of the design to be asymmetrical.
At that time, I felt it gave the ring an unbalanced look and feel.
Still, I didn't wish to deviate too far from the original, so I just adjusted the horizontal arms a little.
This tweak had an added bonus of giving my "symbol" a slight allusion to the "Eye of Agamotto".

While the film's ring is made of gold, I had my ring cast in silver (which I have always preferred).
Working from my drawings, this is what the silversmith, whom I was working with, produced as a final piece.

However, no matter how many times I watched the film, it was impossible to get a good clear view of the side of the ring. That wasn't the fault of the tape's poor quality. The simple fact is that the side of the ring was never clearly shown.

This failing of the film gave me a chance to design my own interpretation.

Looking at the top of the ring, and what little of the side was visible, it's recognizable that the nodules that encircle the edge would stretch down to become raised vertical bands.
The design problem was; what to do with those bands.

My solution: turn some of them into the arms of the "demon" seen on Strange's tunic (of his comic book costume), and add a nodule to represent the Eye of Agamotto.

Knowing that I would wear this every day, the collector / preservationist in me thought that I should have a duplicate for the collection. One to wear. One to showcase.
(This is the one that I wear. The display ring is a little tarnished and needs a cleaning to be camera ready).

Truthfully, while I love my ring(s), I think I'll next get one made that is an exact replica of the film's ring...
...or, I'll finally find the original prop ring and make it my own.


Sean Aaron said...

Very nice -- the side accents are excellent, though I do think you should have just replicated the ring from the film. Then again I like asymmetry in design...

~P~ said...

Yes. Well...NOW I feel the same way.

I can better appreciate the nuance of asymmetrical design now, nearly 2 decades since this was made.

I'll have to give a call to my old metalsmith friend and see if he's up for a re-do.

CAZ said...

Wow! Being a longtime Dr. Strange fan, having my own ring would be the best. Congrats on having your own. :)

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