Ring in 2017 With These TV Countdown Parties
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Left for dead in season 1, Merle reappeared two seasons later — with a badass accessory. ''We came up with a Russian bayonet to put on after the arm was built,'' says prop master John Sanders of the limb developed for Merle by F/X-makeup guru Greg Nicotero. ''It turned out to be a great piece.''
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THE SHERIFF HAT
''They don't make it anymore,'' says Womble of Rick's iconic hat, which he later gifted to Carl. ''Chandler Riggs' head is growing, so we've had to re-create it. That's been a challenge.''
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Nicotero made the ears from a mold he had in his shop. The bigger dilemma, says Sanders, was finding ''really cool'' leather for Daryl to hang them on.
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Season 1 prop master Mike Sabo introduced the walkie-talkie. ''Rick gives his last goodbye on that radio,'' says Sanders. ''It had texture and life to it. The dirt and mud say, 'This is the world moving on and on, and everything is getting beat up.'''
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The designers knew Hershel's Bible (which he's carried since season 3) had to be ''something not in the ordinary,'' explains Sanders. ''It has a significant look and design?the folded-over locking clasp could fit in your pocket. It was more personal than just a book. It's precious to him.''
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MAGGIE'S WEDDING RINGS
Sanders used an antique set he purchased 20 years ago, which proved ''a little tough'' to get on (and off) the zombie finger Glenn rips them from.
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Sanders says the original doll from season 1 had to be replicated twice for use in amped-up stunts (like zombie tramplings). ''That doll had its own life,'' he says.
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THE GOVERNOR'S EYE PATCH
A leather craftsman stitched holes in the patch. ''The brilliant part is that [David Morrissey] can actually see through it,'' says costume designer Eulyn C. Womble. ''I thought it was so clever of us.''
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Sanders' favorite prop is Michonne's signature weapon, which features an eel-skin grip (''So it won't absorb blood'') and a triple goddess symbol that matches the one on his wife's neck. The show uses four identical swords, as well as two made of rubber (for rolls or falls) and an aluminum one for ''when she hits things.''
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THE LITTLE GIRL WALKER'S BUNNY SLIPPERS
"[Those were] specifically chosen by Frank [Darabont, creator of The Walking Dead],'' costume designer Eulyn Womble says of the footwear worn by the little girl walker in the opening scene of the series. ''One thing I remember watching on set.... Remember how they were dragging? They were too small and her heels were hanging off. That was, to me, the creepiest thing.''
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''We had taken Norman [Reedus] and Andy [Andrew Lincoln] to the gun range, which also has a bow range. Norman walked around the shop? and we showed them what, at the point, was the top of the line new Stryker 380. He liked the way it looked and he really wanted it, so he had me take some pictures of him with it and text them to show runner Glen Mazzara,'' prop master John Sanders remembers of conspiring with Reedus to get a new crossbow for his character. ''It wasn?t supposed to play until season four, but he kept on Glen, so Glen decided that [season three, episode 13] was a good time to introduce it. It was going to be a Christmas gift, there was actually a line in the show where Martinez said, 'Oh, that?s a nice bow,' and Daryl goes, 'Yeah, early Christmas present.'"
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Viewers don't get to see a lot of Hershel's artificial limb, but that doesn't mean it hasn't got an interesting backstory. ''I went to Atlanta Prosthetics, here in Atlanta. Those guys have already done a few pieces for me, so I went to them and said, 'This is super secret. We have to keep this in-house and you have to sign all this paperwork,'' says Sanders. ''They knew exactly how the leg should look and gave me three different options. We needed the attachments to cover part of [Scott Wilson's] real leg when he folded it back to put it on, in case we needed to see him with it on.''
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Frank [Darabont] said Daryl was going to ride a motorcycle in season 2, I was out of practicality too with no fleece, no helmet, and no goggles, I was like, 'Please give the kid a vest!' laughs Womble. ''Often when I?m reading a script, I can actually see the people. If anything, the producers.... want [the look to be] more realistic. I would make it Mad Max if I could.''
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THE GOVERNOR'S JOURNAL
The story of the governor's log made a great ''What I did this summer'' story for one lucky intern. We were going to have David [Morrissey] do it, but it turned out he wasn?t here in time. So I had a couple of different people in my department work on it and then, in the end, one of my [production assistants] that was.... an intern out of the North Carolina School of the Arts, it was her last opportunity to do anything for the show and I wanted her to have something that when she went back to school she could [show] that she was here on The Walking Dead. She actually did the whole book — every line, every word, every letter, even the coffee stain.''
Ring in 2017 With These TV Countdown Parties