Every Blue Velvet lovers have been probably touched by the moving scene between Dorothy Vallens and his son. In these shots, that symbolically close the film, Little Donny's "beanie hat" seems to be a symbol of purity and innocence : the ones that Dorothy's son still has, the ones that Jeffrey Beaumont has perhaps lost during the course of the picture. And now, in conjunction with the "Blue Velvet 30th Anniversary", you could get the best "Blue Velvet Birthday Gift" ever if you owned this iconic prop !
Lynchland has been horoured to be contacted by Michael Jernegan, who designed this hat for David Lynch. As Michael told Lynchland, “I had the distinct pleasure of working on the film production of "Blue Velvet" [under the name "Michael Anderson"]. I was in the art department and worked with the most amazingly creative cast, crew, director and producer ! A milestone event in all of our lives ! And for any "Blue Velvet" fans the actual beanie hat prop from the movie is for sale. I designed it (with David's specifications), I made it, and I still own it. Ready to let someone else enjoy its magic.”
If you are interested in purchasing this precious prop, please contact directly Michael on his FB page, Michael is open to your offers. He owns a "Letter of Authenticity" from Producer Fred Caruso stating that this is the prop from the film.
Michael also added that “When I was showing David, and Producer Fred Caruso, the finished hat, I noticed Fred's eyes focusing on the musical notes that run along the bottom of the hat's circumference. He smiled and said, "Those are the notes from the song Blue Velvet". Fred had been a music teacher and noticed. They were, in fact, the song notes and David was thrilled with the detail !”
In conjunction with the 30th Anniversary of Blue Velvet, Michael has also some production stories to tell us about the making of the film. Here is the first one, the lagre winged ants story :
“During production of "Blue Velvet", as the story uncovered more darkness, David wanted to expand upon the idea of insects entering people's homes. He wanted lagre winged ants crawling up the walls. This type of ant is only found in Africa, so he asked the art department if we could take wings from termites and glue them to ants. We tried but found that not enough glue and the wings fell off, and too much glue smothered the ants. So that idea was scrapped !”
The Opening Scene
“The iconic image of red roses next to the white picket fence and blue sky ; the opening scene of the movie. When we were going to film that shot it was late October in North Carolina and there were no roses available in local markets or florists. We had to have them shipped to us from an out of state flower market. When the scene was being filmed, there were two crew members holding the fence up in the air (one on either side), and another crew member holding a bucket of roses so we could create the image for the opening shot !”
“While preparing for the scene where Frank Booth is shot in the face, David wanted to know what the trajectory of brain splatter would look like. So we were asked to simulate this. We had to order a human skull from India, because they are not for sale in the US. The skull was filled with sheep brains and then this was taken to the studio back lot where a gun was fired at it. David was then able to see the distance and pattern of the brain splatter, which was "copied" for the scene of Frank's brains spread across the carpet in Dorothy's apartment.
Yes, it was a real human skull, shipped from India. A fellow art department friend recalls it was a female skull. The art department couldn't imagine it [was a real one] either, but it happened. There are so many unique stories about the making of this film that when I'm sharing them with people their mouths are usually open with shock and surprise. I don't recall David being bothered that it was a real skull. He was more interested in the splatter experiment.”
At the end of production of Blue Velvet, Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern gave each of the cast and crew members the gift of a white mug with the phrase "It's a strange world" in blue letters.
Slow Club Matchbook
“When David spoke with me about designing the sign for the Slow Club, he asked that the letters looked "slow and lazy". There is the Slow Club neon on the set exterior, and for the interior (which was a different filming location), there were menus and matchbooks.
I hand painted each of the matchbooks that were placed in ashtrays on every table. The prop is never visible in the film, but was a great added detail of ambience. The day we were filming the Slow Club scenes, David entered the set, noticed the matchbooks, scooped up a couple of them to put in his pocket for souvenirs !”
Talking about matchbooks, the exact same thing happened during the Luna Lounge shooting in Lost Highway : there were matchbooks as well, never visible either. While I was on the set, I never saw David taking these matchbooks, but you can be sure that someone "scooped up" a couple of them in his pocket : myself !
Placing the Ear
David Lynch and Blue Velvet Second Assistant Director Ian Woolf placing ants on the severed ear in a field in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1985.
Ian Woolf has shared this wonderful picture with the following great anecdot :
“We kept the ants on ice and then when we were ready placed them on the ear and as they thawed they came to life... forced suspended animation !”
Thanks a lot to Ian to have allowed Lynchland to share this gem with you !
"To my good friends and co-workers Ian and Patricia. W / L<3VE david"
More production stories to follow !