Over the years, History For Hire has supplied countless movies with iconic props like the life vests in “Titanic” and “The Adams Family” baby carriage.
Pam Elyea co-founded this venture with her husband in 1985 while working in the advertising industry.
“This was not my first career,” she said. “I started out working in advertising and then I found the world of props. And we’ve created a prop house that looks exactly what you would want a prop house to look like. We have everything from polar bears to postage stamps to atom bombs to Fender guitars. We’re all over the place.”
The pair started History for Hire from their Hollywood apartment and built it into a massive warehouse that provides props for blockbuster movies like the atom bombs in the three-hour biopic “Oppenheimer.”
“The amount of time and effort that goes into building these and they’re maybe on camera for two seconds,” said Remy De La Mora, who works at the prop house.
But with the entertainment industry under great strain from the ongoing Hollywood strikes, Elyea has had to make changes to give her business a chance at survival.
“When we knew this was coming up, we knew this was going to be a very protracted strike,” said Elyea. “So, we started saving earlier on because we were just coming out of the pandemic. We’ve had to lay people off. We try to find them jobs. Sometimes we’re successful, sometimes not.”
Economists estimate the Hollywood strikes could cause $5 billion in damage to the economy.
“The general weight of the strike is really starting to weigh on everyone,” said De La Mora.
History For Hire is still supplying commercials and photo shoots to help stay afloat and Elyea believes they can survive the strike, but she worries about the people who cannot weather this storm.
“One of the biggest concerns I have is that when this is resolved, you’re going to lose a lot of players who won’t be there on the other end to take us back where we were before,” she said.
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