Recently, a colleague here at L. & J.G. Stickley was excited to point out our Mission-style Orchard Street Sofa in a new “Dr. Rick” commercial from Progressive Insurance. It was just the latest installment of “Spot the Stickley,” an informal game we play when we find Stickley or Mission–style pieces on television or in the movies. Making the game easier is the fact that Arts and Crafts furniture—from Gus and Leopold originals to today’s Mission—has been a popular choice among set designers since Hollywood’s early years! [image 4 large]
The beginnings of Arts and Crafts popularity in the early 1900s coincides with a golden era of old Hollywood, so it’s not uncommon to see pieces by Stickley or its competitors in films starring the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Fatty Arbuckle. For example, in one Chaplin short film produced by Mack Sennett, titled The Star Boarder (1914), a Mission dining chair strongly resembles a distinctive Rabbit Ear chair found in an early Gustav Stickley catalog from 1901. [images 5 & 6 side by side, medium]
Much later in the 1980s, the popularity of Mission design was again on the rise, and Alfred and Aminy Audi, owners of L. & J. G. Stickley, reissued the Mission Collection to great success in 1989. At around the same time, collectors of Arts and Crafts included Hollywood figures like Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Richard Gere, Penny Marshall, and Brad Pitt. The 1990s saw a boom in the use of Stickley and similar Arts and Crafts furnishings in movies and television. Films like Dead Again (1991), The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (1992), and A River Runs Through It (1992) put Stickley furniture front and center. [images 7, 8, and 9, large (these can be stacked instead of side by side!)]
Another Stakeout (1993), starring Mission-enthusiast Richard Dreyfuss, not only used Stickley but worked its presence into the script. You can also spot Stickley in The Santa Clause (1994), Faithful (1996), the 90s sitcom Mad About You, and many other works of that decade. [images 10 & 11, large]
While some productions may simply shop for the furniture they need, budgets often dictate that they look for loaner pieces. An art director or production representative, knowing the look they want to achieve, will reach out to Stickley’s marketing department to see what’s available to lend, lease, or purchase. From a list of options that we provide, the designers make their selections and sign a loan-lease agreement. Often, most or all pieces are sold, as was the case with A River Runs Through It. What is not purchased must be returned in good condition—at which point Stickley will sell these gently used pieces as clearance items.
[image 12 large]
Today, the era of “prestige TV” has seen a renewed interest in Stickley. In the Kevin Costner western Yellowstone (2018), look closely to see a former Stickley product, the Gus Settle Bed, as the centerpiece of his character’s bedroom. Even more recently, representatives from the new mini-series The Time Traveler’s Wife (2022) reached out to us, and now the results can be seen on HBO MAX. Pay attention to the home of Clare’s parents, furnished with our Keyhole Trestle Table and Spindle Dining Chairs, as well as a Park Slope Cocktail Table and Park Slope Console Table. [images 13 & 14, large side by side]
Reality television and DIY shows have, not surprisingly, created opportunities for Arts and Crafts to be featured. The series Restored by Brett Waterman, produced for HGTV over several seasons, includes a number of Craftsman-style restoration projects in California, and we worked with our west-coast dealers to provide pieces from our Mission, Harvey Ellis, and Pasadena Bungalow collections. [images 15, 16, 17 medium side by side]
You never know where furniture as iconic and distinctive as ours will turn up on your screens. Don’t be surprised the next time Stickley has a starring role in your evening’s entertainment!
[image 18 large]
Mrs. Aminy I. Audi, CEO and Chair of the Board
Amanda Clifford, Director, The Stickley Museum
Matt Targett, Marketing Director
Progressive Insurance “Dr. Rick: Cleanse”
Reif, Rita. “If Stickley was Hertz, then Limbert was Avis.” New York Times, October 29, 1995.
Restored with Brett Waterman
Stickley in “Mad About You”