Cinematic Moments Remembered at Hollywood Wardrobe Connection | New
MAYSVILLE Jeff Castillo said his business is constantly evolving.
Jeff and his wife, Tammy, own the Hollywood Wardrobe Connection on East Second Street in Maysville. They sell clothing, shoes and recognizable items worn by main actors, extras and musicians in movies, TV shows or in concert.
âIt started in memories, strictly memories,â said Jeff Castillo. “Strictly props and costumes recognizable by specific actors from movies, and we’ve been doing this online, only online for direct sale and auction since 2003.”
Hollywood Wardrobe Connection is a division of Castillos’ other company, Icons of Pop Culture. The difference: The former sells clothes and other items to the public, while the latter auctions memorabilia online to collectors, investors and museums.
The Castillos opened their store in Maysville in early October, but have been in the clothing business for three years and souvenirs for 20 years. There is a wide range of sizes, including a dress Martina McBride wore in concert, a dress from the canceled TV series “LA’s Finest” and size XXL or larger shirts from Kevin James.
Accessories you can see in the shop include the “Verdell” dog food bowl from the 1997 movie “As Good As It Gets”, posters from “Friends” and other shows and movies; and part of a glove used in the 1980s “The Empire Strikes Back.”
The Castillos frequently went to conventions in search of Star Wars posters. A favorite memory: the 1987 convention in Los Angeles to celebrate the film’s 10th anniversary.
âWe ended up in an auditorium where Anthony Daniels, the guy who played C-3PO, was going to do a presentation, Q&A, and then free autographs for everyone in the auditorium,â Castillo said. “â¦ He walked out with one of his costumed hands, and everyone went crazy.”
âYou can see that it has seen better days and that all the metal components are missing. After (Daniels) wears it for a few days and it cracks, they pull it out and remove all the pieces of metal, apply them to another hand, and throw that one in the trash.
Tammy Castillo has deep roots in Maysville – her father, Ray Johnson, once worked at the Russell Theater, which opened in 1930 and is available for weekly film screenings. He still lives in Maysville.
Relocating the business to Mason County was a joint decision.
âI thought we could still do it using the internet,â Tammy Castillo said.
Among the items you see on the brick walls of the store are posters of the iconic âFriendsâ TV show.
âPeople want a part of the show,â Tammy Castillo said.
The Castillos were teenagers in West Palm Beach, Florida, when they met on October 26, 1985 at a Boynton Beach mall. Ms. Castillo was a receptionist at a recently opened record store.
Of course, their first date involved a movie – âOnce Bittenâ from 1985 with Jim Carrey, Karen Kopins, Lauren Hutton and the late Cleavon Little.
You might be wondering: Did Tammy Castillo think Jeff was a trap?
âYeah, yeah, he was,â Tammy said. âHe looked nice. I said, ‘Why don’t you shoot?’ “
Jeff Castillo’s memories began on May 27, 1977.
âI was 9 when ‘Star Wars’ came out, and it blew me away,â he said. âI was obsessed with it; anything I could get my hands on – books, tapes, records, photos, maps, everything. I lined my room with this stuff.
The Castillos get their inventory from the studios after a show is canceled, a movie ends production, or items are removed. Which means they are not fooled into buying fakes.
âOnce we get it, we take it out of the boxes and decide its path,â Jeff said. âIf it’s recognizable, if it’s something Brad Pitt wore, it’s up for auction online. If it’s something worn by extras, background characters, or unused by main characters, it will go to the floor here in the store or online for direct sale.
Tammy Castillo said the “Friends” posters were her favorite items, mainly because the series was her favorite.
âI watch it every day, again,â she said.
The business nearly closed in 2010 after the death of Jeff Castillo’s brother Ron.
âWe almost threw in the towel when that happened,â Castillo said. âWhen he passed away, we were still just making memories; we were doing showcases for everything we were selling, basicallyâ¦ I have the very last showcase that (Ron) built.
âIt was huge. This loss was devastating; is still.”
The Castillos don’t chase the cast, but they do remember one: Thomas F. Wilson, who played Biff, Griff and Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen in the “Back to the Future” trilogy of films.
âTom Wilson was doing a comedy in Miami; I wanted to meet him and get his autograph, just to say hello, âCastillo said.
The Castillos have a good sense of humor. They acquired props from the TV series “Breaking Bad” – along with buckets of fake medicine.
âI’m going to take some little bags and put a sign on the windows that says ‘Meth’,â he said.
The Castillos once thought that collecting memorabilia was just a hobby. They were wrong – but they don’t mind.
âThis hobby will keep you on your knees, and it won’t let you breathe or think about anything else,â Castillo said. âIt always brings me to my knees. “
RAY SCHAEFER is a freelance writer living in Maysville.