When Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) croaked his request for a pack of Red Apples in Pulp Fiction, the brand was cemented not only in the collective imaginations of film geeks across the globe, but across the span of Tarantino’s universe. We see them in Mia Wallace’s hand, on a table between Pumpkin and Hunny Bunny, on the dashboard of a car in From Dusk Till Dawn, on the bellhop’s desk in Four Rooms, and on an advertisement in Kill Bill.
The brand even bleeds over into Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, making a brief cameo on a tiny sign in front of a convenience store. (Apparently, Tarantino was dating Romy & Michele star Mira Sorvino at the time.)
Both the Red Apple and Big Kahuna Burger brands – the latter to be covered later – were creations of longtime Tarantino friend, art department employee, and former video rental store colleague Jerry Martinez. The two old comrades clearly have similar sensibilities, as Martinez penned a book entitled What It Is, What It Was: The Black Film Explosion of the 70′s in Words and Pictures. He’s really gotten around in Hollywood since his days of stocking shelves at Manhattan Beach Video. Tarantino even made him Vice President of Marketing for the short-lived niche production house Rolling Thunder Films, which is an object lesson on why it pays to be good to your workmates – even the eccentric, melon-headed, hyperactive ones. No offense, Q.
In the course of researching this entry I began to wonder how exactly a props master goes about designing an imaginary cigarette brand. Being that I’m no Adobe Illustrator slouch myself, I thought I’d disassemble an ancient pack of Parliaments I had lying around and try to create a DIY template. It turned out to be easier than I thought.
Click here to download the Adobe Illustrator CS3 template. If you use this for any of your own idosyncratic brands, be sure to share your work!