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Prop Recycling

"I actually recognize this wall. It's been redressed a number of times, most recently for a scene in the Enterprise series finale "These are the Voyages...", but it's also been used as a backdrop on a Son'a ship in Insurrection... This wall, I think, deserves an Emmy for withstanding so much crap."

The Hollywood version of "Waste Not, Want Not". When elaborate sets, costumes or props are made for one production, they may turn up again and again in other productions that may need elaborate props but don't have the budget to design and build their own.

The prop may be altered slightly by repainting it or adding or removing widgets but it usually remains recognizable, especially if the original production was well known. While an understandable cost saving measure, there's something about the practice that just screams "low budget".

Can overlap with Whole Costume Reference if the costume is recycled from an earlier work. If it's a real item, then it's Off-the-Shelf FX. For when video games reuse "models" of the polygonal kind in the same work, see You ALL Look Familiar. Compare Stock Footage, Palette Swap and California Doubling.

This is utterly ubiquitous in live theatre, so a section for this would be hopelessly long, and utterly pointless. Just take it as a given that live theatre companies save and re-use everything.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Films — Animation 
  • The folks at Pixar are fond of reusing props, sets, even whole characters from their previous movies (and even from their upcoming ones), usually as a Shout-Out, as well as for practical measures. The most famous example is the Pizza Planet delivery truck from Toy Story, which has found its way into almost every film. Other popular props include the yellow ball with the blue stripe and red star from "Luxo Jr.", as well as both Luxo lamps from the same short.
  • 101 Dalmatians
    • Two vehicles from this movie actually made a reappearance in The Aristocats: The Baduns' truck (as a milk truck the cats ride in at one point while heading back to Paris) and the moving van (as the truck that comes to pick up Edgar and take him to Timbuktu at the end of the film). These were actual physical props, painted white with "outlines" drawn on the edges, that were filmed in front of white backgrounds and photocopied onto the cels in a manner similar to Rotoscoping.
    • Cruella de Vil's car also made a brief cameo near the beginning of The Rescuers as the car Madame Medusa used to drive to the airport. Possibly an artifact of an early script where Medusa was Cruella until they rewrote the story to have a new villain.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Robby the Robot. Originally created for the 1956 film Forbidden Planet, Robby continued to be reused in many movie and TV productions up to the present day (although since the 1960s a lightweight replica has been used). Its two appearances in Lost in Space are particularly ironic in that Robby and Robot B-9 were both designed by Robert Kinoshita. Robby is so memorable that it is less a prop and more of an actual character. Along with all the sci-fi shows he turns up in, Robby also appears in, of all things, one of the NBC era Columbo episodes as a robot built by a child genius at a think tank. He's even listed on IMDB as an actual actor.
  • The uniforms from Forbidden Planet were used in the sci-fi B-Movie Queen Of Outer Space.
  • The Queen Anne's Revenge in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was built atop the ship used for the Black Pearl in the previous films.
  • The Matrix used several sets from Dark City (filmed at the same Sydney studio a few months before, and exploring some similar themes), most notably the roof-case from the teaser chase scene and the spiral staircase in the Lafayette Hotel.
  • Airplane II: The Sequel had the thing with lights that go back and forth. Seen in the background in some Sci-Fi series. Was also in an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. There is a site detailing its numerous appearances.
  • Star Wars
    • The Homestead set from A New Hope was unearthed (as in, literally disinterred from the sands of Tunisia) for Attack of the Clones.
    • Another Tatooine prop, the krayt dragon skeleton, while not re-used in filming was left there; the winds periodically bury and uncover the thing. Rumor has it that a scientist at one point mistakenly reported the thing as a newly discovered dinosaur. One can only imagine his reaction when he learned what it actually was.
    • IG-88's head was originally used as a drink dispenser in Ep. IV.
    • Darth Vader's lightsaber in Return of the Jedi is a repainted prop of Luke's saber from the previous two movies (the two props were similar, but not identical, in shape). Apparently the original prop of Vader's lightsaber was stolen.
    • Bossk's suit in The Empire Strikes Back was originally created for a human pilot in the Doctor Who story "The Tenth Planet".
  • The wrecked plane set from Scary Movie 4 is actually from the movie they were parodying, The War of the Worlds. It has also been used in at least two music videos. First by Ayumi Hamasaki for "do it again", then by Nicki Minaj and Rihanna for "Fly". In addition to that, it is part of the Universal Studios tour.
  • Likewise, the bathroom from the Saw parody was later used by the producers of Saw III to save money.
  • Mel Brooks reused Kenneth Strickfaden's original electrical equipment from the 1931 version of Frankenstein (1931) in his Affectionate Parody, Young Frankenstein. This was done not to save money but as an homage to the original film.
  • Carry On Cleo used abandoned sets from Cleopatra, which had moved its production base from London to Rome. This at least ensured that the construction costs on the original sets were not completely wasted.
  • The multiwheeled Landmaster vehicle from Damnation Alley reappeared in various movies and TV episodes, including as the "Ark" in Filmation's live-action kids show Ark II. (It almost had a better career than the human star Jan-Michael Vincent.)
  • The gate featured in the original King Kong saw multiple uses in other movies, ultimately being used as kindling in burning of Atlanta scene in Gone with the Wind.
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes reused at least two sets from Hello, Dolly.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian reused the sets from Franco Zefferelli's Jesus of Nazareth.
  • Alien:
  • Defied by 2001: A Space Odyssey: all the original props were unavailable for the sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact because Stanley Kubrick deliberately destroyed them all, along with any design notes, after filming was completed, specifically to avert this trope. The prop department for 2010 had no choice but to make replicas of everything from scratch based on examining what was visible in the film. In spite of which, the audio commentary for The Phantom Menace claims that one of the original Discovery EVA pods can be seen in Watto's scrapyard on Tatooine. More likely it's the EVA pod built for 2010.
  • Roger Corman's The St. Valentine's Day Massacre re-used sets from Hello, Dolly! and The Sound of Music. Corman actually had the resources of a studio behind him, and probably could have built new sets, but stuck to cost-saving measures out of habit.
  • The Minigun in Predator was reused in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • Back to the Future Part II reused several cars from other "futuristic" movies in its 2015 set.
  • The Phantom of the Opera
    • The chase scene at the end of the silent film version uses sets from Lon Chaney's previous film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (most notably the cathedral facade).
    • The opera stage set built for the film was reused in several pictures, including the 1943 Phantom film and the Chaney biopic Man of a Thousand Faces. And, get this, The Muppets.
  • Just Imagine, a sci-fi musical from the 1930s, had a lavish set costing a quarter million Depression-era dollars, but flopped in the theaters. Producers recouped some of their money by reusing Stock Footage of the cityscape in the Universal film serials Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, while Z-4's Rocket Plane was recycled as Zarkov's rocketship.
  • The colored "Michelin Man" spacesuits from Destination Moon were later used in cheaper sci-fi efforts like Flight to Mars, the TV series Space Patrol, and the spoof Amazon Women on the Moon. The last film also re-used an animatronic Loch Ness Monster in one of its sketches.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. A Marvin the Paranoid Android prop from the TV series was reused in a crowd scene in the 2006 movie as a Mythology Gag. Movie!Arthur notices and does a clearly visible double-take.
  • Miho's swords from Sin City were the Crazy 88's from Kill Bill.
  • Ghostbusters:
  • In Mulholland Drive, when Betty Elms arrives at the movie studio for her audition, the car from Sunset Boulevard is parked at the entrance.
  • Steve Martin's dentist instruments from Little Shop of Horrors were reused as surgical instruments for the Joker in Tim Burton's Batman.
  • The monster penis from Tromeo And Juliet is reused in Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV.
  • The armors from Starship Troopers gets around a lot...
    • Worn by the soldiers in Imposter.
    • The Gundam movie G Saviour also recycled the uniforms from Starship Troopers.
    • A few other examples below in TV series.
    • ...before finally being purchased off the used-props market to be used in Starship Troopers: Marauder. And no-doubt being sold-off again. Such is the Circle of Props.
  • Harry Potter
    • The Room of Requirement in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows recycles every set and prop from the previous movies (for instance, the giant chess pieces from the first, Snape's storage from the fourth, and the wedding decorations from part 1 of the seventh).
    • CGI example: Buckbeak's wings are re-used as the wings of the flying horses pulling the Beauxbatons carriage.
    • Speaking of Harry Potter, sections of the Diagon Alley set were redressed and rearranged for the barricade scenes in the new Les Miserables (2012).
  • The teddy bear Jack Ryan gets for his daughter at the end of The Hunt for Red October (credited as Stanley) is the same teddy bear John McClane was bringing for his kids in the first Die Hard film. Both films were directed by John McTiernan.
  • Galaxina features the Batmobile from the Adam West TV series.
  • After Gone with the Wind almost bankrupted the studios where it was filmed, the costumes and props were re-used for a not-very-good film of Pride and Prejudice. Never mind the fact that the two novels are set about 70 years apart (one circa 1790s, one in the 1850s and 60s) and the fashions were radically different, it was all the olden days, wasn't it?
  • The external and interior sets from Das Boot have been reused.
    • Steven Spielberg rented the exterior set for Raiders of the Lost Ark; someone forgot to tell the German production crew, leading to a bit of panic when they found it was missing.
    • The interior set was used for the World War I submarine U-20 in the TV movie Lusitania: Murder on the Atlantic. Interestingly, in real life, the Type VIIC of World War II and Type U-19 of World War I have similar internal dimensions.
  • In the Doris Day film Its A Great Feeling, Patricia Neal has a cameo As Herself, and she is wearing the ermine-trimmed Little Black Dress from the film of The Fountainhead (as she just came from the set of that movie to film this scene).

    Literature 
  • Frank Herbert has been known to reuse elements in his works. Chairdogs, which orignally appears in Whipping Star, are seen in Heretics of Dune. Inversely, the Galach language from Dune is reused in the ConSentiency stories.
  • Keith Laumer reused his Bolos in his Retief tales.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Ford Futura concept car was originally used in the 1959 film It Started with a Kiss. The car was subsequently transformed into the Batmobile for the 1966 Batman TV series.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: D'Hoffryn was originally dubbed "Mr. Hodgepodge" by the makeup artists because they used pieces from The Judge, a demon of Jhe, and the Rage Monster (Pete) to make him.
  • Parodied by Conan O'Brien; some time after doing a sketch that involved the use of a large animatronic whale, Conan informed his viewers that NBC had instructed him to re-use the whale in order to make up their investment on it, and thus launched "Whale Week", wherein the whale was used repeatedly in several gags each night. There was also a running joke where they kept using a costume over and over again over one season. It started out as a Giant Grub costume, then turned into a Surrendering Croissant, a Victorious Connoli, a Liposuctioned Jabba the Hutt, a pissed off kreplach, and a Beach Rock. Conan kept asking for suggestions, and even gave out a button as a prize for it.
  • Firefly:
    • The Alliance armour in the episode "The Train Job" came from Starship Troopers.
    • There were three spacesuits in Serenity's inventory on Firefly. Two were recycled from a previous space series, but the big yellow one worn by Jayne was originally Dolph Lundgren's flight suit.
    • Jayne's gun Vera originally appeared in the 2002 movie Showtime.
    • Zoe's sawn-off Winchester rifle is the same one used by Bowler in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr..
  • Power Rangers tends to use costumes from other Saban works to fit the need of the story.
  • The Twilight Zone is famous for recycling pieces of the set. Some examples:
    • The staircase can be seen in "Elegy", "The 16 Millimeter Shrine", and "The Purple Testament".
    • The fireplace, and big wooden doors are seen in numerous episodes.
    • The soda fountain seen in the pilot episode ("Where is Everybody?") is also seen in "Walking Distance".
    • The series made also multiple use of props from Forbidden Planet (see above) including the uniforms, the spaceship and Robby the Robot. One of the VFX models of the ship even turned up in the episode "The Invaders" as a miniature spaceship that threatens a woman (well, actually a full-size spaceship from Earth that a giant woman mistakes for a threat, but that's the Twist Ending).
  • Doctor Who has several examples of this. The BBC has large amounts of props and costumes in storage, so the original series has quite a few examples of prop recycling, both in show, and across other BBC series.
    • Not all of them were BBC originals in the first place; for example the BBC bought a load of ex-Gerry Anderson props in the early '70s, so one sonic screwdriver prop was from the movie Thunderbirds Are Go, and various control panels from UFO turn up occasionally up to the mid '80s.
    • This is most prominent in the late '70s and early '80s between Doctor Who and Blake's 7, where the shows shared an excessive amount of props and costumes. Romana I and Servalan wore the same white feather cloak, the guards in Frontios wore the Federation guards' helmets from B7 and certain idiosyncratic wall panels show up all the time. Of course, the series shared writers and producers as well and Terry Nation even planned a real crossover at one point. The most controversial example of this was the use of a Doctor Who Sea Devil costume for the monster in the Blake's 7 fourth season opening episode "Rescue". The Doctor Who team at the time were reportedly extremely angry that no permission had been requested (and also wouldn't have granted it).
    • Several sets constructed in Italy for HBO's Rome were reused for the episode "The Fires of Pompeii" in the new series.
    • Also, the Sontaran cloning table on which Martha was held in "The Sontaran Stratagem" is obviously made from a Cyber Conversion Unit.
    • Although it's not likely to have real significance, some fans have made a to-do over the fact that part of the rocketship seat used by Jenny at the end of "The Doctor's Daughter" is reused for Oswin's escape pod in "Asylum of the Daleks".
    • The robots in "The Mind Robber" are reused from a BBC adaptation of Isaac Asimov's short story "Reason".
    • "The Rings of Akhaten" features a large variety of alien creatures in a space market. Some of the aliens are made by combining costume pieces from many other species from the show — one in particular has the head of a Hoix, the breathing apparatus of a Hath, and the tentacle-beard of an Ood.
    • In the minisode "The Last Day", the P.O.V. Cam main character has a premonition of his or her impending disintegration by the Daleks, their face replaced by a skull. The normal Dalek disintegration effect used in the series is CGI, but the skull we see in the shot is the practical skull mask used to represent the Vashta Nerada-ised spacesuits from "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead", with the helmet part altered to Gallifreyan colours.
    • The King of Hearts outfit that the Fourth Doctor wears in his Costume Test Montage in "Robot" originates from a 1972 musical version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, although he's wearing it with the hat worn by the Knave of Hearts (presumably because of his unusually large hat size).
    • The spacesuits worn by the astronauts in "The Tenth Planet" show up again in # "The Wheel in Space" for no reason. They then got recycled in The Empire Strikes Back.
    • Clara wears a badge in "Nightmare in Silver" which was originally a Space Corps Super Infinity Fleet badge from the Red Dwarf episode "Trojan".
  • The duck lamp seen in Newman's appartment in some episodes of Seinfeld comes from the little-known 1980s sitcom The Duck Factory.
  • The Vogon spaceship interiors in the TV version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are from Alien.
  • A phone from the failed Global Frequency pilot was recycled in Smallville.
  • Babylon 5 re-used spacesuits from 2010. They didn't realize where the costumes were from at first, and did what they could to disguise them, but ultimately, they were what they were. Ironically, the second time Babylon 5 needed the 2010 spacesuits they weren't available, so they had to make new replicas anyway.
  • Stargate Verse:
    • An episode of Stargate SG-1 reused the cockpit from the execrable live-action Gundam movie G-Saviour.
    • Stargate Atlantis got most of the set from Blade: Trinity. The most prominent example is a curved bridge that shows up several times, such as in the hurricane episode.
    • The long, thin energy weapons with the ridged undersides on their grips, that taper to a point instead of having a barrel and look vaguely like emaciated vacuum cleaners, initially appeared in an early episode where SG-1 encounter a planet where two religious factions are at war over beliefs concerning their planet's Stargate. Since then, these weapons have become "that one prop", appearing in different, totally unrelated episodes over, and over, and over... until finally from mid-season 3 onwards they completely replaced the Wraith stunner rifles in Stargate Atlantis, which to begin with had original, completely different looking props.
    • The Ancient space suits from Stargate Universe originally appeared as power armor used by the rogue Asgard in one episode of Stargate Atlantis.
  • This Thing! No telling what it does, but it's shown up in V, Buck Rogers, Knight Rider, Airplane II, Alien Nation, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Last Starfighter, and several Star Trek series — just to name a few. Once you see it, you can never stop seeing it in the background! It's like the Wilhelm scream of props!
  • Battlestar Galactica:
  • Star Trek:
    • The Federation transporter pads in the various series all use parts of the original one from Star Trek: The Original Series, usually flipping it or swapping out decals. This sort of thing was done fairly often, using parts of one show's sets for the ones that follow.
    • The propmasters of all incarnations of Trek were rather quite, well, masterful at prop recycling; most props were recycled either from other shows or movies or even recycled from other episodes of any given preceding Trek incarnation including itself. Starship models, even in the CGI era, were particularly prone to this, the end result being several different alien races, separated by the entire length of the galaxy or even by centuries in some cases (or even both) used variations of the same ship design in various scales (or their medical scanner or communications relay would bear an odd resemblance to a certain race's ship). In addition, one gets the impression that Starfleet never throws anything out, with starship designs introduced in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country shown still being widely used by Starfleet a century later in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: First Contact.
    • Most of the sets from the Star Trek: The Next Generation era of Trek owe their existence to Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Almost every single subsequent starship interior, including those of Picard's USS Enterprise, USS Voyager and so on, and even Klingon ship interiors, were redresses of the Enterprise interior from that film (namely, all eponymous ships [but not stations] shared the same hallway interiors, and Klingon bridges were actually the redress of the engineering room from the film). These 30+ year old sets survived until shortly after Star Trek: Voyager wrapped up, in which they were destroyed by having accidentally been left out in the rain; some were painstakingly recreated for the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise.
    • This site has a massive list of re-used Trek props, sets, make-up, etc. Just scroll down and click on anything that starts with "Re-Used". These bad boys (a.k.a. the Blinky double tube that serve no purpose) have to be the patron saint of recycled props.
    • This also occurs with special effects and models. A Retcon was made to justify why both Klingons and Romulans had the same D-7 Battle Cruiser, just so they could reuse the model. The Voyager episode "Dragon's Teeth" has a series of subspace corridors that was simply a different color and miscellaneous debris thrown into the quantum slipstream drive effect. In the Voyager episode "Warlord", they reused a ship model from the Next Generation episode "Unification". And especially as the series tilted towards CG ships, many different ships were recolored, resized and/or slightly modified from prior CG models to save time and money.
    • In Star Trek: The Original Series they sent out some people to go get unusual salt and pepper shakers for the mess hall scenes, so to look "futuristic". The ones they got were rejected because it was decided this would just confuse the viewers and they wound up using normal looking ones. The weird ones were moved to the sick bay and became advanced tech medical instruments.
    • The bombardier-like window of a spacecraft in one episode of Star Trek: Enterprise was reused as a portal to the Xindi aquarians the following season.
    • A piece of Borg debris in the episode "Regeneration" was a spare Enterprise-E saucer section left over from Star Trek: Nemesis.
    • An example that has gone unnoticed for decades: Paramount altered Col. Philip Green's jumpsuit from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Savage Curtain" into Mork's spacesuit. Ya rly. And that's not the only thing they recycled... This is also a bit of hilarious irony to Star Trek fans, since Col. Philip Green is, in the Star Trek universe, the 21st century answer to Hitler, who organized the extermination of 30 million radiation-mutated people and was a symbol of xenophobic sentiment for centuries.
    • Another bit from Star Trek: The Original Series to show up on Mork and Mindy was the spacesuit from "The Tholian Web". Mindy's dad showed up wearing it in one episode.
    • In the Next Generation episode "Pen Pals", the spectral analyzer used by a survey team in one scene is in fact the Oscillation Overthruster from Buckaroo Banzai. This may have been a shout-out, as prop-master Michael Okuda was a huge BB fan.
  • Eureka uses props from Stargate and Stargate Atlantis, especially in the realm of "futuristic" weaponry. Most noticable is a triple-barreled assault rifle first used by the Genii and Satedan against the Wraith, shows up in Eureka with Jo the police woman holding it.
  • The Outer Limits, an anthology series, does this with their own props so much you can practically make a drinking game of it.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • The franchise has recycled settings several times the last couple of series. That river under the bridge? The construction site full of concrete pipes? That building with all the windows? Tokusatsu in general is kind of bad about this. Despite every Kamen Rider and Super Sentai series supposedly using a distinct set of enemies and for the most part being distinct some costumes have clearly been used in at least a dozen series over the years. There's one in particular (yellowy brown with lots of spiky appendages sticking out) that seems to have been used at least once every couple of years since the early nineties.
    • Kamen Rider Decade has this built right in naturally. Decade can turn into past Riders, Diend can summon copies of them, and visiting Alternate Universe versions of past series allowed the re-use of Rider and Monster of the Week costumes and props. In a smaller example, Diend's card holder originally belonged to Kamen Rider Zeronos, the only change being a small disc with Diend's logo being put on the front.
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki borrows the masks of the Kinclons / Skugs.
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is another Toku example in that one set of Mooks is togged out in long robes and hoods over some very familiar masks: the Golem Hei/Putty Patrollers from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger/Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
  • Moonlight and Heroes shared a set involving a large sign and associated metalwork on top of a building.
  • Remote Control used game stage props from earlier seasons as decorations in the Studio Audience section in later seasons; the show also used props from Finders Keepers on the set.
  • The Family Channel may take the cake for prop recycling for three game shows they aired in 1994; Boggle, Shuffle, and Jumble. All three of them used the exact same glass tiled walls, contestant podiums, and telephone keypad set piece, redressed each time in an attempt to make each show look unique. The props weren't all that got recycled; all three also shared the same music package, sound effects, host, and announcer.
  • The Munsters episode "If It's a Martian, Hang Up" features a gag at the end of the episode in which one of the alien suits from the original The Outer Limits makes a cameo appearance.
  • The producers of UHF struck a deal with KOED-11, the PBS station (part of a statewide network) in Tulsa to build a news set in their studio. The Tulsa station used the set for their own broadcasts for a couple years afterward.
  • The Cold War Day of the Jackboot mini-series Amerika has the Dirty Communists flying over the United States in helicopters reused from Blue Thunder. Except they're no longer blue.
  • Most of the set from the failed 2001 revival of Card Sharks was reused for Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck, as was announcer Gary Kroeger.
  • Ultra Series:
    • One of Ultraman's earliest monster battles was against Jirass, a monster that was very clearly a old Godzilla costume painted green and a neck frill added. Said frill is ripped off very early in the fight, presumably because the scriptwriters knew they wouldn't be fooling anybody.
    • Other monster costumes were also recycled.
  • In season 25, Wheel of Fortune introduced a special electronic wedge called the Big Money Wedge, which featured neon and a video screen that alternated among dollar amounts. When it was retired at the end of the season, the wedge was recycled for a redesign of the Jackpot Wedge.
    • For a few casino-themed weeks in the mid-2000s, they replaced the usual video wall behind the contestants with a giant replica of a slot machine that featured three video walls for tumblers. This prop was recycled in 2006 when a pilot was shot for a revival of The Jokers Wild, but said pilot was not picked up for series.
  • The Love Boat literally will not "be taking another run". It was scrapped (recycled!) in March of 2012.
  • At the end of the Charmed pilot episode "Something Wicca This Way Comes", Prue is seen holding the same newspaper from Mrs. Doubtfire, where Daniel Hillard gets his eponymous alias from.
  • Another (or possibly the same?) prop newspaper has been used for decades. Recently someone noticed that Ed O'Neill was reading it in Married... with Children and is still reading it in Modern Family.
  • The Submarine set in the JAG episode "Shadow" was the one built for the movie Crimson Tide.
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century:
    • Uniforms belonging to Viper pilots on Battlestar Galactica are worn by guards in the episode, "Cosmic Whiz Kid".
    • The land vehicle that resembles a tank/personnel carrier from Battlestar Galactica is used in the pilot movie.
  • In the episode "Hollywood Babylon" of Supernatural, the set of of the horror movie Hell Hazers II: The Reckoning has items from other Supernatural episodes including the water tower from "Crossroad Blues" (S02, Ep08) and the cabin from "Roadkill" (S02, Ep16).
  • A skit in The Basil Brush Show where Basil attempts to scale the Himalayas, is saved by a Yeti from an avalanche and then they all have a Dance Party Ending uses the Yeti suit from the Second Doctor Doctor Who serial "The Web of Fear". Because of this, it's available as a special feature on the DVD release of another Second Doctor serial, "The Mind Robber".
  • In Queer as Folk, Stuart buys Vince a replica of the Doctor Who Robot Buddy K-9 in an attempt to buy his affection, and it plays a prominent MacGuffin role in the last couple of episodes. The replica is the BBC's actual K-9 prop.
  • The BBC's 1980s adaptation of Miss Marple, in "4.50 From Paddington", has one of the main characters dressed in the distinctive red polka-dot velvet smoking jacket that the Fourth Doctor wore in "The Talons of Weng-Chiang".

    Music Videos 

    Pinballs 

    Puppet Shows 
  • On Sesame Street, the train prop used in "The Ballad of Casey McPhee" would be re-used in the "Beat the Time" skit with Cookie Monster.
  • Of course, with puppets, producers are not just restricted to recycling things. They can recycle characters — a quick dye job, switch out the eyes, put the head onto a differently-dressed body, and voila, a new hero/villain/bystander. Gerry Anderson's series are well-known for this, particularly for the Stingray episode in which the hero of the previous GA series, Steve Zodiac of Fireball XL 5 fame, is re-used with dark hair as, of all things, an actor! Where this can be a problem is when the puppets' feature change over time. Zodiac, for instance, had a rather large head and cruder facial features than the Stingray puppets. Once Anderson moved to proportionally-sized heads for Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons et seq., he couldn't use the older puppets any more, but did use the Scarlet puppets in subsequent series.
  • Achmed the Dead Terrorist from the routines of Jeff Dunham has a very interesting pair of eyes. They're interesting because they're spare eyes from Mars Attacks!.
  • The Muppets regularly reuse puppets from earlier productions in newer ones, sometimes as background cast and sometimes as new characters. Justified on The Muppet Show as (in-universe) all the characters are actors.

    Theme Parks 
  • Universal Studios Hollywood was built on this trope — the Theme Park was originally created to allow visitors to see the actual sets and filming used by the studio. Nowadays, the rides get more attention, and the tram tours avoid areas with actual filming, but the sets themselves are still frequently used. People familiar with the Tram Tour are able to recognize Courthouse Square, Wisteria Lane, and other parts of the studio when they appear in movies and TV shows.
  • Disney Theme Parks:
    • In the Disneyland version of The Haunted Mansion, the organ in the dining room is the same one used in Disney's version of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
    • Also, several animatronics from the now-closed America Sings show were reused in Splash Mountain.
    • Sometimes props are recycled as a nod to the attraction before it. For instance, one of the aliens in the pre-show at Stitch's Great Escape was Skippy, who was in the pre-show of Alien Encounter. Stitch's Great Escape itself reuses many components from Alien Encounter — it's basically the former attraction with Stitch as a more child-friendly substitute for the alien.
  • Many rollercoasters at the Six Flags theme parks often get re-themed, with repaints of the tracks and/or cars. For example, Poison Ivy's Tangled Train at Six Flags New England got re-themed and re-painted to become Catwoman's Whip.

    Video Games 
  • Sam & Max:
    • Played with in the second episode of Season One. One of the props in a prop warehouse is a sign from the developer's previous game, Bone. So it's a recycled prop being used as a recycled prop.
    • Used more straight, the cow from that same episode can be briefly seen in the third episode of Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures. Although it's hidden behind a door, you can see it and it's extremely obvious it's the same cow since it doesn't fit the art style at all.
  • There are obviously re-used props in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, like American police cars from the Virginia levels appearing on the tarmac at a Moscow airport. Or American taxicabs appearing in Afghanistan.
  • Valve Software:
    • Valve in general reuses props, textures, and sound effects across franchises whenever they can; this is due in a large part to the fact that nearly all of their games started out as mods of the others. Since every game except Team Fortress 2 has essentially the same visual style, and the engine itself does not support significantly higher-detail graphics than it did when it was first created, it still looks natural. Open up Hammer's prop browser for either of the Left 4 Dead games or Portal 2 if you're so inclined; many of the props that were lifted from Counter-Strike: Source are still in folders named for their respective maps.
    • The "Aperture Science High-Energy Pellet" in Portal uses the same sprite and sounds as the Combine orbs in Half-Life 2. The orbs used to fuel the security systems, at least, appear to be completely harmless, so they can't be the same as the One-Hit Kill High-Energy Pellet.
    • Portal 2 seems to even have an in-universe example: In the informative looping videos that display in the elevator areas, the "animal king" the voiceover describes is a turret made giant-size and painted over with a leopard skin.
    • Incidentally inverted whenever a Valve Game crosses over into Team Fortress 2. When they included Bill's Hat, the Frying pan, Ellis's cap, and the AWP, you'd expect them to just cut the relevant parts off of the character in question and recycle them into the game. Nope, the TF2 items all have unique models to fit with the theme of the story.
    • The turrets in Portal, while using different models and some different sound effects, have the same basic shape and properties as those in Half-Life 2.
  • When it comes to Bethesda, some props are the gift that keeps on giving. Props from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion were later used in Fallout 3, and props from Fallout 3 (including ones from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion) appear in Fallout: New Vegas.
  • Super Robot Wars
    • In Super Robot Wars W, a sprite of the (broken) Tokyo Tower used on a GaoGaiGar chapter is later re-used as a (broken) Eiffel Tower for a Mazinkaiser one. Except the Eiffel Tower isn't red.
    • W in general reused a lot of sprites from series' it shared with Super Robot Wars Judgment. K and L also did the same. Most of the games did however add to or improved the animations and effects for many attacks. J is the first game using that engine.
    • The series is quite fond of reusing things if they can. The only time this is adverted are the original gameboy advance OG games, each with their own engine with very little if anything used.
  • In the Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC, the animation and prop seen when Dr. Amanda Kenson breaks out of her restraints after being rescued by Shepard uses the same motions (she uses both hands to rip the neck collar off, and grimaces while doing so, before staggering to her feet) as Jack does during her recruitment mission in the same game.
  • Some of the objects and scenery in the game Super Mario 3D Land were actually taken from the games Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2.
  • Serious Sam 3 BFE uses many props and models from a cancelled generic military shooter which the developer Croteam failed to find a publisher to.
  • The Darkstalkers series is notorious for not redrawing a character unless they have to. This was especially notable in the Capcom vs. Series, where Morrigan's sprite always stood out against the newer sprites of other characters. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom greatly amused many gamers as, due to the game being in 3D, Capcom finally had to re-animate her. How much model and motion data was retained for Morrigan, Zero, and Frank West (Not to mention Ryu and Chun Li) from Tatsunoko to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 varies.
  • The galaxy seen in World 4's map screen in Super Mario Galaxy 2 is actually taken from the Final Destination stage from ''Super Smash Bros. Brawl''.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask recycles nearly every character model from Ocarina of Time, as well as the pause screen and a few other models, and yet it still manages to create an almost completely different game. Mainly by making Termina some kind of strange Bizarro Universe counterpart of Hyrule where everyone has different names and their personalities are changed.
  • The Dice/EA Battlefield series re-uses props throughout the series:
    • Battlefield Play 4 Free, in addition to reusing levels from Battlefield 2, also reuses weapons and vehicles from it, as well as from Battlefield: Bad Company and, after it came out, Battlefield 3.
    • Battlefield 4 re-uses a tonne of content from Battlefield 3 in the singleplayer trailer. The animations for knifing an enemy, reloading the shotgun, the assault rifle, the jeep the squad takes over, the enemy vehicles are all direct copies from the previous game.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World uses the same skit portraits for the original cast as in the first game. This is rather odd in Regal's case, as by the time he joins your party he's no longer wearing the prison uniform his skit portrait shows him wearing (though he eventually just changes into his prison garbs anyway).
  • Various Metroidvania entries in the Castlevania series (especially Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the DS games and Castlevania: Harmony of Despair) have been known to take the same spriteset for an enemy and, at most, change the palette. For example, take a look at all the similar Werewolf sprites.
  • Anyone who played Rayman 2 will probably notice that a certain very characteristic texture of grating was reused for walls that Pey'j from Beyond Good & Evil can cut with his tool.
  • Many units in Warcraft III share the same animations while looking nothing like each other, in addition to the usual Underground Monkey reskinning.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner is a Flash series mainly animated through the use of flat "objects" that are manipulated much like paper cutouts, so this crops up fairly often. The Gremlin, for example, started out as part of a story Bubs was telling on Halloween, but later became part of the actual Homestar Runner universe when the script called for a car. Their sister Karen joked about it in the commentary for one cartoon: "These guys are so lazy, they're pulling stuff out of the hat that they used five years ago."

    Web Comics 
  • Happens in-universe in Darths & Droids. Pete spends most of the Episode IV campaign wondering where his space dreadnought went. Upon reaching Mos Eisley, he's horrified to discover that the GM took apart the dreadnought model and incorporated those parts into the city model.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Batman Beyond
    • The commentary for the episode "Splicers" of noted that the gun design was reused for some Justice League Unlimited episodes.
    • And the other way around: robot drones from Justice League Unlimited had the same design as the "V-headed" Zeta model that first appeared in Batman Beyond.
    • Batman Beyond also reused the Batmobile from Batman: The Animated Series as the elder Bruce Wayne's limousine, but they flipped it upside-down.
  • The Prop Room from House of Mouse, which consists of props from every single animated Disney film up to 2001's Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
  • Utilized to rather impressive extent in Ed, Edd n Eddy.
    • For Example, the "Ed's Hive Bee Gone" jumpsuits as seen in "Pop Goes the Ed" later make a reapearance in "To Sir with Ed" this time with the aformentioned inscription scribbled out in Favor of "Snake be Gone".
    • The "En-O-Gee Drinks" stand from "Over Your Ed" was reused similarly as "Ed Mart" in "A Glass of Warm Ed".
    • One episode used made good use of this to send up the classic Clip Show formula. All the props were from previous episodes, but all the flashbacks referred to previously unseen shenanigans involving the same props.
  • Robot Chicken tends to reuse a lot of the same figures and sets for unrelated sketches. One example would be a figure of an older Jem was later used at least twice, once as "your mom" and again as another unrelated woman.
  • Total Drama often uses prototype character designs for interns and other extremely minor background characters.
  • The first episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers has Hoggish Greedly attack Captain Planet with a hose that spew toxic waste; it looks very similar to the neutrona wands on The Real Ghostbusters' proton packs (both series were made by DiC, although Captain Planet moved to Hanna-Barbera later on).


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