PHILADELPHIA —One South Philly clothing boutique is getting ready to set up shop in the Fashion District, and they say they’re bringing a piece of Philadelphia movie history with them.
Although, that may be up for debate.
South Fellini’s Fashion District location will showcase a mannequin used in the 1987 Philly-filmed romantic comedy “Mannequin,” co-owner Tony Trov says. In the film, the mannequin, known as Emmy, comes to life at night to help protagonist Jonathan Switcher (Andrew McCarthy) create window displays in a Philadelphia department store called Prince & Company.
The flick, which starred Kim Cattrall as Emmy, was filmed in Philly at Center City’s John Wanamaker Department Store, which is now Macy’s. A 1991 sequel, “Mannequin Two: On the Move,” was also later filmed at Wanamaker’s.
Trov says one of the “Mannequin” mannequin’s is seeing the light of day once more after years in storage. A crew member from the films who wishes to remain anonymous apparently gifted the South Fellini crew the set piece —one of 20 mannequins used for action scenes during the shoot, the crew member says —and Trov and his cohorts cleaned it up for display. Six other copies were made by sculptor Tanya Wolf Ragir for close-ups in the movie.
“The copy we have only needed some paint touch-ups and a new wig,” Trov says. “We settled on ‘Disco Angel’ from the Halloween store.”
Trov says he knows his mannequin is a real-deal film prop because it bears an embossed logo of Wolf & Vine-Greneker, which created many of the full-body props used in the “Mannequin” movie. The South Fellini folks even cross-checked their Emmy with photos from a mannequin museum that has their own copy.
“Plus, come on,” Trov says. “In a side-by-side comparison, the resemblance is undeniable.”
However, after announcing online that they were in possession of an Emmy to display in their store, Cattrall herself claimed the prop was a fake, lending a little mystery to the situation. As Cattrall wrote on Twitter, South Fellini’s Emmy is “definitely not one of” the six mannequins made in her likeness for close-up shots, though she did not mention the apparent 20 copies made for action shots. Cattrall’s rep did not immediately respond to request for comment.
“Close but still not the real thing,” Cattrall wrote in a later tweet. “The studio took 2 (mannequins), the director, producer, 1 went to a Mannequin museum & I still have mine.”
Trov, however, wasn’t shaken by Cattrall’s claim. In fact, he says she should come see South Fellini’s Emmy for herself.
“Kim dismissed it before she even saw a photo,” Trov says. “Hopefully she’ll come down and examine it in person before she makes any final judgements.”
The real test of its authenticity, however, may be whether the mannequin comes to life at night. Unfortunately, though, we may never know —the South Fellini folks had no comment about whether their Emmy has any magical properties.