Jim Elyea began History For Hire in the late summer
of 1985 with some rentals to a Charles Bronson film,
"Murphy's Law." This was followed by "Platoon," which
which was done out of the Hollywood apartment shared by
Jim and his wife Pam.
Eighty-five cartons of military gear were shipped to the Philippines just as theinsurrection against
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos was going on. At one point, shipments had to stop as insurgents had overtaken the Manila airport.Soon after everything shipped, Pam announced, "When that stuff comes back, it's not coming here," and
it was time for a permanent building for HFH. Partnering up with his brother
Bob, the two signed a two-year lease on an old storefront in
Initially, History For Hire
carried everything – hand props, wardrobe, furniture, etc., but after about
nine months, the writing was on the wall — dump the wardrobe and keep the
In 1989, History For Hire bought the contents of a 25,000 square foot warehouse of props from Paramount Studios. Known as "the bins," this lot contained some real junk, but mostly treasures, some of it dating back to the silent era. Of course,
the fact that HFH was currently in a 7,000 square foot building did not deter the Elyea Brothers from buying over three times that much new stock. A month later, after a shuffling act that involved a new building and a dozen
40' trailers parked nearby, the deal was done, the props were moved,
and HFH had a new home.
The 1990 movie, "Chaplin" gave HFH its entry into a vintage
movie making theme, soon establishing it as the place for period
movie making equipment.
Jim's wife Pam joined History For Hire in 1993 after many years in
advertising. Together, they now operate History For Hire.
Cut to late 1994, when what is now our current building became available.
At almost double the size,
Christmas Eve as the last prop was wheeled in at 5pm.
Since then, we have been proud to have participated in most period
films made in the last dozen plus years, having shipped props to every
continent of the world, including
In 2008, as Jim finished his 12 year project of writing the definitive work,
"Vox Amplifiers, The JMI Years," HFH formed a publishing arm,
The HistoryFor Hire Press, with the idea of bringing out a number
of books over the next few years.
Bob Elyea left the company in
2010 to pursue other interests.
As we begin 2011, we look ahead to a new era of recreating history, with your help.