TV
03/25/2014 05:07 pm ET Updated Mar 25, 2014

'How I Met Your Mother' Propmaster Explains Most Memorable Objects From The Show

CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

"How I Met Your Mother" is layered in nine seasons of stuff: jukeboxes, cock-a-mice, nude mom paintings, robots and swords filled scenes in the gang's apartment and McLaren's. As the show comes to an end -- the series finale airs March 31 -- it's easy to pine over the greatest things that graced the "How I Met Your Mother" set.

Propmaster David Baker worked on every episode of the series except the pilot (he missed the blue French horn!) and has taken to Twitter to unload photos of the cast, crew and props used over the years. Glen McKenna whiskey has "subtle shades" of ketchup, chocolate syrup and hand sanitizer, and McLaren's has an insane happy hour special, according to the bar's faux table cards.

We caught up with Baker to hear stories behind some of the most memorable props, and what it took to make co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas' visions come to life.

  • The Mother's Yellow Umbrella
    CBS
    Baker kept three of the same yellow umbrellas, purchased at Nordstrom, on hand throughout the show. "The only thing Carter Bays and Craig Thomas didn’t like was that it had this black piping down the ridge," Baker said. "So we ended up taking yellow paint markers and going over each black ridge a couple times to try and get rid of them. Over time you can kind of see them coming back a little bit." Bays, Thomas and director Pam Fryman will each get an umbrella after the show wraps.
  • Robin Sparkles' Robot
    CBS
    Baker bought Robin Sparkles' robot pal, an Omnibot 2000 made around 1984, on eBay for $512, he said. Baker recently found a similar version on eBay and tweeted a link to it, telling fans they could buy another one. "I’m sure they owe me some favors for tweeting that out," he said. "A lot of people responded to me like, 'Oh my god! I want that!'"
  • Robin's Locket
    Baker found the locket at the Jewelry Mart in downtown Los Angeles. "The general rule of props is to get two of each in case something happens and you need a back-up," he said. But the vendor only had one version of this locket. "The guy said he could probably get another one, so I said okay, I’ll take this one and show it to Carter and Craig. Of course that’s the one they chose and when I called the guy back, he said he couldn't get anymore of those. We just went with it."
  • The Playbook
    The most updated version of the playbook is about 16 x 10, and 700 pages long, but according to Baker it's gone through a few incarnations. Fans will remember that at first it was just a nice, black leather book. But when Robin had to find it in Barney's apartment -- hidden next to the Bro Code and David Lee Roth's autobiography -- the creators changed their minds. Instead, they called the black book the "ceremonial playbook."

    We didn't see inside the playbook until Season 9. Then, things got tricky. Baker said they hired a calligrapher to write out 30 different plays that were repeated over and over in the 700-page book. "We sent it to a bookbinding company and they made this nice leather cover and it ended up being quite pricey," he said. This all happened in three days. "As soon as Neil saw it, he goes, 'Just so you know, I’m calling dibs on this.' That'll be on Neil's coffee table at his house."
  • Barney's Storm Trooper
    The creators wanted Barney's Storm Trooper to be an authentic Star Wars authorized outfit, and the set dressing department bought it on the internet and plopped it on a mannequin. After years in Barney's apartment, it became part of the prop family, Baker said.
  • Intervention Banner
    CBS
    During all the gang's interventions, the crew went through three "Intervention" banners. "We did a scene where it catches on fire, so we had to make a couple more," Baker said. They're all made from basic canvas, grommets and red paint. Set hands painted the red letters in order to make it legible, but with a "homemade feel."
  • Pineapple Incident Corkboard
    "They wanted to throw people off because they knew people were going to freeze frame it," Baker said of the infamous Pineapple Incident corkboard, which resembles a "Homeland"-style conspiracy theory. "We were just about to shoot it and Carter was like, 'You know what would be fun? If one of the post-its says, buy more red yarn.' My assistant Chris is a big Howard Stern fan so he put 'bababooey' on there."

    At the time, Baker said they didn't know exactly how they would explain the incident, but we will soon find out. The pineapple itself, Baker said, was purchased from Whole Foods. The crew ate it.
  • All The Magic Tricks
    CBS
    In Season 7's "Disaster Averted," Barney told the gang that a pigeon stole his ducky tie when he saved a little boy from falling off a roof. Originally, Bays wanted a hawk or a bald eagle to fly down and grab it, but Baker rigged a taxidermy pigeon they had used before to get the job done. "We put little hooks on his feet and we rigged it so it would come down and swoop the tie up right off the railing off the top of the building," Baker said.

    Because Neil Patrick Harris is a magician in his real life -- he's the president of Los Angeles' Magic Castle -- he usually did his own tricks. In "The Magician's Code - Part Two," where Barney proposes to Quinn in the airport, his magician friend Ed Alonzo helped supervise the extensive magic tricks. "They had this sword thing that looked like a bomb and they had a rose that grew and a wedding ring came out of it. Ed played one of the security guards and he designed a lot of that stuff so we could do that," Baker said.

Subscribe to the Entertainment email.
Home to your favorite fan theories and the best movie recs.

CONVERSATIONS