I’m always surprised when I interview an actor and the subject of memorabilia comes up. Sometimes they’ll tell me about things they took from the set. More often than not, they regret that they didn’t take an outfit they wore in the movie or TV series.

I was thinking that while watching Django Unchained, since Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, and Christoph Waltz wore such interesting outfits.

I remember when talking to Barry Pearl (Barney), who played Doody in Grease, I noticed he had a jacket from when he was one of the T-Birds. He told me he asked if he could have it and they said yes. Later that day, while interviewing one of the pink ladies, I told her about the jacket. She said, “Oh yeah, I know. I remember them being strict with us about returning all the stuff, and months later I asked for a jacket. I was told no. Pearl got lucky.”

While reading the Parade section of the newspaper a few days ago, I stumbled across something interesting the Parade Personality section. A letter writer from Virginia Beach, Va. Asked Patrick Stewart if he held on to any memorabilia from Star Trek: The Next Generation?

It’s a great question. I’ve heard cast members of the original series talk about this, although I can’t remember now what any of them said about it. Perhaps that’s because I never interviewed them, it was merely watching them on a talk show.

Stewart answered: “I tried to buy one of my uniforms from the studio, but they refused to sell it to me.”

The 72-year-old, who played Captain Picard from 1987 to 1994, continued “I was on a talk show years later and the host discovered that I didn’t have anything from the series; they called Paramount, which gave me one of my uniforms. Now I have it hanging in mothballs in my closet!”

This got me thinking about other famous pieces of clothing people wore. The iconic leather jacket Henry Winkler wore in Happy Days ended up going to the Smithsonian a few years back. It’s funny to think that the TV censors wouldn’t even let Winkler wear a leather jacket the first season. How odd is that?

Penny Marshall, who starred in the spin-off Lavern & Shirley, I’m guessing has a sweater with the letter “L” on it (her trademark on the show).

My favorite story involving clothing was movie critic Gene Siskel paying $15,000 for the white suit John Travolta wore in Saturday Night Fever. It was at a charity auction in 1979 and it just happened to be Siskel’s all-time favorite movie. Travolta signed the interior lining “So, here’s to a classic, your friend, John Travolta.”

He kept the outfit for years, and after his death in 1995, it was sold for L93,000 (that’s more than $200,000).

I think the key for actors is to not ask. I’ve found that when I did that, it usually bit me in the butt. I remember going to interview Dennis Hopper in San Diego (he was a former San Diegan), when he was promoting a photo exhibit he did. Security was tight, and as they were checking my tape recorder and camera, they asked what one apparatus was that I was carrying. It was a weird, plastic device you place over your face while breathing in gas. I got it from a nurse, because I wanted Hopper to sign it. His creepy character in Blue Velvet was always huffing gas from it and I thought it would be a great piece to have signed. The idiotic thing was thinking it would be a good idea to explain this to security. They told me he wasn’t signing autographs and that I had to put that back in my car.

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Tags: Dennis Hopper, Django Unchained, Happy Days, John Travolta, Patrick Stewart, Penny Marshall, Saturday Night Fever, Star Trek

Comment by Josh Board on December 31, 2012 at 5:32pm

Hey...check this out. A guy that collected TV memorabilia, is trying to find a home for his collection. The picture I saw in the Union Tribune in San Diego, showed him holding two outfits from Star Trek (he also has an original TV Guide with Nimon/Shatner on the cover). What's more impressive is, the pair of Spock ears that he has.

James Comisar spent 25 years collecting things, and he has George Reeves 1950s Superman outfit, and get this -- the entire set of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Of course, he has guns that the Soprano's used, as well as the gun/badge Keifer Sutherland used on 24. And hey--if he's got Spock ears, why not hair. No, not William Shatners rug, but a hairpiece Carl Reiner wore on the 50s TV show Your Show of Shows.

The 48-year-old even has some funky things, like the flared pants Keith Partridge wore on The Partridge Family. It helps that he was a TV writer. It probably gave him access to these costumes and props.

He has 10,000 items. And ya gotta give him credit. When Larry Hagman died recently, he didn't try to capitalize by selling the boots he used when he was J.R. on Dallas.

He has a Herman Munster jacket, saying that in the early days, studios would throw stuff out or they'd let you rent things fora small fee. He'd often rent them, and conveniently "lose them."

I love the fact that Comisar could sell this, and make millions. I mean, he has Annette Funicello's original Mickey Mouse Club jacket for crying out loud. He would prefer a museum take in the collection. And hell, who wouldn't want to see it? You could see Larry Hagman's boots...right next to Maxwell Smart's shoe-phone!

Supposedly, there's a place in Phoenix that just might work. It will cost around $35 million and years, before they get the thing open and running, though.

Comment by Steve Cyrkin Community Mgr. on December 31, 2012 at 6:00pm

I have a feeling he's gonna sell it sooner than it sounds.

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