7 World-Famous Movie Props That Were Just Thrown Away
One of the overlooked benefits of CGI is that filmmakers have significantly less crap cluttering their sets. Whenever you have to period-drama up a bunch of extras or make an actor wield Excalibur or the Holy Grail, all those costumes and props have to go somewhere. And since studios aren't often in the habit of letting people waltz off with their stuff, that "somewhere" is usually the trash can.
And that's why so many iconic pieces of pop culture memorabilia wound up meeting hilariously undignified fates. Like how ...
Alec Guinness' Obi-Wan Robe Got Rented Out As A Monk Costume
For all the credit we give the Jedi for their wisdom and mental clarity, they sure as heck didn't dress themselves all too practically. Why did Anakin wear what sometimes looked like a straight jacket to pilot spacecraft? Why did Yoda not utilize a little more mosquito netting on Dagobah? The lone exception to this is probably Sir Alec Guinness' Obi-Wan Kenobi, who more or less figured out what appropriate desert attire was.
You'd think that type of costume would be saved for posterity by someone, perhaps George Lucas himself. Nope! They gave it away, and not even to some crazed Star Wars fan who would preserve it in a bulletproof walk-in humidor. After filming had wrapped up, Obi-Wan's robe was sent to a costume shop in London and stored with a bunch of other monk costumes. People could rent it out for movies or costume parties or, we guess, joining a convent and praying. Someone probably tried to rent it to go as Obi-Wan one Halloween, but everyone thought it was a hobo costume (well, they weren't completely wrong). Even worse, it was once rented out as an extra's costume in The Mummy. The store had no clue what sacrilege they were committing.
It really does raise the question of how many people were renting monk costumes. Is there some sort of cult scene in London that nobody's paying attention to? Regardless, the Kenobi Robe-y finally got its due after a routine
dress-up day inventory check in the costume shop revealed the history of the garment, which proceeded to sell for $80,000.
The Trunk From John Wick Ended Up On Craigslist
Craigslist is sort of the Keanu Reeves of the internet, in that it looks quiet and unassuming, but can wreak unfettered havoc when it wants to. So allow us to tell you the story of the intertwining of Keanu's lauded John Wick and Craigslist.
After noticing a tweet about a Craigslist link, writer Scott Meslow discovered that someone was desperately trying to get rid of a particular prop from the set of John Wick: the giant trunk in which John hides enough guns to take over a small Central American nation.
Figuring it'd be no big deal and also cool to own a piece from the film (or simply something Keanu has touched), Meslow replied to the ad saying he'd be happy to take it. The original poster, a woman named Kathryn, had bought the trunk directly from the set of the movie, where no one wanted to keep it. Now she'd found herself in the same boat for some reason.
Wait, we get it. It's because it's too high to put your feet up on. Your ottoman should not be bigger than your sectional. That's like Interior Decorating 101. Anyway, Kathryn warned Meslow that he'd probably have to bring a couple of strong friends along, as holy cats, that chest weighed a lot, and one of Meslow's first thoughts was, "John Wick could probably hide a couple of bodies in here."
After being talked out of dragging the damn thing across Brooklyn back to his apartment, Meslow and his friends hoisted it up into the back of an UberX, because this is still New York City, and it scoffs at the idea of anyone owning a pickup. They then had to wave off someone who wanted to buy it outside their front door before separating it into two pieces and hauling it up their stairs.
Captain Kirk's Original Chair From Star Trek Got Pulled Out Of A Dumpster And Stuck In Some Guy's Home Bar
Star Trek is the type of show that deserves to be memorialized for all time, and if Trekkies have anything to say about it, we'd get full-sized museums dedicated to each and every one of its props at some point. Sadly, there are a few set pieces that are probably never going to be on display anywhere.
Back in the '60s, a whole bunch of Star Trek sets and props were donated to UCLA, the reasoning being that there might be some way for the film school there to take care of them (or at the very least, shoot some interesting student shorts). UCLA said "thanks" and then threw it all out, probably to make room for a container full of Gilligan's caps. For decades, all those historic materials were thought to be lost. That is, until Trek actor George Takei met a woman on a cruise who said she had Captain Kirk's famous command chair sitting in her house.
Her husband, bless his heart, had rescued the chair from a near-certain end 30 years earlier. That said, it's not like the chair got a dignified retirement. The man put it in his home bar, where it dutifully did its job of "being a chair" for three decades. The most fun thing to happen to the chair was that the guy reprogrammed it to open and close his curtains.
Finally, after Takei confirmed that it was the real deal, the chair went to auction and sold for a little over $300,000 -- more than the Star Trek folks ever spent on a set, ever. Today it sits in Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture, for some reason surrounded by a bunch of Tribble corpses.
Sean Astin's Mom Probably Threw Away His Goonies Map
The Goonies is arguably the best movie about a quest for hidden treasure not starring Nicolas Cage. Instead, a much more Hobbit-sized Sean Astin plays a kid named Mikey who finds a treasure map and convinces his friends to risk their lives for a bunch of shitty trinkets.
That treasure map was important enough that Astin kinda snuck it off the set and kept it for himself, as actors are wont to do with their props. Unfortunately, he didn't think it was important enough to, we dunno, frame or anything. So like your stepdad's tax returns, it made its way into some kind of shoe-box-based filing system, never to be seen again.
When he was 18, Astin moved out of his mom's house, and naturally left a whole bunch of his junk behind. Said junk moved with his mom when she did, but according to Astin, the map wasn't in any of the boxes after the move. He did eventually find the movie's old skull and crossbones key in a bin his dad sent him, but no map. As far as he can tell, his mom threw it away, a "friend" stole it from his room, or Nicolas Cage took it for a heist.
The Main Puppet From Labyrinth Ended Up As Lost Luggage
The 1986 movie Labyrinth was the magical combination of the talents of Jim Henson, George Lucas, and David Bowie('s penis). Henson, of course, is best uknown for fathering The Muppets, and this movie required the creation of his most complex puppet up to that point: Hoggle. It took four operators and 18 motors merely to control his facial expressions, and that's on top of the actress who played him. The insane amount of work involved should have bought the puppet a ticket straight to the Smithsonian, but Hoggle ended up in quite a different museum.
See, after filming wrapped, Hoggle was lost in transit and eventually began to ... welp, there's no nice way to say this. Before he could be rescued by the Unclaimed Baggage Museum in Scottsboro, Alabama, Hoggle started to rot.
Since he now looked pretty horrifying, it's appropriate that the Unclaimed Baggage people referred Hoggle to a team of doll restoration experts (who probably see more traumatizing things every day). They painstakingly brought him back to his former glory, even fixing his speech controls, in case anyone would dare make him talk ever again. We'll pass. Those eyes have seen things, man.
Today he sits upright in a glass enclosure, where nothing can harm him. And vice-versa.
A Guy Paid $20 To Rescue Scarlett O'Hara's Gone With The Wind Dress From The Trash
Gone With The Wind used to be a movie about historical events, and now it is an historical event. Nearly 80 years later, it's still the highest-grossing film of all time when adjusted for inflation. And parts of it keep turning up as garbage. We previously told you how the whole plantation set was rotting in a barn, but we didn't mention the fate of this iconic dress worn by Vivien Leigh:
Though it'd probably look out of place at senior prom, that's still a timeless gown. Surely there'd be another period piece out someday starring an actress approximately the same size as Leigh? Nah, not worth saving, apparently. In the early '60s, a man named James Tumblin spotted the dress on the floor of a Hollywood costume company, and was told not to bother picking it up because it was headed for the dumpster. However, as an expert in cinematic costumes, Tumblin was able to spot the subtle clues that indicated this might be Scarlett's production dress, such as the "Selznick International Pictures" tag or the fact that it literally had "Scarlett production dress" written on it.
Tumblin asked if he could buy the dress, and ended up paying a quick $20 for it. Fast-forward a few decades, and Tumblin had a bit of a GWTW collection going. In 2015, he put the dress up for auction, where it sold for $137,000. That's the kind of profit margin Antiques Roadshow fans can only dream of.
A Loch Ness Monster Prop Ended Up Underwater For 45 Years, Was Mistaken For The Loch Ness Monster
Sherlock Holmes has had some insane adventures over the years, but few were more out there than The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes, a 1970 film about his brother trying to hide a WWI submarine by disguising it as the Loch Ness monster.
The original plan was to build a floating Nessie, but the production people decided to get all fancy and put in some humps. Despite warnings from people who knew how floating works, the humps were deemed "a good idea," and promptly caused the Nessie prop to capsize. This wasn't some dinky five-dollar foot-long variety sea monster, either -- it was a whopping 30 feet. When this sucker sank, it really sank.
The movie continued with a smaller Nessie prop, and everyone forgot about the one that drowned. That is, until a crew looking for an imaginary sea monster in the year (we can't believe we have to note this) 2016 sent out an underwater drone and collectively soiled themselves at what appeared to be a bona fide Nessie corpse.
Obviously, it turned out to be the prop, but this is probably only going to enable amateur cryptozoologists even further. Tune in next year when the shallow grave of a family's dog is thought to contain the Jersey Devil.
Isaac felt bad throwing away a drawing he made for his mom in kindergarten. Follow him on Twitter.
There aren't any replica Hoggles out there, but there are some replica Labyrinth pendants that look kinda cool.
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