Rosebud sold for $50 grand. Ruby slippers for $666,000. The Ten Commandments netted $81,700. People do realize that movies are pretend, right?
Says a piece in Obit on the afterlife of glam props, "Slumdog Millionaire is up for an impressive 10 statuettes, but whatever happens, the computer screen on which Jamal Malik considered his answers on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? could swiftly be booked for a world tour."
Computer screens are, of course, a far cry from Charles Foster Kane's iconic symbol of lost innocence, but nowadays, smart collectors don't take a chance. After all, there's someone who loves every crappy movie, and in the age of eBay, they're not hard to find. The rationale for owning a prop is evident: it's taking something universal, available to everyone, and making it particular to you. Says the article,
We line up to view these treasures because they are touchstones from our own stories – a film that helped us through a difficult time or was the first movie we saw with a spouse or starred the most gorgeous man or woman ever to land on the planet – but we also line up because the majority of us can't afford to add these gems to the sets of our lives. Pay a hefty sum for a mere overnight with them (reserve a suite at the Las Vegas Planet Hollywood, and you can rest your feet on a coffee table holding the glove Ray Liotta used when he portrayed Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1989's Field of Dreams) – or megabucks for a lifetime of enjoyment.
What I wonder is, are people...satisfied when they get this stuff? Spielberg bought Rosebud, according to the piece, in the hopes that hanging it above his desk would get his creative juices flowing. Unless they're the sort of avid collector who thrives on quantity and acquisition, when folks get a shoe from Sex and the City or a stone from a Biblical epic, do they feel obscurely disappointed that the magic and glamour isn't instantly transmitted to their own lives? Or, on the contrary, do they feel like it is?