Movie props can be the most iconic part of films. They end up so popular; you would almost think they have a life of their own. However, just because they hold the nostalgia factor doesn’t mean Hollywood will go easy on them.
As times move on and new movies are made, some very surprising props can end up getting thrown out and end up with stories almost as interesting as the movies they starred in. Take a look through these tales and keep your eyes peeled when you go out to jumble sales, you never know what you could find.
#1. The Original Death Star Spent Years In A Country Bar
The Death Star may be one of the most iconic symbols of the Star Wars franchise, but when the movie ended, it very nearly became trash because most of the props were thrown away. It was only due to a man named Doug W that it wasn’t, as he took it home and put it in his living room.
However, when he moved, he must have decided it didn’t go with his new interior decorating, so he gave it to his mother’s rural antique shop.
There, it was spotted by a Star Wars fan Todd Franklin as he drove past and, at first not believing it was the real one, he traced its steps to discover it was the real thing. He went back to buy it only to find that he had been too late – the piece had already been picked up by a country music club called Star World, who put it in their lobby where it spent years greeting customers.
However, the Force was clearly on Franklin’s side as when the club went out of business; he was able to scoop it up and put it in his living room.
Todd then sold it to its current owner Gus Lopez who has now owned the Death Star for nearly 20 years. It was restored by the EMP Museum in Seattle, but hopefully, it shouldn’t be destroying any planets soon.
#2. The Spaceship From Alien Spent Two Decades In Someone’s Driveway
The ship from Alien may be iconic, but it is also a huge pain to store – at a quarter of a ton in weight and taking up 80 square meters of room, it’s almost no wonder the studio wanted to get rid of it.
So, in 1979 when Bob Burns asked for permission to put on an Alien-themed haunted house, they gladly gave him the ship along with many other props. It was too big for his house, and so it was lowered onto the driveway via crane, and then left there for twenty years.
Bob Burns didn’t do much with it (I mean, what can you do?) so it was left to be damaged by heat and rain.
Thankfully, it was put in a storage locker by Burns and then given to a memorabilia shop which was able to restore it to its former glory. I bet Bob Burns was relieved to have that off his hands…
#3. The Last Remaining Shark From Jaws Lived In An Auto Yard
Jaws was the movie that caused the deaths of thousands of sharks, and it seems like even the prop sharks were a victim. All of the ones used in filming were destroyed afterward, but the particular shark we’re talking about was made as a studio prop for tours and was manufactured from the same mold. In 1990 however, Universal decided it didn’t want this shark and sold it to a junkyard owner Sam Adlen.
So for two decades, the shark sat in his junkyard among the scrap and, despite many offers, Adlen refused to part with it (and why would you? Who else has an eight-foot shark?).
It was only after his death when his son finally let it go, donating it to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. They are currently restoring it and who knows, maybe the shark will make an appearance somewhere a little more glamourous than a scrapyard.
#4. James Bond and Mad Max‘s Cars Keep Turning Up In Weird-Ass Places
Out of all the things in the world, you think it would be hard to lose a car, especially ones that have starred in some of the most exciting franchises known to man, and yet that is what studios keep doing. There are several crazy stories about cars going AWOL – for example one of the classic green 1968 Mustangs used in the Steve McQueen movie Bullitt vanished almost as soon as filming ended… and then appeared in a Mexican junkyard 49 years later with no one knowing how it got there. The worst thing was, it would have been turned into a car from the Nicolas Cage film Gone in 60 Seconds if the people working on it hadn’t googled the VIN.
This isn’t the only time too. The Lotus submarine from the Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me was found in a storage locker bought blind for less than $100 after the rent stopped coming in and no one claimed it. After being restored, Elon Musk bought it, the CEO of Tesla.
Another car that went walkabout was the Interceptor from Mad Max which ended up on the scrapheap and would have been destroyed if a fan hadn’t saved it. Since then, it has been in museums across the globe. From Australia and England to Florida.
Then there’s the story of the Malibu from Pulp Fiction. The car belonged to Quentin Tarantino, but during production, someone stole it. Then, nineteen years later, a cop was called to reports of suspicious activity in a parking lot and arrested two men stripping down a car that turned out to be the famous Malibu. Man, if cars could talk I bet these would have some wild stories to tell…