Never underestimate the power of geeks with high credit limits.
CNN reports that a phaser rifle used by William Shatner’s Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek sold for a whopping $231,000 at this year’s Hollywood Legends auction – and that’s in modern-day currency, not inflated future dollars. The one-of-a-kind fake weapon was designed for Star Trek’s second pilot. Auctioneers expected it to go for about $50,000. Instead, somebody forked over enough money to buy a three-story, four-bedroom house in Pittsburgh for the toy.
To be fair, the gun is a particularly interesting prop for any Star Trek fanatic. As the auction’s catalog explains, series creator Gene Roddenberry was asked to retool Trek’s original pilot to make it more action-heavy. Roddenberry responded by hiring toy manufacturer Reuben Klamer to make a “really big gun” for Captain Kirk. The resulting rifle was used onscreen only in the show’s revamped pilot; characters subsequently switched to the smaller, more civilized phaser pistols Shater can be seen carrying in the photo above.
The rifle was by far the most expensive lot sold at the auction, which took place April 5 and 6 in Beverly Hills. Curiously enough, the sale’s second biggest ticket was also a prop from a mid-’60s TV show – an original genie bottle used on the first season of NBC’s I Dream of Jeannie fetched $41,600, or enough to pay for one year’s tuition at Princeton (and have $1,430 left over!)
A collection of props from the office of Law & Order Executive A.D.A. Michael Cutler, though, only drew $32. They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.
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