Collector James Comisar has been gathering TV memorabilia since 1989. As you can imagine, after over 30 years he has amassed quite a collection of television history. Including an outfit Barbara Eden wore on “I Dream of Jeannie,” barware from “Mad Men,” and costumes from “Star Trek.”
Originally Comisar planned to create a museum to house these treasures. But unfortunately, that plan never come to fruition. So he will be auctioning off the pieces from his temperature-controlled warehouses, to get them into the hands of fans. “I just decided these pieces should go back to the fans and let them enjoy them and then when that good day comes when a TV museum is effectuated, these pieces will be well cared for in the hands of passionate fans and collectors,” Comisar said.
His fascination with TV goes all the way back to his childhood in Los Angeles. After school each day he “grabbed my Pop-Tarts and I sat down in front of the TV set.” To watch characters who “felt almost like after-school friends.” Once he finished high school Comisar became a comedy writer, which put him on a lot of studio lots. This is where he realized that many props and sets from shows were being haphazardly stored with no intent of preservation. At the time he says when shows went off the air, props would be sold, thrown away, or go back to the costume department for rent.
One of the most iconic sets he saved, was after Johnny Carson retired from 30 years on “The Tonight Show.” “I would love to say that I convinced him that I was the best guy for the job, but really, if I’m being honest, I had to convince him to save the set at all,” said Comisar. “He told me he had the tackiest set in Hollywood and who would ever want to see it?” We’ve seen better, but we’ve seen a lot worse in terms of set design.
He has a similar story about the bar set from “Cheers.” While the set does have the wonderful touch of the casts’ names carved into it. It was also being housed in studio storage next to a deceased skunk when Comisar got it.
Other items in his collection hitting the auction block are a tunic worn by Superman on the 1950s TV series, tools that cooked meth on “Breaking Bad,” plus costumes and props from the 1960s “Batman” TV Series.
Comisar’s collection of TV show props, sets, and costumes will be sold by Heritage Auctions. The live bidding will run from Jun 2nd – the 4th in Dallas, TX. You can check out the 1,000 lots for yourself here.