Steve Greenthal went last March to the auction at the shuttered-for-good Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park, seeking Stella Stevens for himself and Dudley Moore for his wife.
The pair would be a nice touch to the couple’s Buena Park living room.
The wax of Moore would have cost him $5,000, at least, so he left without either actor’s figure.
A seasoned auction participant and owner of a plastics business, he knew to put his name on the “pass list”: The auction house then would give the 53-year-old a chance to buy stuff that had been sold, but for which the buyer hadn’t surfaced with cash.
“I wanted something,” Greenthal recalled.
A few days later, the auctioneer said Greenthal could have the seven waxes of the “Star Trek” crew, including Captain Kirk and Spock, for nearly $40,000 after taxes and fees. Greenthal showed up at the closed museum, paced about, and then told the auctioneer, “I’ll do it.”
I have either done the most stupid thing in my life or the smartest, he thought.
Within a day, a friend who is a computer salesman, Chris Liebl, 54, of La Mirada wanted in – and absorbed half of the cost.
Steve and Lori Greenthal and Liebl, all fans of the 1960s TV show but not fanatics, came up with a plan: Let’s have some fun and also make a little money by selling off the waxes, which had been posed since 1974 on a Movieland set of the U.S.S. Enterprise. They figured they had bought low.
The three and a carpenter meticulously built an elaborate set of the Enterprise bridge. In all, they have sunk in $60,000 to $70,000.
A week ago, 600 people paid during a “Star Trek” convention in Las Vegas to pose for pictures on the Enterprise. Sunday, the Greenthals and Liebl ended a five-day stint at the 64th annual World Science Fiction Convention, at the Anaheim Convention Center, when about 100 people paid $19 and up to dress up in “Star Trek” tunics and get photographed.
Randall Sheperd, a 45-year-old Texan now living in Ireland, and his fiancée wanted to kiss on the bridge. And so they did and now have a photo to prove it.
“For me, ‘Star Trek’ was always sexy,” said the wife-to-be, Ali Sugg, 45. “What better than being on the bridge with my lover?”
The owners welcomed passersby to take photos for free of the set.
The convention appearances were to show potential buyers, like hotels or casinos, that the wax figures still have drawing power. The partners would like to double their investment. Seven waxes are a bit much to have lying around the house.
Along the way, the three have become guardians of the Enterprise crew. Their mantra: The seven figures and the set must stay together and be on public display.
“If somebody wants this for their living room, it’s going to cost them,” Chris Liebl said.
After packing up the set on Sunday, they intended to wait for the Enterprise’s fate to play out.
THE CREW: Chris Liebl, left, Steve Greenthal, middle, and Lori Greenthal, right, pose with wax figures of the Star Trek crew on Sunday. The trio, seeking buyers for the ensemble, put it on display at the 64th annual World Science Fiction Convention in Anaheim.
Source: Orange County Register