A huge collection of odd TV stuff needs a home

James Comisar with the costume George Reeves wore in the TV show “Adventures of Superman.”
James Comisar with the costume George Reeves wore in the TV show “Adventures of Superman.”

LOS ANGELES — James Comisar is the first to acknowledge that more than a few have questioned his sanity for spending the better part of 25 years collecting everything from the costume George Reeves wore in the 1950s TV show ‘‘Superman’’ to the entire set of ‘‘The Tonight Show.’’

Then there’s the pointy Spock ears Leonard Nimoy wore on ‘‘Star Trek’’ and the gunsTony Soprano used to rub out a rival in ‘‘The Sopranos.’’

‘‘Along the way, people thought I was nuts in general for wanting to conserve Keith Partridge’s flared pants from ‘The Partridge Family,’’’ the good-natured former TV writer says of the 1970s sitcom as he ambles through rows of costumes, props, and what have you from the beginnings of television to the present day.


‘‘But they really thought I needed a psychological workup ‘when they learned I was having museum curators take care of these pieces,’’ said Comisar.

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A museum is exactly where he wants to put all 10,000 of his TV memorabilia items, everything from the hairpiece Carl Reiner wore on the 1950s TV variety program ‘‘Your Show of Shows’’ to the gun and badge Kiefer Sutherland flashed on ‘‘24’’ a couple of TV seasons ago.

Finding one that could accommodate his collection, which fills two sprawling, temperature-controlled warehouses, however, has sometimes been as hard as acquiring the boots Larry Hagman used to stomp around in when he was J.R. on ‘‘Dallas.’’ (The show’s production company finally coughed up a pair after plenty of pleading and cajoling.)

Comisar is one of many people who, after a lifetime of collecting, begin to realize that if they can’t find a permanent home for their artifacts, those objects could easily end up on the trash heap of history. Or, just as bad as far as he is concerned, in the hands of private collectors.

‘‘Some of the biggest bidders for Hollywood memorabilia right now reside in mainland China and Dubai, and our history could leave this country forever,’’ says Comisar, who these days works as a broker and purchasing expert for memorabilia collectors.


‘‘I’ve spent 25 years reuniting these pieces, and I would be so sick if some day they were just broken up and sold to the highest bidder,’’ he says.