Vault Exhibit #1: How I Came To Own VDO’s Edgar Hero Costume from MIB

Here is the link to my photos of my ‘Hero’ Edgar costume from Men In Black (MIB)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/40946898@N00/sets/72057594050018243/

How I came to own this costume (which is actually my second complete Edgar costume) is kind of an interesting story.

Back in 2002, after I had acquired some key props from Homicide: Life On The Street (I’ll post about these later), I found I had been bitten by the somewhat expensive ‘screen-used item’ collecting bug. In searching out more articles that were directly related to VDO, I found the Reel Clothes & Props website (reelclothes.com). On that site was one of Agent J’s (i.e. worn by Will Smith) complete outfit from the scene where his identity was erased (it was a sort of yellow, white and black running outfit and it came with a pair of sneakers).

Also listed there was the Edgar ‘Hero’ costume. ‘Hero’ is a term of art in the prop & wardrobe collecting world, meaning it is the principal copy of a costume (or prop) to be used in most scenes of a film. This costume included a pair of overalls that were ‘teched’ (i.e. dirtied up by the crew), 2 teched work shirts, a teched pair of workboots and a pair of socks.

The posted price? $5000

Ouch!

For me that was a whole new level of financial commitment to make to my collection and frankly I thought the price was way too high. I figured Reel Clothes had had this costume in their shop for close to 5 years and that perhaps they’d take something off the price just to get some money out of it already. VDO really had not taken off in terms of worldwide popularity yet, and it was worth a shot to ask — the worst that could happen was that Reel Clothes would say ‘no’.

I looked up Reel Clothes’s telephone number, called and spoke with the owner. He lowered the price significantly.

Edgar’s ‘hero’ costume could be mine for $3000.

I told the owner I’d think it over. This was a far better price, but still more than I wanted to pay.

Six months later in 2003, I noticed the costume still hadn’t sold. I called again and was quoted a price of $2500.

Now I was more tempted but I still was hesitant.

In 2004, the costume was no longer listed on their website.

Someone else bought my Edgar suit! Wherever it was, it was never going to be mine…

Or so I thought at the time…

In mid 2005, I settled for a complete Edgar suit that had been used in the transformation scene. It sold for less than I had expected it to at an auction held by Reel Clothes, it had a pair of overalls and a shirt and a pair of workboots. The shirt was sewn into the overalls and then there was a huge cut made down the back and tons of thread interlaced into each half of the costume, presumably so that offscreen production assistants could pull apart the costume and Edgar could become a giant menacing cockroach.

I was reasonably happy with my Edgar suit but in the interest of finding more VDO associated costumes & wardrobe I joined an online prop collecting forum.

Two months later, the prop collecting forum’s founder had another forum member email me offering me *the* Edgar ‘Hero’ costume. It turns out he was changing his collecting focus from full costumes to eyewear from various movies. He explained that it’s a lot easier to find space to store and display sunglasses and eyeglasses and such than it is to display full costumes (especially when the actor’s size is 6’4″ tall and size 13 D in shoes) He sent me the pics I uploaded into the album above and this time I got the price to a number I could live with.

It turns out this foster home for the Edgar ‘hero’ costume was a good one. While visiting Hollywood, this collector had talked his way into the back room of the Reel Clothes shop. looked at all the goodies, felt obligated to buy something, and decided on the Edgar ‘hero’ costume. He left it in its shipping box wrapped inside plastic garment bags and included all the documentation he received with it.

It was so untouched when I got it that when I stuck my hand in the left chest pocket I found the cellophane outer wrapper for a package of cigarettes!

Gee I wonder *who* left that there!?!? LOL

Anyway that’s my story of the one that almost got away.

P.S. Note the misspelling of VDO’s last name on one of the wardrobe tags :)

P.P.S. On TheReel, there is a video clip of an interview VDO did with Craig Kilborn in which VDO describes how his legs were braced and taped in order to create Edgar’s distinctive walk (it reminds me of Frankenstein with a charlie horse) — the costume I got did not come with braces or tape

http://thereelvincentdonofrio.com/clips/tv/kilborn.wmv

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