May 26, 2024

KITTEN COLLECTIBLES #9: Another Small Town Alien Invasion

A Treasure Hunt by D.M. ANDERSONđź’€

In addition to watching and writing about films, I’m something of a memorabilia collector. Cursed with a teacher’s salary, I ain’t out there bidding on Dorothy’s ruby slippers or anything, but certainly enjoy haunting local shops for a variety of movie-related stuff. Or when feeling particularly bold, I’ll occasionally overpay for some retro relic on eBay. More often than not, I leave stores empty-handed. But every now and then, I’ll find a small treasure that doesn’t completely empty my wallet and give it a new home in the Dave Cave.

About once a year, I'm dragged kicking and screaming to my mother-in-law’s house. Not that I don’t enjoy her company, but we live in Portland, Oregon and she lives four hours away in Grandview, Washington, a small agricultural town where the cows outnumber the people. To get there, we’re required to drive through the Columbia Gorge, which is admittedly beautiful, but interminable if you’ve been making that trek most of your adult life. 

Oregon is widely considered a “blue state” populated by liberal-thinking people, which to a certain extent is true. But that’s only west of the Cascade Mountains, where most of the population lives. The further east you go, the towns grow smaller, while the number of TRUMP banners and pick-ups grow larger. It’s through this wasteland of gun racks & MAGA hats we must journey.

Still, my wife and I make the most of it by making stops along the way…wineries, the local fish hatchery and a little antique store I discovered a few years ago in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town of Bingen, Washington.  Located on the main (only?) street is
Antiques & Oddities, a large place with a few dozen vendor booths. For the most part, these booths offer genuine antiques, as opposed to stuff someone’s trying to unload after cleaning their garage. 

Since I only visit the store about once a year, I usually find something that makes paying the bridge toll into Washington worth it. This time I grabbed something I didn’t know even existed: a board game from Parker Brothers based on the classic 1977 film,
Close Encounters of the Third Kind…still sealed! The movie doesn’t really seem conducive to a board game tie-in and the description on the box makes it sound kinda boring. But hey, I wasn’t planning on opening it to find out, anyway. The sealed box alone was worth the forty bucks I shelled out for it. 

Another thing I didn’t know existed was a line of action figures based on the 1999 film,
Virus. The movie itself is a derivative Alien rip-off about an extraterrestrial entity that manipulates technology and turns its victims into Borg-like monsters. As disposable sci-fi junk-food goes, it’s a passable time killer, but does feature Jamie Lee Curtis. The figure I found is her character, Kelly Foster (with a similarly hot bod). I didn’t pay much for it, but there’s something fun about finding relatively obscure action figures nobody asked for based on movies nobody saw.

We left about seventy bucks lighter ($80, counting the coffee we needed to stay frosty for the rest of the journey). But this brief detour was well worth it, as I’d never seen either of these things before.

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