What’s bigger than a flower pot from “The Wizard of Oz,” a costume worn by Christopher Reeve in “Superman IV” and a night shirt that once belonged to Marilyn Monroe?
Capt. Kirk’s phaser rifle that was so big, he only used it in one episode.
The rifle, used by William Shatner in the second “Star Trek” pilot “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” sold at auction over the weekend for $231,000. That was more than the flower pot ($15,000), Superman’s flying outfit ($25,000) and Monroe’s pajama drawer item ($15,000) … combined.
The rifle itself was created by Reuben Klamer in 1965 after NBC ordered a much larger weapon for the new captain, trying to get a more action-packed pilot compared to the more cerebral “The Cage” that starred Jeffrey Hunter. Klamer has invented more than 200 toys and games over his lifetime, including the popular Game of Life, which is now owned by Hasbro.
Even with the two big names attached to the rifle — Shatner and Klamer — auction house Julien’s Auctions was only expecting to fetch up to $70,000 for the prop. After “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” Shatner replaced his rifle with a much easier to carry phaser pistol that would last the rest of the career. However, that was not before he had publicity photos taken with the rifle.
Instead of ditching the prop or giving it to creator Gene Roddenberry, Desilu Studios instead opted to give the rifle back to Klamer, who has held on to it over the decades.
The sale of the rifle shows that Star Trek fans are still quite rabid of owning a piece of history of the franchise, especially as it inches closer to its 50th anniversary in 2016. Last summer, the original exterior set prop of the Enterprise shuttle Galileo sold for $61,000 despite being complete ravaged by time, and only containing a small percentage of original materials after past attempts to restore it.