September 19, 2005
Steven Spielberg Memorabilia
So we go into Deseret Industries (an LDS owned chain of thrift stores for those of you living elsewhere on the planet, this is where Napoleon Dynamite found his tape) looking at furniture when I find a novelization of Close Encounters of the Third Kind authored by the director/screenwriter Steven Spielberg! Hardcover first edition. Two dollars. Then in the games section there is the E.T. board game! One dollar.
I like Spielberg a bit more than my peers I think. I don't think that he's gone rotten, his work is just particularly uneven. Sometimes great and sometimes just blah. War of the Worlds is still going to make my end of the year top ten. But I have to say, he used to be really cool. I thumbed through the novelization and while I can't say that it looks like particularly great literature it's sort of surprising how much of Spielberg's aesthetic seeps through. There is something delicate and loving, something empathetic about his description of Barry's (the little boy) room. This was a valuable find.
The E.T. board game was missing most of the pieces. It was supposed to have a plastic E.T. and a spaceship and a deck of cards. There were no directions, but from the looks of it, it seems to be a rip-off of Parchesi. For a film that treated it's audience with so much respect (my wife, seeing it for the first time, expressed gratitude that it never sugarcoated anything for it's target audience) this board game seems to be in line with E.T. merchandise such as the infamous Atari cartridge that seek to cynically rip-off their fans.
Above is what it is suppose to look like. Whoever owned it last also added a box of crayons to the set. Deseret Industries, the reputable business that they are, sold this to me "as is" without specifying what, if anything, was missing. I'm sort of reminded of how thrift store owner Edith Massey sold bags of bottle caps for fifty cents as "grab bags".
I stole that photo from E-bay where the starting bid is also one dollar, but shipping and handling is eight though. Despite being suckered twice over, one dollar seems to be a small price to pay for the indignity.