Where are all the props and costumes from "Breaking Bad" now that the show is no longer in production? What will happen to them? — A Collector, Nevada
Maybe you’d like an up-close look of the tighty-whities that Bryan Cranston wore in his first adventures with meth. Or maybe you prefer the hazmat suits that he and Aaron Paul wore down in Gus Fring’s Legion-of-Doom-like lab.
Right now, they’re on display at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York, along with the iconic pink teddy bear that floated around teasing us for a whole season; the "Leaves of Grass" book that linked Walter White to one of his indirect victims; Heisenberg’s porkpie hat; and props relating to White’s cancer diagnosis. The items are viewable to the public through October 27.
As for what’ll happen after that, I found out for you.
“As part of the normal course of production,” a spokeswoman for Sony Pictures Television, the studio behind "Breaking Bad," tells me, “the talent, the executive producers, and the crew are first permitted to keep some items from the show that are of significance to them.”
Exactly what those keepsakes will be, Sony isn’t saying. (I’m assuming that Bryan Cranston may be the only person to warehouse the tighty-whities, but the actor may choose something a little more solid, as these people often do; a reliable source tells me that "Hannibal" showrunner Bryan Fuller has the space-station toilet that killed his main character in another of his shows, "Dead Like Me.")
Sony Pictures also operates an archive, which will get dibs on other key pieces from the show.
“Some of the more memorable items they have chosen include Walt’s calculator watch, as well as his yellow hazmat suit and gas mask,” the Sony spokeswoman tells me. “Certain items from Gus Fring’s fast food chain, such as menus and tableware, will become part of the archives’ collection."
“They are also choosing props from some of 'Breaking Bad’s' most infamously memorable scenes, such as 'Tio' Salamanca's wheelchair, which played an important role in Gus's explosive demise."
As for the vehicles from the show, such as the RV, they’re also owned by Sony Pictures Television, and they’ve been moved to Culver City, near Los Angeles. If you want to eyeball them up close, you’re in luck: “One of the Pontiac Azteks and the RV will find a home on the Sony Pictures lot and will become part of the Sony Pictures’ studio tour,” I am told.
But here's the most exciting news: Some of the show props are going up for public auction. Through a partnership with the company Screenbid, Sony says, it'll soon offer up, among other pieces, Jesse Pinkman’s faded red Toyota Tercel. If you prefer some of the utensils from Los Pollos Hermanos, the auction will have you covered there too. Screenbid goes live later this month.
Did you have your eye on that calculator watch? No whining: "Breaking Bad" fans are actually pretty lucky that they get to bid on some of these props.
“Sometimes a production company will send us an asset list of what they want to sell off, and we sometimes buy the entire inventory,” says Gregg Bilson of ISS Props, which has an inventory of more than 1 million items and provides items to an estimated 70 percent of production taking place in the United States. “Take the show '24.' We bought everything they had.”
The company that produced "Burn Notice" also sold off some of its assets to ISS, Bilson says. But don’t contact Bilson asking to buy any of it; as much as ISS loves fans, it can’t sell props to individual collectors.
“A bauble is not worth risking our relationships with the production houses,” he explains.
Eventually, don’t be surprised if a museum ends up with a piece or two from this iconic AMC show. The Smithsonian’s Museum of American History houses the two living room chairs from "All in the Family," as well as a mask from the original "Lone Ranger" and mementos from the set of "M*A*S*H."
“The TV show 'M*A*S*H' contacted the Smithsonian and asked if we wanted materials from the show,” spokeswoman Melinda Machado tells me. “And this big truck pulled up here with costumes, set pieces... they’d all come right from the set.”