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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Believe me, I've had my hands around a few."
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July 12 2005

Large "Firefly" prop found -- in a Vegas junkheap. LiveJournal user "Akin" recounts an April trip to Las Vegas in a lengthy photo essay. But scroll down for the punchline -- in which the author realizes, months later, that he photographed a surprisingly significant "Firefly" prop that was just lying, neglected, in a military-aircraft graveyard.

I saw this on the board, and was going to post it here, but for some reason I wasn't sure how to introduce it. I figured someone would eventually post it here.

What a great find. I wonder if any Browncoat is going to drive there to salvage it. I wonder how much you could get for that on ebay.
I actually passed the link along to Rick Bilyeu a day or two ago. You figure if anyone is crazy enough to go try and salvage that prop, it would be the guy who named his delivery van "Serenity."

I sincerely, and unironically, hope a Browncoat can either get that prop to safety or at least get in there with a camera and give us a closer look.
That's amazing... and hilarious!
Oh booo! I found this, and it was gonna be my first post ever. HudsonVC, you beat me to it. Very cool, indeed. The question is, what the hell is it doing out there?
Sure is amazing what you can find lying around these days.
This has documentary written all over it.
Immortal, I totally agree. Someone needs to get a DV camera and make a pilgrimage with Rick Bilyeu in his "Serenity" van to this site. Edited properly, I'll bet you could talk Universal into making it a bonus feature on the "Serenity" DVD.

I am so not kidding. Rick, whaddya say? Road trip?
I give it about one week to appear on ebay :-)
I think this is my favorite link of the year.

Akin sure knows, and loves, his military aircraft. Good thing too - if it hadda been me who was driving past, I would have looked up, thought "huh, a load of old metal," and kept driving . . . HudsonVC, you should definitely go git it.
Amazing what people will throw away.
I really hope someone updates us on this wonderful find! So incredibly shiny :)
At first I wondered why in heavens Mutant Enemy would throw away something like this. Then I remembered all those stories about how Universal had to rebuild the entire set(s) for Serenity from scratch, so that must mean Fox was the legal owner of all the props, and of course when the show was cancelled, Fox being Fox probably thought it was all a bunch of junk and just threw it away, neither realizing the worth of the show nor its associated entities (all the way from actors to props).
I can understand that Fox threw stuff away, but why did they drive it to Vegas first? Are there no junkyards in LA? This is so intriguing. I wonder if Carey Meyer lurks here and can give us the scoop!
I'm sure that Fox personnel didn't personally drive it all the way to Las Vegas. More likely they junked it all, and let various third parties down the line deal with legal matters to do with where various sizes/shapes of stuff could be dumped. For example, our department has to go through various special shenanigans to get rid of computer equipment, because they have chemicals in them that would be bad if they leeched into the environment in a regular dump. That Vegas dump was probably the nearest one that accepted large aircraft-like "waste".
Oh chickenbird, don't go inserting logic and facts into my fantasy of Blue Sun shenanigans or at least more creative marketing from Universal :-)
That Vegas dump was probably the nearest one that accepted large aircraft-like "waste".

Now I'm picturing some mid-level Fox exec calling all the junkyards looking for some place to get rid of this. "It's an airborne medical transport, well, kind of like a helicopter, but from 500 years in the future...uh-huh, that's what I don't?...Just land vehicles?...Okay, so, do you know any other salvage yards that do take aircraft?"
Cool find! Just a clarification that this junkyard isn't in Las Vegas NV. It's most likely an airplane graveyard/storage area at or near the Mojave CA airport. Check out the "Film Production" link on their website. It's possible that some of the Ariel scenes were filmed there, even though Firefly isn't mentioned specifically.
Incredible that someone should accidentally (or is that serendipitously) find something like this. I can only imagine the elation he must have felt when he realized what it was -- and just think what a great setpiece it would be at some elaborate shindig come this September!

I also got a big kick out of the I-40 to Wilmington, NC sign -- we vacation a few miles from that coastal town every year and I-40, which I know well, runs directly through Greensboro, where we live. I had no idea it was that far to Vegas from here (did somebody say 'road trip'? :) Funny what you can stumble upon on other people's blogs, not to mention in trash-heaps halfway across the country!
I WANT IT!!! I've got a big back yard! It would look cool there! Too bad I live on the opposite coast line or I'd be there in a heartbeat strapping it to the roof of my mini-van!!! It would go good with my Serenity ship house that I want to build someday!!
Okay, now everybody have a good look around. Serenity must be somewhere...
*dies* It seems somehow so appropriate that it'd end up there.
Spike never found anything this shiny when he was pillaging through the Sunnydale junkyard. Teehee!

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-07-13 00:56 ]
It would make a neat documentary and if someone could grab it they probably could rent it out for conventions. I guess the two questions are is it for sale or can anyone grab it and how do you transport something like that? I bet it doesn't have wheels, would you need a crane to get it on a flatbed?
That's so incredibly ironic. In fiction it was salvaged from a junkyard and made into an ambulance; in reality it was a prop ambulance that wound up in a junkyard.
HudsonVC, I can't say that the road trip idea is unappealing. I guesstimate it'd be a 4 day round trip. I'd love to salvage it. Or at least get it's story. But then where would I put it? Certainly isn't room for it in the apartment. It could be stored at Dignity Village as housing for the homeless (For those who live outside of Portland, Oregon, Dignity Village is a city sanctioned homeless camp where anything goes, shelterwise.). I can think of one definite drawback to charting a course there in my "Serenity"; No A/C. I'd imagine it's well over 100 degrees in the Mojave in July.
Now, if we could get Paul Allen's attention, I'll bet it could rest safe and pretty in his Museum Of Science Fiction, in Seattle.
Anyone have Paul's cell number?:)

[ edited by Rick_Bilyeu on 2005-07-13 02:03 ]
Paul Allen. Wow, good idea. I hope someone snags this for memorability purposes, and not monetary purposes.

And yay! The infamous Rick Bilyeu delurks! ;) You better go down there and snag that ambulance, before somebody else does. And take a video crew with you.
I agree that this is the coolest thread all year (except the recent melbourne serenity screening one!).

I hope this doesn't mean from now on all of us Whedon fans are going to be forever following Joss around via garbage cans and desert junk yards!

Anyway, whoever finds/gets it, let us know what happens to it, I hope it goes to a mueseum or something like that. And yes, please bring a video crew!
Wow, I can't believe Fox would just toss that. No, wait, I can. Oh I really hope somebody gets out there to save it.
Are the people at Fox insane, throwing away something like that? Don't they know how much money they could make off of something like that? They have auctions all the time for smaller props from Buffy, Angel, 24, why not this?

Whoever gets a hold of it, if they're not in desperate need of money and are forced to sell it on eBay to feed their family...they should somehow get in contact with Joss and see if he wants it. There could always be more hospital scenes in the movies, more Ariel hospital scenes even, so I'm sure Universal would appreciate the cost-cutting. Plus continuity of props!

Does make you wonder if any recognizable pieces of the original Serenity are out there anywhere.
Ooh, good idea, Kris. Okay, whoever decided to take the road trip and film the salvaging of the Ariel ambulance, send the film to Joss' people, and find out if he wants it. Man, I wish I owned a flatbed truck...or, well, any vehicle at all. I'd go down there right now. Road trip!

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-07-13 10:20 ]
This is the most fun item I have read in a long time – great spot and what an interesting person.

The word that springs to mind is serendipity.

(for the people whose main language isn’t English, it means ‘the faculty to make happy and unexpected discoveries by accident’.)
Serendipity. I love that word. And I love when Serendipitous things happen in life. It's quite magical. This certainly seems like one of those things.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-07-13 20:31 ]
I doubt that Joss wants the ambulance. He says he doesn't even have room for all 35 birthday banners! And my back yard just isn't big enough.......
Mine is!! If Joss wants it, he can keep at my place! I really wouldn't mind helping him out!
Akin wanted me to post this. Here's the link to his request. He says:

"Hey, since I'm not a member of Whedonesque, could you post over there that I am probably going to go back up there Friday to take more pictures, and if anyone in the LA area wants to tag along they should get hold of me... I should have room for a couple of people..."

So any L.A. people interested in checking out the flying ambulance from "Ariel", post a comment on his journal and let him know.
Seems a company called "Scroggins Aviation" actually owns that particular salvage yard, and that anyone who wants to salvage stuff may need to pay some money to do so:

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