Keith Eubanks II

Archive for the ‘Collectibles’ Category

It’s not the years . . .

In Collectibles, Dreams on March 4, 2010 at 6:20 am

A statue of Indiana Jones, as he appears in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, sits atop a bookcase in my study. He stands in the ruins of a Mayan temple, whip in hand. At his feet, the golden mask of Orellana. Indy’s face shows his age, lined and weathered, but his eyes are clear and bright. The famous fedora is pushed casually back on his forehead. He looks a little wiser, a little more content, a little more self-assured.

And it is an excellent likeness of Harrison Ford.

A friend, seeing the statue, asked me recently why I had “old Indy” up on the shelf, not the younger version from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I can’t really explain why I like this one so much, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. Maybe it’s that another year has past, and another birthday reminds me that I too am getting older.

I guess I like the statue because it reminds me that Indiana Jones is still out there doing what he does best.  And as it turns out,  a full life may not be measured in years after all.

It’s the mileage.

My brother-in-law recently bought a Porsche. It was used, with very low mileage and it was expensive. He explained to me that the value of these cars is based not just on the condition of the car. Cars with fewer miles are worth more, so an older Porsche with lower mileage is actually worth more money than a newer model with higher mileage. I wondered why someone would buy an $80,000 car and then not drive it – or only put a few thousand miles on it and then sell it. The car isn’t really something to enjoy then, it is an artifact sitting in some warehouse – or four car garage.

Maybe I’m missing something, but if I owned a Porsche, I’d drive it until it fell apart.

Socrates said that the unexamined life was not worth living. These unexamined lives, I think, are a lot like Porsches sitting in so many garages. They are meant to be driven. And lives are meant to be lived and living them comes with wear, tear, depreciation, and failure.

Mileage.

I remember a scene in Raiders where the Ark of the Covenant has been secured in the cargo hold of a smuggler’s ship, and Marion Ravenwood says to Indy, affectionately, “You’re not the man I knew ten years ago.” He responds with one of the best loved lines in the film, “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the milage.”

It’s been repeated many times and in the repeating it has become something of an adage on the inevitability of aging, but I don’t think Indy was complaining. I heard satisfaction, maybe even pride. He earned every bump and bruise and scar and that’s just the way we like him. Maybe Marion likes him better that way too. Maybe Indiana Jones couldn’t really live his own life until he left the shadow of Abner Ravenwood and set out on his own.

“You aren’t the man I knew ten years ago,” she says.

None of us are.

The Indiana Jones films chronicle the evolution of Indy’s obsession with artifacts. In The Last Crusade, a young Indiana idealistically – and relentlessly – pursues the Cross of Coronado, and for a moment he actually holds it in his hands. But only for a moment, and his eyes fill with tears of frustration as the relic is taken from him. In the very next scene, and many years later in Indy’s life, he fights for and finally reclaims the cross. The real point of the scene isn’t revealed, however, until the end of the film when a temple in the canyon of the crescent moon is collapsing, and Indiana Jones is about to fall into the depths of a chasm as he reaches for the Holy Grail.

And for a moment -just a moment- he has his hand on it. He reaches for the cup much like he fought for the cross, obsessed, relentless, unwilling to let it go. It’s a lesson that comes with age, and it is his father’s voice, older and wiser, that cuts through the crashing rock and chaos, speaking calmly, compellingly.

Indiana . . . let it go.

And he does.

And he is never the same.

Mileage.

This is why I like “old Indy.” It’s in the eyes and the set of his mouth. It’s in the tilt of the hat on his head. This is a guy that has learned to let it go. All those things we cannot have, we cannot change, we cannot forget or forgive.

The grail is a metaphor for life – or your Porsche. Either way, it doesn’t matter. You’ll have to let it go, eventually.

So drive the car. And enjoy it.

It’s not the number of years that make a life meaningful. It’s the mileage.

My wife told me a story a few years ago that still makes me smile. Her office at that time was just down the hall from mine and the corridor was filled with students waiting to meet with me. My door was closed -I wasn’t there yet- but the students began to wonder if I was in my office and just not answering. She overheard one of them say, “He’s kind of like Indiana Jones. He probably crawled out the back window to avoid us.” The students laughed.

I liked the comparison. And when you inspire that kind of mythology, you can’t go wrong. But you’d better do your best to live up to it.

I know how I will celebrate my birthday this year. I’ll be working. I could take a personal day, but I love what I do and I feel the weight of the responsibility that comes with such a calling – or quest.

And I know that one day I’ll have to let it go.

But not today.

It’s going to be a long day, this March 4th. I start before the sun comes up, and my kids will be asleep long before I come home. And when my shadow crosses the doorway, I’ll be looking for a good piece of chocolate cake and a glass of wine. Brooke might rub my tired shoulders and ask me where it hurts.

And I will probably fall asleep.

“Well,” she might say, “At least you haven’t forgotten how to show a lady a good time.”

Still Lost in Space – The Jupiter 2

In Collectibles, Electric Sheep on February 19, 2010 at 9:57 pm

On October 16th, 1997 the Robinson family, in deep cryogenic sleep, left the Earth aboard the Jupiter 2 – the first family in an effort to colonize Alpha Centari. The victim of sabotage by an enemy agent, the damaged ship and its occupants were hopelessly lost in space. The Jupiter 2, shaped like a large flying saucer, would serve as the Robinson’s home as they tried to find their way back to Earth.

The 1960’s Irwin Allen series was a preemptive attempt to capture a science fiction audience before the imminent release of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. Over the years, Lost in Space hasn’t held up as well as Star Trek due largely to its campy plots and monster of the week episodes, but it is still much loved for its iconic robot and the famous ship that captured the imaginations of boys like me. I am still nostalgic for those early adventures.  Watching these old shows reminds me of the boy I once was, and the memories are fond and vivid.

I recently added the Jupiter 2 to my collection of science fiction models and memorabilia. The Moebius Jupiter 2 is an impressive 18 inches across and highly detailed – far superior to earlier model versions of the ship. I found a professional modeler that built the ship for me and the craftsmanship far exceeded my expectations – and they were very high.  The modeler was able to install a custom lighting kit that really brings the ship to life. Each cryo-tube is individually lit as is the elevator shaft. Lights hidden between the panels of the ship bring each computer console to life. The landing gears and reactor core are also lit.  The detailed painting of the consoles is perfect. Looking through the main window of the ship is like looking onto a movie set.

The Jupiter 2 takes its place in my collection with other famous ships from late 60’s and 70’s science fiction shows including a 3 foot model of the USS Enterprise from the original Star Trek series, the Eagle One Transporter from Space 1999 and the Seaview from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

The following photos are of the actual model in my collection. If you are interested in one of these I can connect you with the artist.

Indiana Jones Premium Format Statue from Sideshow Collectibles

In Collectibles, Electric Sheep on February 1, 2009 at 7:09 pm
Indy statue in the morning light.

Indy statue in the morning light.

This statue from Sideshow Collectibles will probably be the best Indiana Jones collectible produced. It has already won several industry awards. Indy stands nearly two feet tall from the base and is highly detailed. The likeness to Harrison Ford is outstanding. I have the exclusive version which comes with an alternate hatless head.  The gun belt is real leather and the gun can be removed. The statue is created out of polystone and hand painted. The clothing is fabric and highly detailed.

This photo was taken by me in the morning light. The statue sits on my desk and I like to look at it while I am checking my email. The light really brings it to life. He casts a shadow on the wall that looks like something right out of the original film. I am posting an additional photo from Sideshow of the entire statue and base. 7192_press02-0014

When the first Raiders films were in theaters there were very few toys or collectibles produced. This is why Indiana Jones collectibles are so rare. They made up for this with the release of the new film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I am hoping that Sideshow will produce another one of Dr. Jones -this time dressed as the professor of archeology, with tweed suit and glasses. The alternate head with hat would be a good choice as the exclusive for this statue. He could be holding the grail diary from the third film.

While there are Indy collectibles available -and at every price point- I bought only one. I think I chose wisely . . .

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