Is It ‘Collector’s Call’ Most Valuable Collection Yet?
It’s the most valuable collection in Collector’s Call history, and he is one of the most interesting collector’s around (Jerry Mathers best friend and Judy Garland’s neighbor!?)
On Sunday, April 2 MeTV’s Collector’s Call introduces viewers to Rich Correll, the curator behind the legendary Icons of Darkness exhibit/museum, the world’s largest private collection of screen-used special effects, props and costumes.
Rich Correll started his career in Hollywood at age 8 and went on to become a producer and director. He first starred on Leave It to Beaver, playing one of Beaver’s good friends, Richard Rickove. It’s his time on Leave It to Beaver that his collection really started (and his lifelong friendship with Jerry Mathers began).
“Jerry and I were huge horror movie and monster fans,” Rich shares, and Universal Studio, where the family comedy was filmed, was filled with fascinating places, props and people for two young boys to explore. “I saw this head in the trash that Boris Karloff had used in a movie called Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and I knew what it was. I was a little kid and I said, ‘Hey, can I take that?’”
After getting permission to keep it, Rich took the 1960 artifact and officially began his collection of preserving some of the most fascinating items in Hollywood’s history.
Collector’s Call host Lisa Whelchel takes viewers on a tour of Rich’s exhibit, where he shares fascinating and fun facts on the behind-the-scenes of these items in his collection.
“I don’t watch horror films and they do scare me, so I thought, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to be able to really even kind of appreciate what this is,’” Whelchel shares. She was wrong. “I obviously knew all of the sci-fi and all the fantasy, with Star Wars and Jurassic Park and Alien and The Terminator. These are just classics. I actually brought my whole family back over Christmas. And I had no idea that my son and my sons-in-law and my brother were as excited as the kids about going to see his collection in person.”
“I have a 10-year-old stepson and the last couple of years during the pandemic, we watched every season of Leave It to Beaver from the beginning straight through,” Whelchel says. “So, we were familiar with Rich’s character. To hear that he was the best man at Jerry Mathers’ wedding and to hear that his collection started while filming Leave It to Beaver, just by getting an old mask out of the trash can outside the property department [on the studio lot], that’s why I love this show. The collections are great, but the stories are equally as fascinating.”
Lisa also introduces viewers to horror expert and appraiser Joe Moe who provides some pretty shocking details on what all these items Rich preserved are now worth.
With a collection this large and so diverse on Hollywood history, what could possible be Rich’s favorite? It’s the green-faced Wicked Witch of the West (played by Margaret Hamilton) from The Wizard of Oz!
“Judy Garland was my next-door neighbor and when I was a kid I can remember a time going over to her house, I was with her stepson,” Rich tells Welchel. Garland proceeded to sing Rich “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” while she was making soup in her kitchen. He goes on to share more stories about Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz, as well as the rest of his beloved artifacts.
More on Icons of Darkness
The Icons of Darkness exhibit is located at the Hollywood & Highland Mall, directly on Hollywood Blvd, and is open 11AM until 9 PM Sunday through Thursday & 11AM till 10 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. The last tour is 1/2 hour prior to closing.