More than 1,000 artifacts from decades of television will hit the auction block on June 2-4.
Among the items up for bids are The Tonight Show set from which Johnny Carson kept a nation awake and entertained until his 1992 farewell; the desk and New York City skyline from David Letterman’s Late Night; Archie and Edith Bunker’s Queens living room from All in the Family, including the two most famous chairs in sitcom history; and the bar around which the Cheers regulars congregated.
It began simply enough in 1989, with two hand-painted title cards from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson that appeared before commercial breaks and promised “More to Come.” These were the first of more than 10,000 artifacts Comisar acquired.
Comisar spent decades and millions of dollars gathering sets, props and costumes spanning TV’s birth to its Golden Age to the era of Peak TV – from Howdy Doody to Gunsmoke, I Love Lucy to Star Trek, Bewitched to I Dream of Jeannie, The Office to E.R., The Sopranos to Mad Men, All in the Family to Breaking Bad. He assembled enough material to fill the television history museum he long dreamed of opening.
But after decades of trying to establish that museum to no avail, Comisar came to a difficult decision: If these TV treasures couldn’t find an exhibition space where others could experience them, the time had come to part with a momentous portion of his renowned collection.
For auction highlights – visit: HA.com/Comisar
“After 30 years of saving and sacrificing to acquire and protect this collection, then meeting with studio heads, network presidents, theme parks and different cities across the country, I have come to accept that I won’t be able to establish the museum for TV fans I always dreamed of,” Comisar says. “I am extremely proud to have done my part in assembling and safeguarding this collection. Now, it’s up to others to take over this cultural mission.”
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