Something that I've always wondered.....
What ever happened to the original Crow costume?
I've often wondered where the original Crow costume has ended up. Apparently, if we are to believe what we read online, Brandon Lee's leather trench coat and other pieces of his iconic Crow costume were sold off to different movie prop auction houses which then sell to private collectors.
In Dec 2014 I did an online search and found seven different movie prop auction sites that at some point in the last 20 years have claimed to have the original Crow costume, or parts of it. Inexplicably, three of those seven claim to have the original "damaged" (purposefully distressed to have bullet holes, etc.) version of the black shirt and leather pants, while four of the seven auction sites claim to have the "damaged" trench coat. Yet three of the four auction sites picture a trench coat in which the bullet holes and tears are in different places. Additionally, the location of the collar folds are different on three of the coats shown.
I think it's safe to say that the folks who worked in the costuming department for the movie paid more attention to continuity than what these auction houses would suggest. Therefor, I strongly suspect that some of these costume pieces, if not all of them, are fake. If someone were a big enough fan of the Crow to pay the amounts asked for at these auctions, I wonder why the same costume keeps coming up for auction in such short periods of time? Wouldn't the original owner keep it as a prized possession for more than just a few years? As it's such a coveted item, would the original buyer ever put the costume up for auction again at all? Why is it that such an iconic costume has such difficulty finding a permanent home? And why would the studio or Brandon Lee's estate part with the costume in the first place, if in fact they did?
Click on image to see a larger version. Below are all the source links for this graphic. Additional information about the Oct 9, 2009 auction (shown above, far left) can be found at this link:
1) Prop Archives (from a Profiles in History auction)
4) Screen Used http://www.proparchives.com/horror/horror-films-1990s/the-crow/crow-the-eric-dravens-costume-brandon-lee
5) Live Auctioneers http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/158736
Yet, there's still more confusion. One of the above auction sites claims to have an "undamaged" pair of pants, and another site has an "undamaged" jacket...but weren't these items purposefully distressed throughout the filming of the movie?
Curiously, I found yet another auction (dated Aug 1, 2008) for a full crow costume titled "Crow Costume Display" in which the accompanying text states "...complete with screen used crow bird from the film." but does not clearly state if the costume itself was also used in the film or if it is just a mock-up to display the bird. A rather bold and misleading scam if ever I've seen one! Here is the source link:
In addition, I also found a site that sells brand new "Crow coats" at retail, which begs the question, how difficult would it be to buy one of these and distress it to make it look like the original from the movie?
This Crow shirt has popped up on at least five different auction sites, all of which claim the shirt was worn by Brandon Lee and is "screen used". Does that mean there's more than one shirt known to exist? Or is something fishy going on?
Black shirt, Crow shirt. How many, many shirt, shirts do I see?
1) Live Auctioneers posted an auction for a full costume which included an undamaged shirt, Nov 15, 2003 (seen in the above graphic that I compiled to present all the different costume auctions)
2) Star Wares via bidami.com [This shirt listing was added to this list in May 2016] This auction ended April 5, 2012 and was for an undamaged "movie worn" shirt that was originally sold in 1999 by Star Wares. It came with a "Letter of Authenticity" from Star Wares, dated Nov. 26, 1999, that does not provide any details of the shirt's provenance (how it got from the movie studio to Star Wares or how they know it is "movie worn") and is basically just a purchase note. The original sale price also isn't noted in the letter. The 2012 bidami.com auction sold for $678.00 which I assume was in US funds. (So is this a second shirt or the one from the Nov 15, 2003 auction?)http://www.bidami.com/Auctions/AuctionItem?AuctionId=72315&t=Closed&p=0
3) icollector.com posted a shirt on it's own, June 24, 2012 (Again, is this a second shirt or the one from the Nov 15, 2003 auction? Or is it a third shirt?) http://www.icollector.com/The-Crow-Brandon-Lee-Shirt_i12983404
4) Juliensauctions.com posted a shirt (their photo is above - the white mannequin with the shirt) April 5th, 2013 (So if this is the same shirt does this mean that the previous owner from June 24, 2012 kept the shirt for less than a year? Or is it a fourth shirt or one of the others above?)
This is the current listing for the shirt which I added here May 2016, and shows the shirt sold for $768 closing on "04/05/2013":
This was the original link I had posted Dec 2014 for shirt #4 but the listing has since been removed and the site updated: http://www.proparchives.com/horror/horror-films-1990s/the-crow/brandon-lee-the-crow-shirt
5) Golden Closet This was a current, ongoing auction posting for a shirt which I stumbled upon Dec 28, 2014 while originally compiling this information. (Does this mean the previous owner of April 5, [2013 kept the shirt for only one year and eight months? Will the new buyer be obligated to sell the shirt promptly? Or have I located five different screen used shirts?) The listing is no longer available, however this was the original link that I found Dec 2014:
6) Unknown I also found another photo of the shirt. There's limited information with it so it's unknown if this is the same shirt (or one of them) from the above auction(s). This is the original link that I found Dec 2014, but it no longer works:
7) Unknown And yet another photo of the shirt with limited information. There are actually two different links to two different photos of the same type of shirt, so does this mean there are two more shirts in addition to all the above?
If auctioning off fake or fishy costume pieces isn't bad enough, I was shocked to find an auction for a short leather jacket, apparently worn by Brandon Lee, that went as far as to sate the following in a July 30th, 2004 listing:
"Most significantly, the jacket shows evidence of blood at the lower right-side hem in the back of the jacket, strongly suggesting that this is the actual jacket worn by Lee at the time of his death on the set of The Crow."
Can you be more shallow and disrespectful? Sad, what some people will do just to make a buck. Clearly this auction claim is bogus because Brandon Lee didn't die "on the set of the Crow", he was accidentally shot there and transported to the hospital, where he died five hours later. Therefor he clearly would not have been wearing a jacket "at the time of his death". Finding blood on a piece of clothing also does not "strongly suggest" anything other than you need to get it dry cleaned. How on earth would they know whose blood it is? And if they are the serious, reputable researchers they claim to be, they would have known the order of events and that Lee was taken to the hospital. So to say "strongly suggests" is an epic failure.... not to mention, a complete scam!
Below is the original link from when I compiled this page on Dec 2014 showing where I found the above quote. I checked this link again in May 2016, one year and five months later, and it no longer worked. Instead the same link redirects to "heroprop.com" after showing the message "New site coming soon":
Remarkably, the same jacket (presumably!) was later relisted on Dec 21, 2013 by the same auction house using this title:
"Brandon Lee "Eric Draven" Jacket Worn In The Scene Of The Crow When Lee Had His Tragic Accident."
It's a real shame that people can be so heartless. How amazing that in the nine years between listings, the jacket has somehow gone from "strongly suggests" to a concrete "when". Shameful.
As with the above link, the original link from Dec 2014 for the second auction listing now redirects to "heroprop.com":
**May 2016 Update**
Hard to believe it's possible, but the epic failure of these auctions has become even more epic. In May 2016 I found the above two links were no longer working and both redirected to "heroprop.com". Yet, I also found that the two listings in question were still available to view online at proparchives.com through a different, new ink at golive.com. In both cases these supposedly "archived" listings have in fact been altered and now include additional details about Mr. Lee's tragic accident that the original listings did not provide...essentially they now include information that I had mentioned here Dec 2014 when calling out these auctions for their questionable authenticity and research. Quite an ironic coincidence isn't it! Smells to me like someone is trying to cover their tracks. Ironically, and comically, both listings now have the exact same additional text - word for word. Clearly someone did a cut and paste job to each of the listings in a poor attempt to cover up the original poor research. Just astonishing!
Here are both of the new, revised listings for both of the old "archived" auctions - which are still just as questionable and in poor taste as when they were originally listed, and still just as shameful:
**End of May 2016 update**
In any case, I find it a glaring oversight that the original Crow costume isn't already in the Smithsonian, or some other notable popular culture museum, where it belongs. If in fact the movie studio that produced The Crow no longer has the original costume, and it really is somewhere out there touring auction houses, with so many "experts" authenticating fake costumes it seems improbable that anyone will ever find the real one.
**May 2016 update** Here's a website offering custom made leather Crow pants, so just like we've seen with the trench coat, reproductions of the pants aren't difficult to find either. I wouldn't buy them online though, but that's just me! http://www.leathersjackets.com/the-crow-eric-draven-pants.html
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