The current governor of California would never have become the 'Governator' if he hadn't first starred in 'The Terminator' movies. These days, Schwarzenegger has other business on his agenda but memories of his movies and other flicks live on at Hollywood Cinema Collectibles, a new store in downtown Redlands that specializes in high-end collectibles.
Owner Tim Samra, who also owns the adjacent Tribal Reptile Co. pet store on Orange Street, opened Hollywood Cinema Collectibles on Nov. 17. The shop resembles a museum exhibit on action movies, horror shows and comic books.
Realistic, scale models of Sigourney Weaver, Sylvester Stallone and Schwarzenegger stand on shelves and in display cases inside the store. To the uninitiated, the items may look like highly-detailed action figures.
'They're not a toy, because toys don't have 32 to 36 points of articulation,' Samra said. 'You have all the same joints and parts as a human body does.'
'Look at Stallone,' Samra said, referring to a figure that depicts the actor as he appeared in 'Rambo III,' armed with a compound bow and Soviet machine gun. 'It looks just like they showed him (in the movie).'
Samra said the models are not action figures but examples of a better crafted kind of collectible called maquettes, of characters like the Green Goblin, Wolverine and Dracula as portrayed in a Bela Lugosi film.
Maquettes, Samra said, are similar to the kind of models that artists working on a major film would produce prior to shooting a movie. As can often be seen in 'making-of' documentaries, maquettes are crafted during pre-production so the the director can see what a character will look like once filming commences.
'Every collector in the world wants that,' Samra said.
Another difference between Samra's wares and toys is price. Pointing to a figure of Bruce Lee, he said only 500 such figures were released in the United States and his retails for $385.
'The expense of it can be staggering,' he said.
'My purchasing orders with one company, with one manufacturer don't drop below $30,000,' Samra said. 'I'm pre-ordering the new stuff for the next year. That purchasing order never drops.'
Samra, 43, said he started out as a big-Samrae collector when he was a 10-year-old fan of all things G.I. Joe.
'I was one of those kids where my parents bought me every single G.I. Joe thing that was ever made, then I got to the point where I thought girls were cool,' he said.
Unfortunately for Samra's collection, a particular girl called his G.I. Joe figures 'dolls,' which meant that the now-valuable toys wound up packed in a big box and donated to needy kids.
Samra figures he wouldn't need to work if he was able to sell those old G.I. Joes at their current value, but the way things turned out, he at least gets to work in a unique business.
'There's not another store (like mine) that I know of as a hobbyist,' he said.