Stargate prop auction draws cultists, film pros and bargain hunters to Vancouver

When the last of the Stargate sci-fi franchise's TV spinoffs ended its run this spring, its worldwide cult following was left with little but to preserve its complex mythologies on the web and at conventions.

That, and maybe owning an authentic piece of the show as props, furniture and other show paraphernalia was cleared out in the mother of all garage sales.

The huge suburban Vancouver soundstage where Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe were shot for 14 years was turned into a bustling emporium for the two-day sale by Maynard's Industries, a Vancouver-based auction house and liquidator.

"It's got to be close to 30,000 to 40,000 items for sale," Maynard's project manager Linda Perkovic, who's handled clearances for defunct Vancouver-shot shows such as Smallville and Human Target, says as shoppers pick through racks of costumes and bins of fake military gear.

"There's a lot of interesting items: there's army militaria, hospital wear," says Perkovic. "There's also lots of sci-fi stuff."

Most of that is gone by the time we wander through the crowded aisles, snapped up by hard-core fans who lined up at Bridge Studios' front gate hours before the doors opened.

"They ran from the time they got through the gates," says Perkovic. "They knew exactly what they wanted."

Living outside the Vancouver area wasn't an insurmountable disadvantage, either.

Computer security consultant Dragos Ruiu is moving quickly along the aisles talking into his iPhone on a video link with colleague Charlie Miller of St. Louis, Mo., holding likely items up to the camera.

"He's the Stargate fan," say Ruiu. "He tweeted, 'hey, I wish someone in Vancouver would go to this,' and I said, 'yeah, I'll go to this for you, Charlie.' "

Ruiu so far has grabbed a police-style tactical vest and framed photo of a jet that decorated an office set in one of the shows. Miller, who watched SG-1 and the last spinoff Stargate Universe religiously but didn't care as much for Stargate Atlantis, isn't that picky.

"Just something that people would recognize from the show would be pretty cool," he says.

Some of the costumes are labelled with characters' names - presumably good for bragging rights at the next Stargate get-together.

The Stargate franchise grew from a 1994 movie starting Kurt Russell and James Spader about the discovery among Egyptian ruins of a portal to other worlds. While plans for a sequel fizzled it spawned three TV series that in turn spun two movie-length features. The final new episode of Stargate Universe aired in May.

A lot of the shoppers are simply bargain hunters looking to snap up lighting fixtures, computer monitors and designer clothes. There are items for as little as 50 cents and nothing over $200, say Perkovic. Film and TV prop masters and costumers are here too, bolstering their inventories.

Some of the larger pieces, such as six-foot-high panel of faux electronics that looks as if it were designed by Dali, had sold stickers on them within minutes.

But determined shoppers could always discover something cool, like the medieval-type shield Leah Ferguson found for $5 for her eight-year-old son, Niall, who likes to slay dragons.

"He's my warrior," she says but adds with a smile, "It's going on the wall."

(Leah Ferguson of Vancouver holds up the shield he got for eight-year-old son Niall at the clearance sale of props and other items from the three Vancouver-shot Stargate TV series. Steve Mertl Photo)