: This is Part II is a series of blog posts. Click here
to read yesterday's post.]
I'm a really big fan of the 1984 cult film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. It's a movie about a physicist/brain surgeon/rock star/test pilot/adventurer who invents a device called an "Oscillation Overthruster," which allows his rocket-powered Jet Car to travel through solid matter by entering the 8th dimension. I love this movie so much I actually wrote a sequel to it, just for fun. So when I began conceptualizing my 1980s Nerdmobile Art Car, I knew I wanted to pay tribute to Dr. Banzai's Jet Car by installing an Oscillation Overthruster inside it (right next to the Flux Capacitor).
The question was, where the heck was I going to find an Oscillation Overthruster? Here's a screencap of what Dr. Banzai's Overthruster looked like in the movie:
When I googled "Oscillation Overthruster replica," one of the first links to pop up was for this Christie's auction from five years ago, where two Oscillation Overthruster replicas sold for over $2000. But these were special replicas that had made cameos in episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise. A lot of Banzai fans (like Michael Okuda) had worked on various Star Trek series, and they love sneaking references to the movie into Star Trek episodes.
Even if those replicas hadn't already been sold, they were way out of my price range. And they were also pretty crappy replicas that didn't look much like the prop in the movie. So I kept looking. Then I ran across this amazing post on the RPF Forums by a guy named Shawn who had built his own Oscillation Overthruster replica. Shawn's Overthruster was by far the most beautiful (and most accurate) replica I had ever seen:
Is that not a thing of beauty? I wanted one. Very badly.
I anxiously emailed Shawn and asked him if he would be willing to make me a casting from the same mold he'd created to make his Overthruster. Shawn turned out to be an incredibly cool guy, and he was more than happy to let me benefit from all of the time and talent he'd put into his replica. In his email, Shawn told me that making his Overthruster was the first prop project he began after his mother had passed away a few years earlier, and that it had been therapeutic to work on it. I told him that very similar circumstances had inspired me to write my first screenplay, Fanboys, which I wrote shortly after my own mother passed away. There is nothing I love more than hearing about fans who use their hobbies and passions to take their minds off their real world troubles. (This is a major theme in my novel, Ready Player One, which is out today!)
Shawn told me he couldn't paint my replica for me (he had a friend paint his), but he'd send me an unpainted casting that looked just like his. To return the favor, I sent Shawn a copy of my Buckaroo Banzai sequel script, which he told me he'd always wanted to read. He's just as big a Banzai fan as I am, and it really shows in the loving attention to detail that he put into recreating this artifact from the film.
Just a few weeks after I wrote to Shawn, this arrived in my mailbox:
This is easily one of the coolest things I've ever received in the mail. (And I've decided that "Ernie's Overthruster" will be the name of my next Jazz Funk Fusion band.) As long last, I was the proud owner of my very own Oscillation Overthruster! Now all I needed was to find someone to paint it for me, so that it would look as amazing as Shawn's replica. I knew that if I tried to paint it myself, the results would not be pretty. So I put the word out to my friends, asking if anyone knew a talented prop builder/painter who could help me out. Once again, I lucked out and found someone incredibly talented to help me finish my project.
But you'll have to wait until tomorrow to hear about her. See you then!