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Monsters, aliens, more! Heads and heads galore!

Things go bump in Bob's basement

Bob Burns' basement is a gold mine of sci-fi memorabilia, including the time machine from the 1960 movie
Bob Burns' basement is a gold mine of sci-fi memorabilia, including the time machine from the 1960 movie  

(CNN) -- In the science-fiction classic, "The Time Machine"(1960), Rod Taylor steps into something that looks like a combination gold-plated golf cart and hydrofoil, a fabulous thing with flashing lights and a crystal gear shift, and travels through time.

Who would have known that the machine's future travels would bring it Bob Burns' basement?

Yet Burns didn't stop with Serlings' celestial go-cart. His collection of movie memorabilia runs the gamut of the fantasy-film genre. Take all the stuff he has and you'd have the makings of a B-movie that might be called "It Came From Bob's Basement."

That is the title of a recent publication. "It Came From Bob's Basement" (Chronicle Books) features 144 pages of the strange, the scary and the ... well, the just plain weird.


His collection includes the full-size werewolf puppet from "An American Werewolf In London" (1981), the flying saucer from "The Day The Earth Stood Still"(1951)and the 18-inch metal figure that served as an occasional filming stand-in for 35-foot star of "King Kong" (1933), to name a few.

The little King Kong, Burns notes, is of interest to more than just film buffs.

"The Smithsonian was trying to get him away from me; they'd love to have it." he says. "It's an amazing puppet."

Once trash, now treasure

Burn's fascination with sci-fi and monster movies began in childhood. He went on to work in various jobs in the film industry, befriending many of the creative minds of the behind-the-scenes magic.

"Most of the stuff the studios couldn't wait to get rid of," he says. "People would call me and say were 'throwing this stuff out do you want it?'"

One of Burn's prized possessions is a moonscape painting by artist Chesley Bonestell, a painter who specialized in astronomical scenes. Film fans might recognize it from "Destination Moon" (1950).

"In the big screen's first moon landing, the guys look out of the spaceship and this is what they see," Burns says.

Burns has more earthly things, too. There are monster feet in his basement, standing next to Frankenstein's shoes; metal, pock-marked mannequins from "Terminator" (1984); and the alien queen who was Sigourney Weaver's nemesis in "Alien"(1979).

Burns chronicles his collection in a new book
Burns chronicles his collection in a new book  

And don't forget the room full of heads -- monster heads, creature heads, and who-knows-what kinds of head. They're stacked on shelves, staring right back at you. Their faces are as varied as the films in which they appeared. There's the mummy mask worn by Lon Chaney Jr. in "The Mummy's Tomb"(1942), for example, resting alongside some of the indescribable faces of the creatures whooping it up in the cantina in "Star Wars" (1977).

The collection, Burns notes, is a legacy of a faded art form.

"Today most of this stuff is computer generated," he says.

Burns says he can't put a price on his collection, nor doeshe need to: It's not for sale. His collection, he says, is a private museum.

Sharing the house with Burns and all his movie memorabilia is his wife of 43 years, Katherine. Has she ever heard any strange noises coming from the basement?

"Actually I do, and I send Bob down here to see what's going on," she says. "I don't want to see them playing."

Considering their line of work, it's more likely that Burns' collection is making a movie.

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