After ‘The Shining:’ The Journey of Jack’s Ax
The 'Here's Johnny' scene from 'The Shining' is one of the all-time classic terror scenes in cinema. The scene stars Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and an ax.
Adapted from Stephen King's novel, 'The Shining' takes place at The Overlook Hotel but was based on King's experience of having stayed at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.
That ax has to be one of the top set props of all time. The ax that Jack Nicholson wielded ax was not a foam prop ax, however; it was the real deal; It had to be to convey the madness of Jack Torrence out to kill his loving wife, hiding behind that bathroom door.
If that ax were an actor, it might have been up for a Best Supporting Academy Award. Since it was not, nor did it have an agent, that ax completed its scene and then...
Then, what? I recently read about that ax, let's call it 'Axelrod,' in an Esquire story about the opening of Planet Hollywood. It's a pretty good story, but it includes a fun story about Axelrod.
Planet Hollywood was opening up its first location in Manhattan in 1995. They were tracking down movie memorabilia to display at the new 'flagship' location. One of the items they acquired was Axelrod.
It turns out that a guy who worked on the film took that ax, Axelrod, home. For 15 years, this guy was using it to chop wood, it apparently still had the fake blood on it from being in the movie. The Planet Hollywood people asked him how much he wanted for the ax, and all he wanted was enough to buy a new ax.
I found that, nearly 25 years later, in 2019, Axelrod was auctioned off for $200,000 at auction. I've tried to track down if Planet Hollywood was the party that auctioned off the ax but have so far been stumped. All information considered, I'd have to say it was indeed Planet Hollywood.
A movie prop collector paid all the money for the ax at that auction, and as far as we know today, he still owns Axelrod. Hopefully, it's not being used to chop wood.
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