When it comes to television, plenty of shows like to pretend that they take place on our gorgeous South Florida shores, but few of them are actually filmed on site. (We're looking at you, Dexter.)
Burn Notice on USA Network, on the other hand, is perhaps one of the most beloved shows to take place in Miami -- and it filmed here for seven straight seasons. Now, since the upcoming seventh season will be its last, and the final episode has been filmed, it's time to clean house.
Tuesday marked the start of the two-day auction of all things Burn Notice at its former home, the Coconut Grove Convention Center. The doors of the Expo Center were open wide in order to let in as much air as possible, and the smell of a coming rainstorm could be detected. The lack of air conditioning did little to keep fans and buyers away.
As you entered the vastness of the Expo Center, a thin red carpet greeted you, complete with rusty gold stanchions. To your right, a set of three comfy-looking leather couches were arranged in front of a big screened Toshiba TV, with matching speakers, playing old episodes of Burn Notice. Standing there, taking in every inch of the room possible, you start to realize how much goes into the production of a television show.
Seven years' worth of props and memorabilia were stacked upon a seemingly endless amount of tables and bookshelves; other items were even thrown into a heaping pile on the floor. Seven years and 111 episodes later, USA Network is calling quits on the show and getting rid of everything they can (and we mean everything, down to the binder clips). The auction, organized by the Jay Sugarman Auction Corp., is one of those rare moments to give back to the fans, quite literally.
Fans, collectors, reporters, and even people who had no idea what was going on gathered at the convention center to browse through dust-covered items and get the chance to take pictures with the Miami Metro Police sign or even hold one of those plastic rifles.
One Burn Notice superfan, Armand Cooper, said it was a bittersweet moment. "It's sad to see [everything], but it's also cool; it's a once in a lifetime experience." Cooper went down to the auction with nothing in particular in mind, "I wanted to come down and check it out and see what they have."
With his white paper slip with bold red numbers - used in place of a typical auction paddle - in hand, Cooper rested his arm on a safe with a sign that read "Season 5 Asset." This wasn't your usual sturdy, heavy type safe - after all, how can you protect your valuables when the safe is backless? That's the magic of television show props. "The best one is the headstones," said Cooper, referring to the props that were stacked together and surprisingly lightweight. "That was really cool [to see]."
Cooper was enjoying himself walking around and taking pictures of memorable items. He commented on seeing a chaise lounge that belonged to Madeline (Sharon Gless) as he remembers it from an episode. "[The auction] is sad because I liked the show - it was a very well done show and I enjoyed it - so it's unfortunate that they're ending it. I guess there's only so much they can do with a show," he says.
At 11:45 a.m., one of the auctioneers rallied the surprisingly small crowd and the auction began. Working his way around the room, he called out numbers at such a speed that only those with a trained ear could really understand it all. As the crowd stepped little by little across each area that was set up, all you could hear were coughs and humphs as bidders called attention to themselves and held up their numbers.
While those interested in the items at the front of the Expo Center were moving along with the auctioneer, others were still wandering around making lists.
Jhamil M. was away from the crowd inspecting an elegant white leather square couch. "I'm trying to figure out where I would put this," he says. As a big fan of the show, Jhamil was aiming to score a sofa with two love seats, and a glass bar cart set as seen on the show to serve whiskey - "I'm thinking about buying that, because I drink whiskey, so it makes sense," he says with a laugh.
Though Jhamil didn't attend the auction looking for anything in particular, he was surprised to see the Miami Metro sign, some motorcycles, and three black 1973 Dodge Chargers. (He remembers when one of them blew up on the show.) "They have a lot of stuff... a lot of cool stuff."
There were all sorts of people in attendance. There was a couple who was rummaging through a stack of giant signs in search of a particular dog sign for a friend. There was a group of blonde women power walking around in search of the wardrobe section because they wanted to get their hands on a classic Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell) Hawaiian shirt. There was a couple who switched off taking pictures next to the cars and the Miami Metro Police Station sign, and posing with the plastic prop guns. And there was even one guy who didn't know where all this stuff came from and thought I was both psychic and crazy when I said Burn Notice.
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If you weren't able to come out to the convention center yesterday (or for those fans who live outside of the Greater Miami area), Jay Sugarman is holding an online live auction that takes place today, Wednesday, starting at 12 noon. This could be the last chance you get to own Jesse Porter's Porsche or Fiona's Prada ankle boots.
Maybe Wednesday's sales will be as easy on your wallet as Tuesday's. Remember that TV set and leather couch set you saw when you first walked in? The television set went for $35 and one lucky customer snagged up the three couches for $100. Here's hoping you can still smell Jeffrey Donovan's sweat on those cushions.