Store targets craving for aliens, monsters 'Star Wars,' 'Star Trek' collectibles are popular at new sci-fi business

July 05, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Holy whiskers, Pasadena! Aliens, monsters and people in poorly matched underwear are stalking Ritchie Highway!

But fear not. Kirk Ringer and Matt Tucker have come to save the day.

The 27-year-olds own Sci-Fi Station, a store at Festival Plaza that sells science fiction, horror and fantasy collectibles and memorabilia. It is the first of its kind in the county, they say.

For the casual fan, X-Files T-shirts, Batman and Robin figurines, Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games and Terminator 2 CD-ROM games line the floor and walls of the 1,250-square-foot store.

For the hard-core fans, there is a rubber mask from the movie "The Mask," a die-cast model of Robocop and a 2-foot-tall foam and rubber replica of Yoda, the mystical elflike being from the "Star Wars" series.

The store is an eclectic mix of inexpensive toys and priceless movie props -- an intentional design, Ringer said.

"You try to match the mainstream with the specialized, hard-to-find collectibles," he said.

"Some people like to have a mug or a T-shirt, and some people like to have a limited-run item."

The store has scheduled a grand opening tomorrow with poster giveaways and prize drawings. But Ringer and Tucker unofficially opened their doors Saturday.

"We had people knocking on the door asking us when are we opening," Ringer said. "We opened prematurely because of the great response."

The Annapolis friends became interested in opening a store when they attended a "Star Trek" convention in Hunt Valley three years ago.

A dealer at the convention told them everything they wanted to know about the business.

"It was something we considered before, [but] our interest kind of grew from there," Tucker said.

Both agreed that the most sought-after items are those related to the "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" series. Tucker said the Star Trek genre has survived for more than 30 years because it appeals to many age groups.

"You get some of the older people coming back for the original "Star Trek" stuff," he said. "The younger people are interested in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' and 'Deep Space 9.' "

Tucker said "Star Wars" has returned to fame thanks to filmmaker George Lucas' commitment to direct and produce three "Star Wars" movies in 1999.

For now, fans can whet their appetites by reading "Shadows of the Empire," a "Star Wars"-based novella set between "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi."

Each owner has his favorites. Tucker is particularly fond of some "Star Trek" props enclosed in a glass case. For $400, you can buy a phaser or tricorder built by the man who designed them for the "Star Trek" series.

Ringer is partial to an uncut set of "Star Wars" trading cards. The set is one of 250 produced and is so valuable that he had a difficult time estimating its worth.

Ringer said interest in science fiction and fantasy is growing because many people see the two art forms as outlets.

"A lot of people like science fiction because, it's a step away from turning on the TV and hearing about murders, killings and bombs," he said.

"A world with no money, no biases -- it epitomizes where society should be."

Pub Date: 7/04/96

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