The Comisar Collection conserves more historic television costumes, props, sets and related ephemera than any other archive—including the fabled Smithsonian in Washington DC—and maintains a level of collection care that leads the nation in the preservation of Hollywood materials.
The Comisar Collection, Inc. is the most comprehensive archive of original television costumes, props, sets, and related ephemera extant. Since its inception in 1989, the collection’s mission has been to conserve and celebrate television’s tangible history, and its artifacts span the history of television from the first flickering moments of the broadcast medium to what was on TV last night. Collection assets are as varied as Ralph Kramden’s bus driver jacket from The Honeymooners, Ricky Ricardo’s tuxedo from I Love Lucy, Captain Kirk’s uniform from Star Trek, Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone from Get Smart, Archie and Edith Bunker’s living room chairs from All In the Family, and Johnny Carson’s complete set from The Tonight Show to the vomit bucket from Fear Factor, Donald Trump’s boardroom from The Celebrity Apprentice, Simon Cowell’s judges desk from American Idol, and a section of the downed plane from Lost.
The American public spends a total of 250 billion hours each year watching TV, and over the past half century this is equal to us collectively having watched about 15 trillion hours of television. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor watching television has been America’s number 1 leisure-time activity since 1960 and the television is on in our homes over 5 hours a day. Charles Coletta, Professor of Popular Culture at Bowling Green University wrote that this is precisely why academic study and the preservation of TV’s past provides a window on American culture: “Television both reflects and influences our lives, and therefore it is necessary we take television scholarship seriously.”