“You don’t find too many nine-foot tall high-heel shoes that you can actually slide down,” says Greg Thompson.
Well, he’s right.
But he knows exactly where you can find one, along with an eight-foot tall jukebox on wheels, hundreds upon hundreds of costumes, and a 1980 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.
Chances are, you haven’t seen a garage sale quite like this.
That’s just some of what’s for sale at Thompson’s Interbay warehouse (921 Elliott Ave. W.) through Aug. 13 — from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day — as his production company parts with decades of props, outfits, and backdrops from past shows.
“These are a lot of iconic props for us,” he says. “Whether anybody can use them or not, I have no idea.”
The sale reflects the changing nature of the business, Thompson says. Much of the work once done in-house is now farmed out, and the days of elaborate casino shows are in the past.
“Things have changed dramatically in the last 10 years since the recession,” he says. “The casino business … they don’t have the budgets that they had in the old days.”
With that came a transition to more theatre work and special productions. That includes the annual Snowflake Lane at The Bellevue Collection, which Thompson estimates takes up about half of the year to prepare for, with a cast of 350 people performing 35 nights during the holiday season.
“That takes up a lot of our time now,” he says.
The company also puts on a yearly show in Las Vegas., and has been working on a documentary film titled, “Becoming Marilyn Monroe,” about the theatrical productions they’ve produced on the life of the Hollywood icon.
“I had no idea how much work was involved in putting a documentary together,” Thompson says. “It’s absolutely mind-boggling.”
But even that amount of work is a far cry from how large the operation once was. At one point, the business had eight warehouses all over the country, spread out in places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and Nevada, while semi-trucks would come and go from Seattle location every few weeks filled with the necessities for another production. In all, Thompson says, his company has put on somewhere in the range of 700 to 800 shows around the world.
Beginning next year, the production of the shows they currently do will be done out of locations in Bellevue, Everett, and “Sin City,” hence the sale and liquidation of much of what’s housed in the Interbay facility; though Thompson notes they’ll still be there for “at least” another year. And each piece comes with the stories of past performances. The rolling jukebox, for instance, dates back nearly 40 years to the “Music Hall Follies,” stage show held at Jack McGovern’s Music Hall (a building long since demolished). A large Native American “triple mask” comes from the “Dance on the Wind” production, staged for nearly two decades at Tillicum Village. Then, there are the seven-foot tall hand-painted French posters in the style of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
“You put that up in somebody’s living room, and it’s like, ‘Pow!’” Thompson says. “It’d be a great piece.”
Musicians may be interested in the large array of road cases for sale, while Thompson suggested smaller production companies around town, or local schools may be interested in some of the bigger sets.
Then, there’s the fare one would expect to find at any given garage clear out, though perhaps on a larger scale. That means hundreds of CDs, an array of furniture, rugs, desks, chairs, and file cabinets. Also for sale are a wide variety of frames with posters from past shows. Not that you have to keep them that way.
“If you want to replace it with something else, you can,” Thompson says.
Some of Thompson’s sports memorabilia is also available for purchase, including baseballs signed by Mickey Mantle and Harmon Killibrew, and boxing gloves autographed by Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran.
Then, of course, are the cars. There’s the aforementioned Rolls Royce, and a 1990 Jaguar SX12.
But, if one of the larger items catches your interest, how much should you expect to pay?
“My attitude is no reasonable offer refused,” Thompson says.
Though, that reasonable offer may need to be in cash. That’s the only accepted form of payment for purchases under $100.
And even if you can’t take any of it home, Thompson notes the spectacle itself may be worth a visit.
“There’s a lot of interesting things for people to come look at,” he says. “Whether or not they want to buy it or not, I don’t know.”
For more information on Greg Thompson Productions, visit www.gregthompsonproductions.com. To comment on this story, write to QAMagNews@nwlink.com.