ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - UPDATE 3:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 17:
The manager of what is soon to be Anchorage's last remaining Blockbuster video store says he heard back from HBO and is working on the logistics of getting the promised Russell Crowe memorabilia to Alaska and on display in the store. Store manager Kevin Daymude said Tuesday there was not yet a set timeline.
John Oliver, host of HBO's "Last Week Tonight," is known for performing elaborate stunts on the show, and last Sunday he featured KTUU's reporting on the closure of multiple Blockbusters in Alaska. He did this as a prelude to an offer he hopes Blockbuster management can't refuse - Russell Crowe's jockstrap from the movie Cinderella Man, free of charge.
The general manager for the four Blockbuster stores remaining in Alaska -- one of the two left in Anchorage is slated to close in the next month -- says he'd gladly take it.
It started weeks ago on Oliver's show when he reported the strange celebrity auction Crowe would be holding to sell a number of choice pieces of memorabilia, including the fated jockstrap. The auction, which Crowe called "The Art of Divorce," was as one might imagine, a cleaning house sale in the aftermath of his divorce. The jockstrap used in the boxing film was reportedly worth between $500 and $600, according to broker Sotheby's who would be holding Crowe's auction.
Fast forward several weeks to the date of the auction, where someone reportedly purchased that jockstrap for $7,000. Online commenters speculated that the bidder was none other than Oliver himself, fueled by his earlier reference on the show lampooning the strange nature of the auction, and that item itself.
"I will admit, it does sound like something that we would do," Oliver said Sunday. "You know, buy Russell Crowe's jockstrap and send it to one of the last remaining Blockbusters in Alaska. Even that sentence is absolutely incredible to say out loud."
"The bad news is, we didn't do it," Oliver said. "We did though. We absolutely did," he said, moments later. Oliver also said the show didn't buy any other items, before again reneging, and showing that Last Week Tonight actually obtained multiple other Crowe memorabilia items at the celebratory divorce auction.
In addition to the jockstrap from Cinderella Man, the show also bought a robe and shorts from the same film. The winnings also included the set chairs of Crowe (and, for some reason, Denzel Washington) from their time on American Gangster, as well as the vest Crowe wore in the film Les Miserables, and a hood Crowe wore in Robin Hood.
However, these items may not be with Oliver for long. After introducing the segment with a nostalgia-fueled look back at Blockbuster, during which the show sourced KTUU's reporting, Oliver said he hopes to send the Crowe memorabilia to the Blockbuster store on Debarr Road.
He made a call out on the show directed at the Debarr Blockbuster's management, giving them 48 hours to get in touch with Last Week Tonight producers, in order to claim the Crowe merchandise.
Kevin Daymude, the general manager for the remaining Alaska stores, says he's reached out to Last Week Tonight on Facebook, Twitter, and finally by leaving a phone message on a number at HBO -- though by noon on Monday, he hadn't yet heard back.
"We're definitely interested, come on? Russell Crowe memorabilia?" Daymude said.
If it all comes through, Daymude already knows where it will go on display in the store. "It's gotta be up front, it's gotta be up and center, right next to Yoda," he said, referring to a roughly 3-foot-tall figurine that sits atop a drink cooler near the store's front counter.
When asked what he would say to Oliver's team if they met face to face, Daymude said he appreciated the attention. "I'm glad that we're important to them to put a little spurt about Blockbuster Alaska. I just think it's great, and to have them care enough about our business to sit there and send us this memorabilia is fantastic, and I'd love to see it, and you know, I'd love to do something special for him too."
Watch the clip below (Warning: There is some adult language):