From Russell Crowe, to Alaska Blockbuster, and back again: A jockstrap's journey
Earlier this year, KTUU reported on the series of Blockbuster Video stores, closing down across Alaska until, finally, they were all gone. One store stands alone, in Oregon, but none are in Alaska.
In order to help the Alaska store stay open, producers with HBO's 'Last Week Tonight,' a comedy show hosted by John Oliver, made one last gamble: bid on (and win) several pieces of movie history, and then donate them to the failing Anchorage store.
That came in the form of multiple items from Russell Crowe's celebrity auction, "The Art of Divorce." This gift included a jockstrap from
, which Oliver and his show bought for $7,000, along with other Crowe memorabilia.
Unfortunately, even that merchandise wasn't enough to keep the doors open. The Debarr store, which housed the Crowe goods, closed down in July of 2018.
From there, the question became:
That question remained unanswered, with Blockbuster management saying they were selling off nearly everything in the store aside from Crowe's merchandise.
Unanswered, that is, until this past weekend, 'Last Week Tonight' aired a follow-up segment during the show’s fifth-season finale, addressing the now-famous loin covering.
In the episode, which aired on Nov. 18, 'Last Week Tonight' produced an elaborate segment, parodying
film franchise, where a crew of thieves, played by wax statues of the presidents, carried out a heist heavy with action film tropes, in order to steal back the jockstrap (yes, that's really what it was).
In the ending of the clip, Russell Crowe is seen as the shadowy mastermind pulling the strings behind of the operation, all for the sake of reclaiming his missing jockstrap.
Back in reality, outside the confines of the sketch, who really owns the prop isn't clear.
Whether Crowe now technically owns it for good, or it was just for the sake of a stunt, isn't yet known, leaving more questions than answers in the mystery of the traveling jockstrap.
Did Crowe really get his merch back? Did LWT have to buy them back from Alan Payne, owner of Border Entertainment, which used to own and operate Alaska's Blockbuster stores? Did Crowe buy it back for the $7,000 auction price? And where will it be kept now?
KTUU reached out to both HBO as well as Payne; neither have responded for comment, leaving many of these questions unanswered.
But in the end, it's almost better that way. The jockstrap left as mysteriously as it arrived, sailing back into Russell Crowe's arms in a truly Blockbuster-worthy blockbuster production.