- The Washington Times - Friday, March 3, 2000

BALTIMORE

Hundreds stood in line along the harbor Thursday for the chance to enter an aging building and lay down their cash for dusty pictures, used shoes and assorted trinkets.

To the average eye, these items have little value. For the faithful viewers of the police drama "Homicide: Life on the Street" once filmed in this old, wharfside building in Baltimore's Fells Point neighborhood this junk is more like treasure.

The Emmy-winning series, which drew its stories from the Baltimore Police Department's homicide squad, ended its seven-year run on NBC last year. Now, boxes of clothing and props are up for sale to the fans with the most passion and patience.

"I'm so excited. It's going to take hours for me to calm down," said Baltimore resident John Kosyjana, 46, who worked as an extra in about 20 episodes. "I'm like a school kid in a candy store."

A security guard at the door said about 50 fans were lined up by 5:30 a.m. A line of shivering souvenir-seekers stretched down the road by the time the first group was allowed in at 9 a.m.

Prices ranged from four for a dollar to thousands of dollars.

"I bought some things that were a quarter," said Jeff Spence, 37, of the District of Columbia. He walked out with a chair, bowling ball and a bag of assorted keepsakes.

A table from the interview room, with handcuffs attached, cost just $25, the same price as Detective Frank Pembleton's famous coat.

All day long, grinning men and women lugged police riot shields, desk chairs and bags of goodies from the building on Thames Street that once served as "police headquarters."

Ed Caban drove down from Philadelphia and found himself about 30 deep in line by 7 a.m. His cache of memorabilia included a hat worn by actor Clark Johnson who played Detective Meldrick Lewis and a baseball glove.

"I don't know whose glove this is, but it looks good," he said, noting its price of $1. "I didn't expect all this at all."

The prop sale by NBC comes on the heels of a "Homicide" made-for-TV-movie, which aired last month and answered some unresolved questions from the series.

Once inside "headquarters," buyers walked through a series of dark hallways adorned with furniture propped against the wall. A sign on a sofa read: "$10 cash and carry."

Folks trailed off into various clothing rooms, where wardrobes were organized by character. Another line formed for entrance to the room with the props.

There, boxes were stuffed with shoes, and the racks were filled with hospital scrubs. Fans scooped up bowling bags, hard hats, even business cards emblazoned with the characters' names. In one corner sat a gruesome, headless dummy.

Stephen Doxzen, 43, of Baltimore emerged from the prop room with a lectern used for "police briefings," a prize he acquired for $100.

"I have a truck, but I'm parked way around the corner," said Mr. Doxzen, who intends to place the lectern in his home office. "I'm not going to polish it off or anything. I'll probably just keep it the way it is."

Some nostalgic pieces were off-limits. NBC has taken for its archives the Godzilla mascot from the break room and the big board that listed names of slaying victims.

Linda Boyland, who outfitted extras, dropped by Thursday to pick up some "Homicide" ties for her husband.

"It was the best show on TV," she said.

Laurel, Md., resident Rod Staugh, 46, who arranged to have videotaped episodes mailed to him while overseas, said he just wanted to walk into the building where the show's emotion-filled story lines unfolded.

Said Sherry Young, 46, of Laurel, "I guess this means the show's really over."

The two-day event concludes today from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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