- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 12, 2002

Guns and movies go together like Bonnie and Clyde, Roy Rogers and Trigger, or the NRA and Charlton Heston.
So Philip Schreier, curator at the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax County, knew for years that he wanted to put together an exhibition on Hollywood's famous firearms. He even had the name of the exhibit long before the exhibit itself: "Real Guns of Reel Heroes."
Putting such an exhibition together, though, wasn't so easy.
"Nothing gets done in Hollywood without a power lunch," Mr. Schreier said. "I swear I put on 40 pounds."
But the exhibition is up and running, and will be on display through December at the museum, located at the NRA's national headquarters.
Since the exhibition opened in March, attendance at the museum has increased significantly. The museum draws roughly 30,000 visitors a year, but attendance nearly doubled in the weeks after the new movie exhibit opened.
"This allows us to reach out to thousands of people who haven't been in the museum before," Mr. Schreier said. "Everybody likes movies."
The movie characters linked to the exhibition might not all be poster boys for responsible gun use, Mr. Schreier acknowledged. But he purposefully selected guns used by heroic characters, even if, by any rational measure, the heroes are thugs. The characters of Jules and Vincent in "Pulp Fiction," played by Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta, may be a prime example. Their pearl-handled semiautomatic pistols are on display.
"They're all heroes," he said. "Sure, he may be a felon or a prison escapee, but man, you're rooting for him at the end."
NRA backers Heston and Tom Selleck helped get the ball rolling. Mr. Heston lent one of his two Oscars and Mr. Selleck lent a cache of weapons from "Quigley Down Under."
"Some of the Hollywood guys were a little dubious at first" about lending their guns, Mr. Schreier said. "Then I'd start with the name dropping: 'Chuck Heston would consider it a personal favor.'"
Screenwriter and director John Milius, who is also on the NRA's board of directors, lent perhaps the most famous gun in all of movie history the Smith and Wesson .44 Magnum used by Clint Eastwood in "Dirty Harry."


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