There are certain advantages to being Adam Savage, the genial MythBusters co-host and model builder. For one thing, Savage is allowed access to some incredibly valuable and rare props from movie history. In a recent episode of the Tested webseries, Savage visits the home of a private collector named Dan Lanigan, who owns some “astonishing” movie memorabilia, including Indiana Jones’ iconic hat and whip and the bicycle from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. But for Savage, there is one prop that towers over all the rest in terms of significance: Harrison Ford’s pistol from the Ridley Scott dystopian sci-fi classic Blade Runner.
It is safe to say that, for Savage, this blaster is not merely a cool piece of futuristic weaponry; rather, it is an object of fascination akin to the Ark Of The Covenant, the Holy Grail, the Maltese Falcon, and the ruby slippers all rolled into one. The MythBusters star is thrilled and awed by the opportunity to be in the same room as the pistol, let alone hold it and examine it closely. Savage has clearly spent a good chunk of his adult life studying every obscure detail of this gun and fabricating his own hyper-accurate replica (one is tempted to say “replicant”) of it. For comparison’s sake, he puts his best-made simulacrum on a table next to the real deal to see just how close he came to the original. Happily, he finds that his version of the gun holds up nicely next to the actual movie prop, though he does see a few things he could improve.
To understand what this moment truly means for Savage, one must view a 2012 installment of Tested in which the prop builder spends a good half hour detailing his Ahab-like fixation on the Blade Runner pistol. Arranging a variety of fake guns on top of a billiard table, Savage gives Jamie Hyneman a guided tour of his collection of replicas, ripoffs, and stand-ins for the famous sidearm, including ones that he has built and ones that he has purchased from other Blade Runner obsessives. There is, Savage explains, a whole subculture of fans who spend “hundreds of hours” on perfecting their Blade Runner guns, even debating whether or not to change the serial number. Hearing the host talk about this topic with such knowledge and passion gives added weight to the 2016 video.