WILTON – Wilton is the place to be for longtime fans of “The X-Files.” On Saturday, The X-Files Preservation Collection will host a grand opening featuring Chris Carter, creator of the cult classic series.
“People are going to see stuff from one of the greatest sci-fi drama/horror shows and the hard work that everybody put into [it],” said co-owner Jim Thornton.
Located at 4284 Route 50, the approximately 2,000-square-foot space is home to a portion of Thornton’s vast collection of props, costumes and other memorabilia from the show. He and his wife, Kelly Anthony, opened the museum in the hopes of preserving as much as they could from the series.
A fan of horror films and shows, Thornton started watching “The X-Files” when it first aired on Fox in 1993 and he became thoroughly engrossed. It also helped anchor him at home with his two young kids, rather than go out on Friday nights.
“That show helped me so much . . . and it changed the direction of my life a little bit,” Thornton said. “I was sucked in basically, from the very first episode.”
Starring Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, it ran for nearly a decade and followed two FBI special agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully who investigated unsolved cases that had supernatural twists. The show also branched off with two feature films: “The X-Files: Fight the Future” (1998) and “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” (2008). Additionally, a six-episode revival of the show aired in 2016, followed by an additional 10 episodes in 2018.
Even when “The X-Files” went off the air though, it stayed with Thornton. Over the years, he collected more and more memorabilia from it, starting with a pack of trading cards and progressing to everything from props to wardrobe pieces.
“It made me feel like I was a part of the show, I owned a part of the show,” Thornton said.
Several years ago, he and Anthony were invited to create a display at an “X-Fest” – a convention dedicated to “The X-Files” – in Chicago. As actors and others involved in the making of the show saw what the couple had amassed over the years and word spread about their collection. Eventually, Carter heard about it and reached out to Thornton.
“He was absolutely astonished. He was totally blown away and he was extremely, beyond grateful for what we’re doing,” Thornton said.
Carter donated quite a few items to the collection, Thornton noted, including the laptop that he wrote the show’s pilot on, the watch featured in the pilot episode, storyboard cards and more.
In part thanks to Carter, the couple also acquired some of the creatures and molds made by Bill Terezakis, a props/special effects artist who worked on the show and died last year.
Part of the reason they wanted to open the collection to the public is to spotlight everyone involved in the making of the show.
“The art department, prop masters, makeup artists, and costume department, all of whom deserve to be recognized for their contributions. ‘The X-Files’ would not be what is without the guest stars and supporting actors and we are proud to display the wardrobe that they brought to life,” the owners state on their website.
Thornton and Anthony have already done numerous virtual interviews with some of the make-up artists, writers and others involved in the show and posted those to their website.
With the sheer volume of their collection they’ll switch out the displays, so while one visit may feature the mask of the chilling antagonist Mr. Chuckle Teeth or the Chinga Burnt Doll, the next may feature an entirely different cast of creatures and characters.
There is also a marketplace for those looking to buy X-Files-related merchandise or memorabilia from other shows/movies.
“We’ll use our contacts to track it down for them,” Thornton said.
Saturday’s grand opening, which runs from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. will include a visit from Carter, who will be meeting fans throughout the day.
“The dream of mine was actually to meet Chris Carter [and] we’re going to be meeting him this weekend,” Thornton said.
General admission for the grand opening is $25. After Saturday, the collection will be open from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily, with an $18 admission fee. For more information visit xfilespreservationcollection.com.