It's not uncommon for props used in classic films to wind up being saved and preserved, ensuring that they last forever as a symbol of the movie's deep cultural impact. Of course, the size of the prop can be a very important factor in its preservation, and this is why Tony Scott's Top Gun is having a bit of trouble trying to save one of their more notable ones. After all, the prop that people are fighting to save is the decommissioned supercarrier Ranger.
USA Today has the scoop on this story, reporting that efforts to save the aircraft carrier from Top Gun have hit a bit of a rough patch. According to the story, an organization located in Southern California called Top Gun Super Carrier of Long Beach Inc. has launched an online petition and is in the midst of trying to convince the Navy to save Ranger and prevent its trip to the scrapyard that's scheduled in a few weeks.
As you may have guessed, the argument for saving the supercarrier is that it can be renovated into a museum of sorts that can celebrate the legacy of Top Gun. Argued project manager/hospital architect Mike Shanahan, "If you think about what we can bring to it, an economic boon to the city of Long Beach, it's a no-brainer." It's worth noting, however, that the Ranger was sold late last year after an effort to turn it into a museum failed.
Ranger had a long history in warfare, used during both the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm, and was decommissioned after 35 years of service in July 1993. Eleven years later, the Navy put it up for preservation in return for donation, and while the USS Ranger Foundation put up a plan, it wound up being rejected. Now it seems that it might be the end of the Top Gun's ship's days. Said Chris Johnson, a spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command,
"Unfortunately, we are not able to keep ships in storage forever, and so we had no choice but to move forward with this contract (to scrap the ship)... Though we would have preferred for the ship to be converted into a museum or memorial, during the eight years it was available, no group was able to pull together the necessary funding to make that happen."
Thus far, Top Gun Super Carrier of Long Beach Inc. has actually been rather successful raising money - but they are running out of time. USA Today says that they have already gathered $14 million in pledges from fans who want to see the supercarrier Ranger saved. As of yet, however, a full plan has not been presented, and requests for an extension of the donation period have been rejected. Unless something major happens soon, the ship will be sent to Brownsville, Texas later this month or in early February to be dismantled.