Nick Gjoka stands with his E.T. collection. (Nick Gjoka/iloveet.com)
Gjoka has been collecting "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial" memorabilia ever since his grandfather gave him his first piece of merchandise connected to the film when he was just five years old.
And now, the 33-year-old set decorator has a larger collection of E.T. merchandise than anyone in the world.
"One of the problems I'm having now is that I kind of have everything," Gjoka said. "Once in a while I'll do a Google search to see if anyone is selling anything on their website."
And it's not like Gjoka has just single copies of each item. He says he owns "at least" 50 copies of the film on VHS. It's all part of a larger plan to recreate a store display model for when the videocassette first went on sale in retail stores in 1988.
Gjoka has been actively building his E.T. collection since 2002. And over the past 10 years he has become part of the E.T. legacy himself. In fact, Universal has recruited Gjoka to take part in the Blu-ray release publicity tour.
And all of the attention has not been lost on Gjoka's parents, themselves professional collectors.
"They're happy about it. They're like, 'Oh finally, it's all paying off,'" he said.
Nick Gjoka's first piece of E.T. memorabilia, given to him by his grandfather (Gjoka/iloveet.com)
And like many die-hard E.T. fans, Gjoka said one of his favorite changes to the Blu-ray release is that the film has been restored to its original 1982 version.
"I'm most excited that they went back to the 1982 release," he said, dismissing the now-infamous changes made by Spielberg to the 2002 print, including replacing the guns held by government agents with walkie-talkies.
But even with his eccentric hobby, Gjoka touts a pretty traditional benefit that the new release's technological advances will offer: family convenience.
"With all those extra features, it will get people really excited about it," he said. And if it goes to the iPod or Cloud, you can just watch it instantly. It will make it easier for families to watch it on a trip or in bed."
But back to the Reese's Pieces. Gjoka hasn't entirely given up on E.T.'s favorite earthly snack. "There's a vegan version out there, but it can be hard to find and it's expensive," Gjoka said. "They're kind of like gold."
Some of the dozens of VHS copies of "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" owned by Nick Gjoka (Gjoka/iloveet.com)
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