It’s one of the most indelible scenes from one of the most memorable and quotable cult films in cinema history: John Goodman as the unhinged blowhard Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski, scattering the ashes of his newly-deceased bowling teammate Donny, eulogizes his friend after spending countless years of his life constantly telling him to shut the fuck up. The ashes are in a Folgers coffee can because the cost of an urn was too dear, and Sobchak utterly ruins the simple, two-person funeral with a pointless detour into his own Vietnam war shell-shock and by scattering the ashes all over the funeral’s other guest, Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski.
It’s easy to imagine that at least some among the film’s fanatical devotees—self-identified as “Achievers” after a throwaway detail early in the film—have envisioned using a Folgers can as a final resting place in homage to that scene, and if you’ve ever gone to a bowling alley in a bathrobe and ordered a White Russian, I might be talking about YOU. Well, you’re in luck. Purveyors of gorgeous handmade cremation urns Memento Memorials have tracked down the period-correct cans and mismatched lids (Folgers has never used blue lids, the one in the film is almost certainly from a Maxwell House can) and paired them with pedestals made of bowling balls to create replica Big Lebowski urns.
While there are plenty of Folgers coffee cans to be had on the internet, the exact version of the coffee can used in the movie was made in the mid 90s and not in the kind of quantities that make it easy to come by. The style itself can be found with some effort but nailing down the “For All Coffee Makers” version is even rarer. There are size variations and condition factors as well. As an extra kicker, the blue lid is from a Maxwell House tin from the same decade that is just as difficult to source.
There are times when we have to buy a group of unrelated coffee cans in order to get the one sweet prize within in order to say goodnight to one sweet prince. We will accept cans that are “Automatic Drip” (or other grind styles as we find them), cans that are unopened and still have what might be coffee in them. Sometimes a seller is wise to the rarity and possible end use as a Big Lebowski Urn and jacks up the price.
This is apparently a key detail.
Because Memento Memorials can only sporadically procure the extremely specific cans and lids required, these urns haven’t been available very often, so instead of selling them outright, they’ve taken to auctioning them to benefit the Prevent Cancer Foundation. This month, they’re auctioning three of them. The individual auctions run from January 9-13, 16-20, and 23-27.