Video: Decked Out Caskets

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updated 3/30/2006 1:10:56 PM ET 2006-03-30T18:10:56

Death is really no excuse to compromise someone’s personal style.  That's the idea behind the decked out caskets many people are choosing to be buried in these days. 

Mark Ginsberg is the owner of Casket Royale in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire which carries a variety of specialty caskets.   

To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, ‘THE SITUATION’:  Can it really be true that dead people are buried in caskets bearing the image of Elvis Presley?

MARK GINSBERG, OWNER, CASKET ROYALE:  Yes, it can, if they want. 

CARLSON:  Are these requests you get ahead of time from the pre-dead person?

GINSBERG:  Yes, they'll actually come in with stencils, or they'll come in with their own ideas and say, “This is what I want it to look like,” and we'll make a prototype and show it to them and if they like it, then we'll go to final production and make it for them. 

CARLSON:  And then do you keep it in storage until the big day?

GINSBERG:  No, we won't store it for them, per se.  What we will do is we'll package it, box it up, and ship it to wherever they want it to be shipped to.  And they'll store it for themselves. 

CARLSON:  What kind of requests do you get?

GINSBERG:  Requests. 

CARLSON:  What's the strangest request you've ever had?  Someone comes in and says, “Incidentally, I'm thinking about dying, and I'd like my coffin dressed up as blank.” 

GINSBERG:  Actually, I don't think I have an answer to that one, Tucker.  They're pretty serious when they come in here. 

CARLSON:  Are they really?

GINSBERG:  Oh, yes.  I mean, this one here like a race car.  They were very serious.  This is what they really wanted.  And this was the prototype, and their favorite driver was Jeff Gordon.  So he put the “24” on there.  He says, “I want this one, but please, take the 24 off” and they'll detail it themselves. 

We've had other people come in and want various sports caskets where their favorite teams.  So we'll paint it their colors and they'll go out and get the actual insignias for the teams and put them on their caskets. 

Then there are other ones, for someone a writing group that worked out of the Toronto that worked in the NASA programs where we shipped them off the hides.  They had it pre-stitched with all their names and the different programs, brought it back, and we adhered it and made them for them.

So if you want a picture of yourself, we'll take a picture and we'll laminate it, put it on there and ship it right to you. 

CARLSON:  That is pretty cool, I have to say.  How much does one of these cost?  How much would, say, it cost to get a decent casket with Dale Earnhardt's picture and race car painted on it?

GINSBERG:  With the race car, depending on how many colors and everything, I wouldn't say no more than $1,100 or less. 

CARLSON:  Well, that's not such a bad deal. 

GINSBERG:  No.

CARLSON: Are they conventional caskets?

GINSBERG:  They're conventional caskets.  It's just you're actually adhering various different paints and things of that nature.

But you can pretty much do what you want. A lady came in, a local, actually, who lives here, no longer with us, God rest her soul.  But she came in and she was a die-hard Red Sox fan and 88 years young.  And she wanted her casket to be the Red Sox colors.  So we painted them the Red Sox colors.  And they went out and got various Red Sox stickers and what not, and God rest her, adhered them to the casket.  And God rest her, she's in Red Sox heaven now. 

CARLSON:  The Fenway in the sky.

GINSBERG:  That's right.

CARLSON:  What effect does a coffin like this have on the family?  Do you think it helps when the family is standing at the gravesite, you know, looking on at their departed relative?

GINSBERG:  I think it's something that you really want.  If you really want something that's going to make you happy.  I know it's going to make mom happy, then that's what really counts, doesn't it?

CARLSON:  Absolutely, but of course, the person in question is dead, so presumably beyond, you know, happy and sad, because no longer with us, so isn't it really about the people who are left?

GINSBERG:  Yes.  Well, it's about taking care of their final wish.  And if you wanted a final wish regarding, you know, you wanted to have a party before your sendoff, then if that's what's going to make you happy, which is going to make everybody else happy, I think it's kind of neat that we're able to pass on that final wish, instead of saying, “Gee, I should have done something.”  Or “Gee, Ma really wanted this.”  Where if the people let them know ahead of time, I think it really gives them an opportunity to give the final sendoff and let everyone walk away feeling whole. 

CARLSON:  How early would you recommend someone order one of these coffins?

GINSBERG:  Well, I'm going to tell you, if you're a young person, please, you know, take your time.  If you know something is going to be happening within the next six months or the year, that's something that we can do, because it's a trial and error process with us.  Because when we do it, we have to make sure that you're satisfied with it.

The last thing I want to do is, you know, put something together and say, “Hey, where's my casket.”  And I say, “I'm sorry, it's not ready yet.” 

So we let people know when we start this process that it might take a month or two, but once we get it to where you like it, then it's fine.  But if someone is going to know that they're going away tomorrow, I wouldn't tell you to do it. 

CARLSON:  Is there any casket you wouldn't do that just you think is not appropriate for a solemn event like a funeral?

GINSBERG:  I'm not going to put my values on it, because I've never heard of an unwanted request, no.  I made one for a person that made it look like a brown paper bag and it had a tag on it that said return to sender. 

Watch 'The Situation with Tucker Carlson' each weeknight at 11 p.m. ET

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