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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Colbert Report’ spurs calls about Bed Bunker

Spokane inventor John Adrain, shown with his dog Giff, talks about the Bed Bunker safe at Ironman Safe in Hayden on Monday. The concealed safe is designed to fit under a bed. (Kathy Plonka)

John Adrain is a lukewarm fan of Stephen Colbert, the cable-TV comedian who slices up hypocritical politicians and skewers fat cats on his popular show “The Colbert Report.”

But Adrain is singing Colbert’s praises this month. A segment last week on Colbert’s show featured Adrain and his Bed Bunker, a 1,300-pound steel gun case that sits under a queen bed in place of box springs.

Colbert’s producers featured a clip from Adrain’s business website in which the Spokane inventor pulls out a shotgun from the safe, cocks it with one hand and smiles at the camera.

Colbert makes the same hand motion of cocking the gun and repeats the cocking sound – chuh-chik – and says, “That’s like a lullaby.”

The joke goes on for about three minutes. Colbert gets maximum mileage by adding lines like:

“There’s nothing like counting sheep, then blowing their heads off.”

“It answers all those questions that keep me up at night … like why is my box springs not filled with guns?”

And, “Thanks to the Bed Bunker, I can now set my sleep number to 357.”

All of which gives Adrain a chance to smile and say: “It would have cost me about $300,000 to get three minutes of airtime on Colbert’s show.”

Adrain had no idea about his 180 seconds of infamy until a friend in California texted him after the show. Even a week later, the website is still getting thousands of visitors per day.

Watch Tom Sowa discuss this story with KHQ’s Dave Cotton

Sales haven’t spiked yet. “People won’t just look at something and buy it right away. People are calling and asking questions,” Adrain said.

Based on that interest, he’s predicting he’ll sell three times as many Bed Bunkers this year as in 2011.

Adrain developed the Bed Bunker a few years ago when living in a San Francisco apartment. He needed a gun safe but ran out of places to put one. “So I began looking for somewhere with wasted space.”

A gun collector himself, Adrain installed the first Bed Bunker in his Spokane home. He said he’s sold somewhere between 40 and 80 over the past two years.

Their prices range from about $2,200 up to $4,000, and they are made in Coeur d’Alene. The cases use 10-gauge steel. The locks are imported from Israel, and the pistons that are used to open the twin case doors are built in Japan.

Later this year his company, Heracles Research Corp., plans to introduce a lower-cost model that will sell for under $2,000.

If Colbert’s fans are unlikely consumers for a gun safe, why are there so many people looking at his website?

Adrain’s reply: “Even liberal people have conservative friends.”