Author Archive



Finding Vader in the Strangest Places

Pete Vilmur | November 16, 2009

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While on eBay recently, I came across a 1950’s stereo 3D projector that features an uncanny resemblance to a certain Sith Lord who wouldn’t appear in our galaxy for another 20-some years (so tempted to pick this up, but it weighs almost 40 pounds!). This find led me to search for other Vader look-alikes that were just happy coincidences (hint — search “darth vader” – [minus] “star wars”). This led me to a ‘40s Zenith console radio with a very Vader-like speaker grill (I think radio collectors even refer to this model as the “Darth Vader”) and a UK motorcycle helmet.

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Rare Star Wars PSA Behind the Scenes Video

Pete Vilmur | October 19, 2009

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StarWars.com readers may remember our interview with Peter Shillingford, who directed the 1977 childhood immunization public service announcement ad that aired shortly after the release of A New Hope. As it seems a lot of archival home-made movies have been making their way online lately (see the 1976 ILM home movie here), we thought we’d share another recent discovery reportedly posted by the grandson or granddaughter of the Star Wars PSA’s producer. From poster “sowtime444”:

This was shot by my grandparents in England. There is no sound. My grandfather worked for the Kennedy Foundation and produced the Star Wars commercials. He was a talented writer, among other things. He is the one with the orange-red vest on.

The footage reveals over five minutes of the goings-on behind the scenes on the commercial shoot, which starred both Anthony Daniels as C-3PO and Kenny Baker as R2-D2. Director Peter Shillingford is the chap in the blue sweater.

Watch Video: 1977 Star Wars PSA Behind the Scenes

Also, check out the original commercial here.

Star Wars Medallions Help Wounded Soldiers

Pete Vilmur | October 13, 2009

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The Pennsylvania Star Wars Collecting Society is currently hosting a charity fundraiser for Operation Ward 57, a medical center which houses some of the most seriously injured service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The PSWCS has created a limited edition Star Wars medallion to help raise funds for Operation Ward 57, and has already sold through nearly 90% of the 1000-piece run. Here’s the description of the medallions from the PSWCS site:

These medallions were inspired by the concept of “challenge coins” which are popular among military personnel. Given Operation Ward 57′s efforts for wounded service members, PSWCS felt it to be a distinctly appropriate collectible to offer to support the charity.

This will be a 1.75-inch diameter medallion with colored enamel on both faces.

Head on over to www.pswcs.com to pick up some of the last remaining medallions available, which cost just $10 each.

Found on Ebay: 1978 Star Wars Knock-offs

Pete Vilmur | October 6, 2009

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I have to admit, I have a weakness for early Star Wars knock-off items, as my sporadic posting of such pieces here will prove. It’s pretty rare to come across early examples of toys that were directly inspired by Star Wars but unsanctioned by Lucasfilm, and even more rare to come across toys I’ve never seen. Happily, in the rich universe of Star Wars collecting, you never know what you’re gonna find on the dark side of Yavin’s fourth moon.

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What makes this set so interesting, aside from its obvious flirtation with infringement, is the accessories each figure comes packaged with. In addition to “Vader’s” space sword, gun, and shield, he gets an interchangeable mechanical arm. Ok, not a stretch. But how about the C-3PO knock-off — a “TV Camera” and “TV Walkie Talkie”? The quasi-Wookiee is also endowed with a mechanical arm and TV walkie talkie, along with a somewhat pointless “Space Pack”. Don’t even get me started on the space sword and pistol the astro-quack gets.

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Star Wars: In Concert Opens

Pete Vilmur | October 2, 2009

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While The Clone Wars second season premiere debuts tonight, a second major Star Wars event is also making a debut of sorts, although it had a one night head start on Clone Wars — yup, Star Wars: In Concert opened its US tour last night at Anaheim’s Honda Center in California, and continues with a second performance tonight (that’s a double-hit for fans attending the concert and taping the Clone Wars premiere at home!)

Last night, thousands of audience members got to witness a brand new Star Wars experience for the first time in the US, one that included not only a live orchestra and choir conducted magnificently by Dirk Brossé, but also synchronized footage from all six Star Wars movies beaming from a huge high-def LED super-screen, a recorded intro by Vader voice actor James Earl Jones, and a brilliant series of introductions for each musical piece performed live by actor Anthony Daniels, who was able to thread the sequence of scores into a singular narrative spanning Episodes I-VI (in that order). Oh, and there were a few lasers and pyrotechnics thrown in for good measure.

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Photo by David Iskra

While the narrative unfolded in episode order, the selected musical pieces roughly followed chronologically as well, but not exactly. For the Star Wars audiophiles out there, here’s the themes in the order played:

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Star Wars: In Concert — Rehearsal, Exhibit, and Merch

Pete Vilmur | October 1, 2009

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The rehearsals for tonight’s performance of Star Wars: In Concert at the Honda Center in Anaheim have concluded, and we’ve updated our Flickr series with a bunch of fresh imagery straight from the stage, exhibit, and merchandise booth!

Even in rehearsals, the stage presentation is awesome — brilliant, sharp imagery, live orchestra, synchronized lighting effects — a fully-immersive experience. The prop exhibit includes a few gems we’ve never seen on display before — can you pick them out? And there’s a whole bunch of new merchandise available exclusively to concert-goers at this event, many of which we’re sharing in the Flickr series — so what are you waiting for? Head on over now!

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Be sure to check back tomorrow for a full write-up on tonight’s performance of Star Wars: In Concert — it is stacking up to be one unforgettable night!

Star Wars: In Concert Comes Together

Pete Vilmur | October 1, 2009

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While we wait for Star Wars: In Concert final rehearsals today at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, we are able to share some photos snapped by Lucasfilm associate David Iskra who was on-hand earlier while the orchestra rehearsed and the exhibit was being set up. Check out his set of photos at the Official Star Wars Blog at Flickr, and stay tuned for updates on the concert’s debut this evening here at the Official Star Wars Blog!

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Cad Bane Crashes CW Press Junket

Pete Vilmur | September 22, 2009

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Lucasfilm’s Big Rock Ranch is hosting the Clone Wars Season Two press junket today, and the Star Wars galaxy’s new blue-skinned baddie Cad Bane dropped in for a few photo-ops with the press (that’s him posed with a few clones and Obi-Wan voice actor James Arnold Taylor above). We’re posting a few shots of the costume here for any ambitious costumers hoping to Bane it up for Halloween this year. Thanks to Jocelyn Knight for the photos!

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“What a Piece of Junk!”

Pete Vilmur | August 31, 2009

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Few Star Wars fans may realize that, in 1985, the Millennium Falcon underwent a few “special modifications” to fly once again in a low-budget thriller called Evils of the Night. Well, not really — it actually just appeared on the poster for the B-movie schmaltzfest, sporting a second cockpit along with a cast of strangely recognizable names: Tina Louise (that’s Ginger from Gilligan’s Island), John Carradine, and Julie Newmar (Catwoman!).

There must have been some behind the scenes jitters when it came to marketing the movie on video, since the poster artwork was changed to make the Falcon much less recognizable:

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This is the second time we’ve seen the Falcon used on a B-movie poster — remember this one from our feature a couple years ago?

Thanks to Dean Plantamura for the heads up!

Happy 15th TheSWCA.com!

Pete Vilmur | August 28, 2009

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Last weekend, one of the internet’s very first fan collecting sites — The Star Wars Collectors Archive — celebrated its 15th year online as a premiere destination for collectors looking to explore the vast expanse of merchandise produced over the last 30 years. Gus Lopez and Duncan Jenkins, creator and editor of the site respectively, currently maintain separate columns on starwars.com and have published a comprehensive book documenting the thousands of Star Wars collectibles produced around the world since 1976.

If you haven’t checked out theswca.com, head on over — get comfortable, though — you may want to stay awhile.