The Star Wars Page
Some people collect coins. Others collect baseball cards. I collect published material on Star Wars: Comics, newspaper articles, books, magazines, or any publication that sheds information about it. Why? Because, as its success indicates, the story is hugely entertaining. Beyond that, the real-life story in its making, and its impact on the world, is more compelling. With his work, George Lucas fired the imaginations of the creative community, of artists and writers such as myself. In addition, Lucas reinvested his own money in improving the standards of filmmaking, in the areas of special effects, improving sound quality in the theaters, and in sparking the digital revolution. In making his films, despite the odds, Lucas stayed true to his vision. He persevered and made that vision a reality. The world benefitted as a result. What a wonderful example for us all.
I’ve always enjoyed well-done science fiction. Forbidden Planet, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Planet of the Apes series, and in reruns, Star Trek and The Prisoner were my favorites. In the mid-Seventies, hopes were raised that Star Trek would be revived, but the project kept stalling. On television, science fiction fans had to settle for The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. In the theaters, most science fiction films were depressing, or horror films, or just plain horrible. I didn’t want to be depressed, or grossed out. I wanted to have fun. I wanted to be exhilarated.
Then came Star Wars. I first learned about it months before its release, from the coverage given in The Buyer’s Guide for Comic Fandom, now The Comics Buyer’s Guide. I purchased the comic book, with the first two issues released before the film. I also noted Time magazine labeling the film “The Year’s Best Movie.” A quality space film full of fun and adventure? Could it be the kind of film Star Trek fans had been waiting for, even though it wasn’t Star Trek? Naturally, I had to see it. And I did, at the Northpark Cinema on Saturday, the second day of release in Dallas. The line had mostly adults. One moviegoer asked another, “Why did you come to see it?” “Time said it was the best movie of the year,” was the reply. Such is the persuasiveness of the media.
What was the reaction? “Wow” would be an understatement. The movie blew us all away. I had to find out why it was so great, and how it was made, and who the people were that made it.
The Star Wars Historical Sourcebook
I began collecting articles, reviews, books, anything that talked about the film. The behind-the-scene stories were fascinating. I decided to catalog these articles as I collected them. I consulted hard-copy indexes in libraries to acquire more published material. Years later the Internet opened more venues of acquisition, through eBay, online library reference services and digital print runs of newspapers and magazines. I visited libraries in Germany, England, France, Canada and across the U.S., and have gotten researchers to help me in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Denmark. I also catalogued periodicals and clippings at the Lucas Research Library at Skywalker Ranch as well as Steve Sansweet’s massive collection at Rancho Obi-Wan, containing many rare Star Wars-themed articles. The project is currently titled The Star Wars Historical Sourcebook, An Annotated Bibliography Detailing the Original Star Wars Trilogy, Episodes IV, V and VI, from 1971-1990. Lucasfilm has been kind enough to give it coverage, here.
What was the reaction to Star Wars by Alfred Hitchcock, Albert Brooks, Gene Roddenberry, George Takei, moon astronaut Buzz Aldrin and the original Flash Gordon, Buster Crabbe? Did you know a Star Wars ballet performed for two years in Oklahoma City? Who persuaded Harrison Ford to give up his carpentry job to accept the role of Han Solo? Did you know that Peter Mayhew, as Chewbacca, spoke his lines in English (prior to dubbing) in the first two Star Wars films? How did the digital revolution begin with Lucasfilm? What was the tragic “Jedi Homicide” in Kansas City? Did George Lucas really intend to make twelve Star Wars films? Stories like this and more are all documented in the project.
Theme Park Press is publishing the series under their new imprint, Pulp Hero Press. Volume One covers the years 1971 to 1976. Volume Two will cover January to June, 1977. Volume One will be published July 17. Stay tuned for more details.
Star Wars Want List
I do have a want list. If you happen to have, or have access to, the publications on the list, I’m open for a trade. I want the bibliography to be as comprehensive as possible.
Star Wars Stumpers
Test your knowledge of Star Wars trivia with this multiple choice test (which opens in a PDF file). But it’s not a typical multiple choice test. Star Wars Stumpers is trivia testing with a twist.
Sometimes I’ll ask a question about a situation that never happened in the story, just to keep you on your toes. These questions are usually answered with “none of the above.”
Some questions are straightforward. Some questions are silly. There’s even a Bonus Question or two, just for the fun of it. But, if the “stumpers” are too difficult to solve (it’s possible, but hardly likely), you can find the answers at the end of the quiz.
Indulge yourself, and keep this in mind: When was the last time you actually enjoyed taking a test?
Star Wars © Lucasfilm Ltd.