Star Wars magazine a fascinating little time capsule

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by Jeannie Swales

May the force be with you. A recent donation to the Scarborough Collections of a box of memorabilia from the former Odeon Cinema – now the Stephen Joseph Theatre – included this magazine, entitled The World of Star Wars: A Compendium of Fact and Fantasy from Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back.

An interesting print format –it appears to be A4, but then opens to an A3 magazine, giving scope for huge feature spreads – it was printed in 1981, and retailed at $2.95 in the States, £1.25 in the UK. That’s the equivalent of £4.27 today, so a bargain for the dedicated fan.

Features include Tatooine (‘Desert Planet at the Galactic Frontier’); The Building of Artoo (‘John Stears, mechanical effects supervisor for Star Wars, tells of rogue robots, blazing equipment trucks and the two – yes two Artoos...’), and The Power Behind the Throne (a profile of British actor and Hammer Horror movie stalwart Peter Cushing, who played Grand Moff Tarkin in the first movie).

Readers are also invited to join the Star Wars Fan Club, with the promise of a ‘beautiful membership kit especially prepared for The Empire Strikes Back, including a full color Empire wall poster, six full color Empire photos, color Darth Vader decal, official membership card, multi-colored patch, special ‘Empire pencil’ and benefits including ‘a subscription to ‘Bantha Tracks’, the Club’s official newsletter’, the chance to enter ‘special Club-sponsored contests’ and to purchase collector’s items, and – a real sign of the times, this one – the opportunity to become an ‘Official Star Wars Pen Pal’. And all this for just $5 (the equivalent of £2.11 then, or around £7.20 now).

It’s a fascinating little time capsule, but sadly unlikely to be worth anything like as much as a recent piece of Star Wars memorabilia which went up for auction on Teesside. In January of this year, superfan Craig Stevens sold a figure of Boba Fett, a bounty hunter and close associate of Darth Vader – in pristine condition, and still in its original packaging – for £18,000. He had bought it in 1980 for just £1.50 (£5.74 today). Mr Stevens apparently still has 10,000 other items of Star Wars memorabilia at home...

The Star Wars magazine is part of the Scarborough Collections, the name given to all the museum objects and artwork acquired by the borough over the years, and now in the care of Scarborough Museums Trust. For further information, please contact Collections Manager Jennifer Dunne on Jennifer.dunne@smtrust.uk.com or (01723) 384510.