017: The Droids Escape
Apparently the fighting is still raging on. Maybe because the urge to kill another rebel ‘is strong in this one’. Such a sweet boy. See the stuck-in trading card?
Nostalgia: Trading Cards
Waxy, gummy, glossy magic
Those chewing gum cards were just pure magic you know? On the way home from school in the village, John S and I would drop into the sweet shops – if we had any coins at all. It might be old poor-sighted Mrs. Whelan’s small shop beside the church, where the rougher boys would con her by giving her pennies instead of tuppences; or Fleming’s which was the closest we had to a supermarket; or the tiniest very old fashioned one with Davis painted over the window.
Davis’s was indeed tiny and dim, and had a high hardwood counter with its own sliding window if memory serves. For a couple of pennies you were handed this lovely little wax-paperpacket. It smelled of glossy-print and gum. We’d open up our packets and see what cards were inside. We’d trawl our mental gallery as we excitedly but thoughtfully chewed the gum walking down Barrack Street, checking if we already had them at home, then we’d compare each other’s new treasures to see if swaps could be done. We’d also trawl our memory banks forFrancis O’s, and Niall F’s cards. Negotiations might commence next morning in the playground after some excited phone calls that evening.
Small Village Excitement
It’s hard to convey what an impact these little new-smelling nuggets of Star Wars had on us in this small, old fashioned and remote Kildare village in grey 1977. George Lucas himself also came from a small town in the middle of nowhere. I’m guessing that he knew exactly how it felt. These cards felt as if they’d come straight across the Pacific from Hollywood. In actual fact they were probably printed in Italy – by anyone that’d do them cheapest. But it was like a portal to another more exciting, colourful, galaxy, far far away – right there in the palm of your hand.
Warning to Collector Geeks: Look Away Now
Trading Cards, Jigsaws and Movie Facts
On the back of the cards you’d either get a piece of a jigsaw puzzle (Chewbacca) or some fascinating film facts. Like howblue screen was used, how Lucas edited together old B&W war movie dog-fight footage to work out the Last Battle scene, how Carrie Fisher was the daughter of famous celebrities, how the lightsabres had a paint that “reflected natural light up to 1000 times more brightly”… My mum had to tell me who Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds were.
UPDATE! Robert Pierce over on the SWa9 Facebook page page recently, finally explained away my confusion! He explained that the reflective paint was the type that they use on road signs and in the shining, silvery costumes in SUPERMAN the MOVIE. It was how they originally tried to do it – with revolving painted blades [which kept on breaking]. Eventually, as Ben Burtt explains, “it was done with a very simple animation effect.”
All pure magic though. What an escape from 1970s rural Ireland. I stuck all of my cards onto a crappy ruled foolscap pad with sellotape, and would you believe I still have it! These cards must be worth… sod all. Do you know that they sell not only the cards on eBay but even those wax wrappers?
I wonder if they do the gum too?
Next: Stunning Princess Leia
'While on the Tantive IV--'
See Threepio is standing in wonderment, hand to his head. behind him, a rebel soldier is cut down by a laser bolt and killed.
"Artoo Detoo--where are you?" he implores.
Down the end of the corridor, we see Princess Leia placing something into Artoo Detoo. Laser bolts criss-cross.
"Is that you, Artoo?" C-3PO asks again.
(glued-in trading card on the left, drawing on the right)
We see R2-D2 alone now in the corridor, facing C-3PO. "Oh, there you are. Hiding, I suppose. Hey, you're not allowed in here. Mission? What mission?"
(CU of C-3PO)
"I'm not going in there. Life-pods are restricted to humans only!"
(Another explosion, and C-3PO dives into the life-pod)
"Yeowch! I'm going to regret this!" he shouts.
(The escape pod tumbles away from the Tantive IV towards Tatooine.)
"Are you sure this thing is saaaaaaaafe..?" wails See Threepio, in a line from the radio drama.