Star Wars Screen Superstars (1977)
Karen: There was a wonderful period of time in the mid to late 70s when there were just tons of science fiction film magazines on the stands. Starlog was probably the most prominent. The Star Trek Giant Poster Book magazine was another one I always picked up when I saw it. There was also Cinefantastique, which always seemed so serious. But there were a lot of one-shot sort of magazines that would spring up for different films -and Star Wars probably bred more of these periodicals than any other.
Karen: Today I'm going to look at one of these one-shots. It's called (I think) Star Wars Screen Superstar, and it was published in 1977 by Paradise Press. The writers include Jonathon Green, Doug Murray, and Allan Asherman, who has written books and articles on Star Trek. I suppose he was checking the new kid on the block out. Artists for this magazine include Dave Gibbons -I assume it's THAT Dave Gibbons - and Geoffrey Mandel, who is known for many contributions to Star Trek, from his fan days and the Enterprise Manual, up to becoming a production designer for the shows. The magazine is 62 pages long and is filled throughout with color photos, and many double-page spreads, some of which I will try to reproduce here, although my scanner bed can't quite fit the entire picture. I really read the heck out of this magazine when I first got it. I was hungry for anything on Star Wars back then (our little town didn't actually get the film for almost two months after it came out!) and I would read and re-read everything I had on Luke, the droids, and Vader.
Karen: The magazine itself is broken down into four parts: a section on the making of the movie, another on the worlds of Star Wars, the third on the special effects, and the last on the cast and crew. The 'making of' part covers the difficulties George Lucas and crew faced in getting Star Wars off the ground. Although it seems like Star Wars fans have heard every story there is to hear a million times already, there were a few tidbits here and there that caught my attention. The article says that only one full scale x-wing and y-wing fighter were built -all the rest seen in the hangar shots are cardboard cut-outs. Could this be right? I suppose with it impossible to see the original Star Wars any more (Disney may change this soon, thankfully) it's hard to know if this is accurate. Another paragraph mentions Lucas' annoyance with the work habits of the British crew, which meant always ending the work day at 5:30 - of course, Lucas was under the gun and desperate to get the film completed. At the end of the article, when it recounts the films success, it claims that Lucas took his earnings and bought a $500,000 Lear jet, and had the interior redecorated to look like the Millenium Falcon. Could this be true? I never heard that before.
The final section, "Who's Who in Star Wars," goes over the cast and some of the production crew. Each major actor is given a bio. It's amusing to read Harrison Ford's. Remember, this is 1977: "Of all his roles, there is no doubt that the one more remembered so far is his portrayal of Bob Faya -the tough-guy street racer in that smash-hit evocation of high-school fun and games: 'American Grafitti.'" After 37 years, does anyone even think of that role when they think of Ford? It's probably either Han Solo or Indiana Jones, then Blade Runner, then maybe the Fugitive, Witness, etc...There's a quote from George Lucas that I found very interesting, because I wonder if he would say it today: "I wasted four years of my life cruising like the kids in 'American Grafitti' and now I'm on an intergalactic dream of heroism. In 'Star Wars' I'm telling the story of me. It's my fantasy."