STORY OF THE YODA LIGHTSABER
A long time ago. In a Galaxy far, far away….
Several years ago when hunting down Graflex flashguns to convert to Lightsabers I ran across an ad in a “Camera Shop” newspaper that was offering a box of various flashguns.
The seller listed several models that were in the box including a few Graflex and Heiland flashguns.
I called the phone number and asked how many were in the box and expressed my desire to purchase them. The person who answered the phone was the wife of the seller who stated that he wasn’t home but would let him know when he returned. I politely asked he call me and left my phone number with his wife.
Unknown to me was that a good friend of mine had also called after I did but the lady told him that they were already spoken for.
I got the call later that evening and we settled on a price and I mailed off a check for the box. I also told him that I was interested in more of the either the Graflex or Heiland flashguns. He told me that he often frequented camera shows and would let me know if he ran across more of them.
We kept in touch for some afterwards and he did obtain a few more for me. He even sent me a newspaper article (which I still have but need to find) that a local newspaper had written about him. It seems that he was a VERY famous photographer and had taken some VERY important photos of actors and political figures during his career.
I wonder what photos were taken using what we now know as the Yoda Lightsaber???
Anyway…the box arrived and there were several of the desired flashguns and their accessories.
That weekend, Steve stopped by and I told him about my “find” As he sat on my couch I started pulling out the various flashguns stating “Look…Luke’s Lightsaber, Another Luke, another one, Darth Vader’s Lightsaber, another, another and then I pulled out the diminutive flashgun and said (as a joke)…”and look, YODA’s Lightsaber!!!
After awhile, as we were going through all the stuff in the box I got the idea that it would be fun to really convert the little flashgun into a Yoda Lightsaber. I started to dismantle and experiment with the configuration. I asked Steve to take it home and go through his bottomless boxes of parts and see if he could add a couple of things to it. Steve thought it was a silly idea but finally agreed to do it (probably to shut me up).
About a week or so later he came back and handed it back saying “Here’s your stupid Lightsaber” He had added some parts to the unit such as the hubcap as the “Emitter” and the oilpan “Activator Box” I believe he also added the nut and used a white double stick foam tape for the grips. I wasn’t happy with that look and removed and replaced them with black foam grips.
Some time prior to this I had met and became friends with Captain Dr. David West Reynolds at the WONDERFEST model show in Kentucky. He had a table set up next to ours where my partners and I sold Resin Model kits under the name NECRO-NOMI CONCEPTS. David was a great guy and we frequently wrote one another for years.
Being an Archeologist and a fanatical Indiana Jones & Star Wars fan I gifted him an Indiana Jones MKVII bag which he carried along to his Archeologival digs.
At one point he called and told me he was then employed by Lucasfilm and was in the process of writing The Visual Dictionary for the Star Wars film…a dream come true for him!!!
We often exchanged photographs and one time I sent him a couple of photos of the Yoda Lightsaber project….which he thought was great!
Several months later I got a phone call from David saying that he was in the process of putting together the book and was at the section about Yoda but felt that something was missing. He asked “Do you still have that Yoda Lightsaber you sent me photos of?”
I told him I did and he then asked if I could mail it to him to have it photographed for the upcoming book and that in return he would mention my name in the credits. I told him that Steve had made some contributions to the final look of the prop and asked his name also be included. David agreed (although Steve’s last name was mistakenly printed as Cymszo in the credits)
What I found out later was that the prop was also scanned as reference and was to be used in the film!!! I was in heaven!! It would officially become part of the Star Wars Universe.
Many things happened after that that I won’t get into but I had to sign a waiver sent to me by Andrea Lake Myer releasing the rights to the Lightsaber to Lucasfilm.
The rest, as they say, is history. I hope you enjoyed a little of the insight as to how the Yoda Lightsaber come into being.
I still have it in my cabinet at home and it’s a really weird feeling to see it in magazines, films, toys, etc.
I have seen several of my fellow RPF members make their own versions and, as you all are now doing, researching the parts to duplicate it as close as possible to the “Stupid Lightsaber” we made for fun.
I look forward to seeing all your replicas. The RPF is the coolest website for props on the internet fueled only by the creativity of its members
All the best,