Fond Farewells – Dave Prowse AKA Darth Vader and Green Cross Man

Archvillain Darth Vader, cover of TIME Magazine, May 19, 1980. Artwork by M. Arisman.

Another Star Wars legend passes on and joins that great gallery of personas who delighted us as kids in a galaxy far, far away.

I learned earlier today that actor David ‘Dave’ Prowse has passed away aged 85. Dave was famous for his role as Darth Vader in the original trilogy Star Wars films. As a boy I had a poster of Vader on my wall which I cherished, along with my Kenner action figure of him. But it wasn’t just Dave’s role as the Dark Lord Sith which captured my imagination as a kid, it was his role as the Green Cross Man in the British run of TV and print adverts which drummed into my head the importance of road safety. I will say that each time I crossed the road as a youngling I thought of Green Cross Man’s advice (and still do today).

Perhaps a mark of a great actor is to be able to play both the villain and hero. For me, and I’m sure for countless other fans and admirers, Dave Prowse accomplished this role splendidly.

Below is a small tribute to one of my all-time best childhood heroes, represented in print adverts and toys from the TVTA collection.

I Am Your Father. Dave Prowse documentary. Chirashi poster. Japan . 2015.

Green Cross Code. UK. 1979.

Star Wars Miro Meccano prizes. France. 1980.

Star Wars Pin-Up Special. 1978. UK.

Star Wars bubble bath. UK. 1978.

Green Cross Code. UK. 1978.

The Empire Strikes Back. 1980. UK.

Forbidden Planet welcomes Dave Prowse and Anthony Daniels. UK. 1980.

Waddington Design a spaceship competition. UK. 1984.

Kenner Darth Vader action figure. Hong Kong COO with letter A hilt. 1977. From the collection of TVTA.

1978 Die Cast Darth Vader figure, made by the Takara company, Japan. From the collection of TVTA.

1978 Die Cast Darth Vader figure, made by the Takara company, Japan. From the collection of TVTA.

Dave Prowse in 2013. Image: Wikipedia


RIP David Prowse. 1935 – 2020.


 

Fond farewells Max von Sydow

Front sleeve image of the theme from the motion picture The Exorcist. 45 RPM vinyl. 1974. Warner Brothers. Japan.

Max von Sydow

Oscar-nominated actor Max von Sydow died two days ago on 8 March 2020 at age 90, after notching up an incredible stage and screen presence spanning seven decades.

His numerous credits include The Seventh Seal (1957), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), The Exorcist (1973),  Flash Gordon (1980), Conan the Barbarian (1982), Never Say Never Again (1983), Dune (1984), Judge Dredd (1995), Shutter Island (2010), Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011), and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). He also appeared in the HBO series Game of Thrones as the character Three-Eyed Raven.

I like best his roles in The Seventh Seal, in which his character, a knight, plays chess with Death; and The Exorcist, in which his character, a priest, is trying to exorcise a demon from a young girl.

The foreboding image of Father Merrin standing outside the house of the possessed Regan MacNeil is a movie poster that still haunts today.

In recognition of this film, I present two unique items from my collection as tribute to Max von Sydow – a Japanese 1974 seven inch record of The Exorcist theme, and a Japanese chirashi poster for The Exorcist, Director’s Cut.

The Exorcist theme, vinyl record, Japan.

Theme from the motion picture The Exorcist. 45 RPM. 1974. Warner Brothers. Japan.

Theme from the motion picture The Exorcist. 45 RPM. 1974. Warner Brothers. Japan.

The Exorcist, Director’s Cut, Japan.

The Exorcist Director’s Cut. 2000. Japanese chirashi poster.


Max von Sydow. 1929 – 2020.


 

May The Fourth Be With You Peter Mayhew

Palitoy Chewbacca Bandolier offer. Return of the Jedi N°28, 1984. UK.

Happy Star Wars Day!

I’m dedicating this year’s May The 4th Be With You post to actor Peter Mayhew, who passed away on the 30th April 2019, aged 74. Peter Mayhew was famous for playing the role of fearless Wookiee, Chewbacca, in the original Star Wars trilogy films. Mayhew also appeared in the Holiday Special, Revenge of the Sith, and The Force Awakens. In later films, due to declining health, he acted as a consultant for the character.

Peter Mayhew. Image: Lucasfilm.

For me, Chewbacca is one of the standout heroes from the Star Wars universe; physical, imposing, frightening, yet with a deep sense of loyalty to his friends and the rebel fight. I’ll never get over the impact upon hearing Chewie cry out in pain at the death of his dear friend, Han Solo, in The Force Awakens. Powerful stuff.

As for Peter Mayhew who played Chewbacca, I’ve only ever heard the very best sentiments of his warmth, friendliness and humanity over the years, from both his fellow actors and the fans who adored him and were lucky enough to meet him. Mayhew wrote two books aimed at young readers: Growing Up Giant, about how being different is a strength rather than a weakness, and an anti-bullying book for children My Favorite Giant.

Rest in peace Peter Mayhew, thanks for all your good work, and we’ll always let the Wookiee win!


UK. Starburst. 1980.

What Can You Get A Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns A Comb?). 7inch vinyl record. 1980. RSO records.

Planet of the Hoojibs. 7 inch vinyl record. Buena Vista Records. 1983.

The Star Wars Book of Masks. Random House. 1983. Mask #2. Chewbacca.


In other Star Wars Day news…

Here’s a new ad I picked up recently, for the Droids and Ewoks cartoon series on VHS.

Star Wars Ewoks and Droids on VHS. 1988. UK.

More Ewoks?

Star Comics. 1985. US.

Just a few more Ewoks?

Ewok Village Play Set. France. 1985.

One last Ewok…

Logray, Medicine Man action figure. 1983. From the collection of TVTA.

And finally, a TVTA May the 4th tradition…

Will this post be sushi-free?

Not on your nelly!

May The Sushi also Be With You!

Admiral Ackbar sushi set. Image eBay.

Happy Star Wars Day!

Post updated with two Chewbacca records.

Fond farewells Stan Lee

“Comic books to me are fairy tales for grown-ups.”

Stan Lee as… Stan Lee. Groo N°50. 1989. Marvel. US.

It’s hard to imagine there is anyone who hasn’t been touched, thrilled, excited or inspired in some way by Stan Lee’s work during his long and distinguished career. In collaboration with artists like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Bill Everett and Larry Leiber – Stan Lee co-created a magnificent universe of fictional characters that included Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Daredevil, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Iron Man, and Thor. He was editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, later its publisher and also chairman, before becoming the public figurehead for the company following his retirement. He continued working into his 90s and made many cameo roles in Marvel films.

Beyond his influential writing and energy, Stan was a good advocate for humankind; asking us all to be a little more tolerant and kinder as human beings. The Stan Lee Foundation was founded in 2010 to focus on literacy, education, diversity and the arts.

Below is a gallery of print adverts featuring some of the co-creations of Stan Lee. Take a moment to consider the thousands upon thousands of people who have worked on these characters over the years – either in print format, animation and movies, toys, games and household goods. It all comes back to one man’s writing skills coupled with a handful of artists who shared his same vision. RIP Stan Lee, who died today aged 95.


 


Stan Lee. 1922 – 2018.

Fond farewells Carlos Ezquerra – comic artist and co-creator of Judge Dredd

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Prog. 2017. UK.

I was sad to hear about the passing of Carlos Ezquerra on Monday aged 70. I grew up reading the British comic 2000 AD, with Judge Dredd being one of my all-time favourite characters. Alongside writers Pat Mills and John Wagner, Ezquerra created the formidable and unbending future cop Dredd and the vast city in which to place him: the crime-ridden hellhole that is Mega-City One.

2000 AD Annual 1989. UK.

With his instantly recognisable drawing style, Ezquerra’s legacy to Judge Dredd and other 2000 AD staples like Strontium Dog will be long lasting I think. Below is a selection of Ezquerra covers and ads scanned from my collection, including images from the brilliant 1980s series The Apocalypse War. Thank you Carlos for enriching my comic book experience.

2000 AD ft Judge Dredd. Prog 333. 1983.


The Apocalypse War. Ezquerra/Wagner/Grant. 1982.

Below images from Eagle Comics 1985 UK colourised editions.

The Apocalypse War. Advert. Judge Dredd Vol 1 N°19 1985. UK.

The Apocalypse War Part 1. Judge Dredd Vol 1 N°20 1985. UK.


Carlos Ezquerra. 1947 – 2018.