Once again, the Star Wars issue promotes the fantastic talents of British men and women, as they work behind the scenes of these iconic films.
This issue contains: stamps, retail booklet, minisheet, prestige stamp booklet and generic sheet.
In the mid 1920s, a young British film producer, Herbert Wilcox, and a Hollywood producer named JD Williams, were looking for a site to build a new motion picture studio. They were aware of such a facility already operating in a small village named Boreham Wood called Neptune Studio, which opened in 1914. Building commenced in 1925 and Wilcox decided to call the new studio Elstree Studios, as Elstree was a more established geographical name.
However, due to a falling out between Williams and his South Africa investors, the facility soon passed into the hands of Scottish cinema owner, John Maxwell. He named the studios British International Pictures and signed up new talent, such as Alfred Hitchcock. After many successful years, producing a number of blockbuster films and famous screen stars, the studios closed for the duration of the Second World War, and sadly, Maxwell died. His widow sold a large number of his shares to Warner Bros, who agreed to substantially rebuild the facility during 1946-7, and renamed Elstree, Associated British Picture Corporation (ABC Television). The studio moved away from gritty dramas, and moved towards musicals and comedies, such as Summer Holiday and The Rebel.
In 1976, from a Galaxy far far away, a young American decided to base his new sci-fi movie at Elstree. His name was George Lucas, the movie was Star Wars and the rest is history!
David Prowse (1st July, 1935) is a former bodybuilder and weightlifter who became an actor. He was selected to play Darth Vader from the original Star Wars trilogy, due to his height and girth. He would speak the lines from within the suit during filming in his Bristol accent, however, as this ultimately clashed George Lucas’ idea about Vader, James Earl Jones was dubbed over as Vader’s voice – a fact unknown to Prowse at the time of filming.
Prowse complains that he never got any publicity as Darth Vader. He had chosen to play Vader because he felt the villain was usually the most memorable. Prowse is also known for playing a Minotaur in the Doctor Who story ‘The Time Monster’ (1972).
He also appeared in the TV series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1980) as the bodyguard of Hotblack Desiato.
Did you know….?
- The first feature film to be completed at Elstree Studios was Madame Pompadour in 1927.
- Elstree, in the 1930s, launched the screen careers of Charles Laughton, Laurence Olivier and Anna Neagle.
- By 1939, over 200 features had been produced at Elstree. It was then closed, due to the Second World War, and was used as an ordnance depot and a garrison theatre by the army.
- Elstree is home to programmes, such as The Voice, Strictly Come Dancing and Pointless, to name but a few.
- David Prowse’s favourite acting role was as the Green Cross Code Man, a character used in public service announcements in the UK to teach children road safety.
- Prowse helped train Christopher Reeve for the role of Superman in the 1978 film and its sequels after lobbying for the part himself.
- In July 2010, Prowse was banned by George Lucas from attending official Star Wars fan conventions.