Meeting Darth Vader....at Wal-Mart!

You can't make this stuff up.  The year is 1978; it's mid-October.  Star Wars has already been back to the theater, and it is more than fresh in every child's mind.  In fact, in my case, that was a gross understatement.

I owe my historical and archival skills to my mother.  In fact, if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have any of the items I'm showing you today! It was her combing the newspaper that led to the discovery of the full-page ad above, which begins our tale with the question of, "Would you like to go and meet Darth Vader on Saturday?"

You can imagine the sheer rapture that ensued.  This was a 5-year-old that had already met Spider-Man (twice! We'll have to cover that story sometime), and now the Dark Lord of the Sith? 
A cynical adult might think it was odd, but, to a kindergartener, it wasn't the least bit bizarre that he would be visiting a Wal-Mart.  And it was only slightly strange that he didn't speak to me, and that he had a "handler" that did the communicating for him.  No, it was just too incredibly, overwhelmingly cool to even consider things like where his spaceship was parked, and whether he was going to force-choke me.
Nor was it strange to me that Darth Vader needed police protection.
I already had the Texas Instruments watch advertised in the above ad, and I'm sure I was wearing it that day....and of course they were sponsoring the Dark Lord's visit, whoever they were...I just knew they made my "Speak & Spell," so they had to be cool.
The suit was pretty fancy.  The handler told my mother (when I wasn't listening) that it was an actual costume from the film, which I now take to mean "one of" the ones, but it still was amazingly convincing.

In the second photo, I think Vader is about to hand me my very own 8x10" glossy commemorative photo, which I have treasured even to this good day!
As a footnote to the event, Halloween was just a mere two weeks later...would my encounter with meeting a cinematic idol inspire me in my choice of costumes??? Would I turn to the dark side?
Nope; I went as C-3PO.  I still don't know why!


Christopher Sobieniak said...

Something tells me you were one happy camper!

KL from NYC said...

(I'm still amazed that your Mom taped cartoon audio for car trips -- ingenious!)

It used to be that when people saved stuff like this, others would say "Why are you saving that junk?"
Now that people sell stuff like this for a nice profit on eBay, others don't criticize anymore -- they try to figure out if it has a potential for going up in value.

Times have changed.
I'm glad you saved these things.

Sampoerna Quatrain said...

It's so true! I am really lucky to have my mother; she saved all of this stuff! I inherited any archivist skills I have from her!