I write for www.swstartours.net/cms, a fansite devoted to all things 'Star Tours'-ish, and I came across this request for info last night on Mouseketeer Alison's http://waltdatedworld.bravepages.com/ ...
Darth Vader at Walt Disney World Village!
I have received e-mails from Walt Dated World fans saying that Darth Vader appeared at the Walt Disney World Village at the height of the original Star Wars mania in October of 1977. If anyone has pictures to share they would be much appreciated!
Now, I remember that a 'Darth Vader' and a couple of Jawas appeared at a local car dealership in the 70's, in not very authentic costumes. The Vader's helmet was a kid-sized Don Post off-the-shelf item, and he was shown in his publicity photo brandishing a Kenner 3-position laser rifle toy.
The Jawas called themselves Frick and Frack, according to their autographs. If I recall correctly, the 8 x 10 black and white publicity shots were stamped 'Starbase 18 Productions' or something like that. No doubt something whipped up to capitalize on the success of Star Wars when there was very little 'official' product on the market.
They went on break, but my Dad blustered his way into a back room at the car place because I was upset that I hadn't gotten one of the pictures signed, and that's when my childhood illusions got shattered. There was a sweaty tall guy and two soaking-wet kids sitting in tee-shirts and shorts, gulping down drinks and shoving their faces full of white-bread sandwiches.
The guy who had been inside the Vader costume was totally gracious about the intrusion, and came over and signed the picture right in front of me, out of costume. It said simply "Darth Vader".
When I bought the Art of SW, there's a cartoon in one of the appendices which sums up the experience perfectly, down to Vader ordering a sandwich from an aide, and a spectator opining "that could be some guy from shipping in there".
Now, having said all of that about my low-budget experience of meeting Darth Vader in the 70's, does anyone remember this rumored Vader appearance at WDW Village? Got pics?