For the man I hold responsible for not only the existence of the original Star Wars trilogy but it’s look and feel, I just don’t think I have the adequate words for how much I’m affected by his passing.
Most everyone knows how George Lucas was finding doors shut in his face by the leading movie studios when trying to secure financing for his space saga. It wasn’t until Lucas hired McQuarrie to produce Production Paintings that would help to convey to the Studio Executives what he had envisioned in his mind’s eye for the film that the necessary funding was obtained, in fact it was the first studio they held a meeting with after the paintings had been completed, 20th Century Fox.
Ralph McQuarrie’s career didn’t obviously stop at Star Wars. He also had a hand in designs for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Cocoon, Nightbreed, and even the Back to the Future Ride that was at Universal Studios beginning in 1991 until it’s closure in 2007.
George Lucas has written a very nice remembrance over on the official Star Wars.Com site.
Thanks to Flack’s Great Post on the retiring of “the King” as Burger King’s mascot, it reminded me of when Star Wars: A New Hope craze was sweeping the world and Burger King was the only place to get those amazing collectible Star Wars glasses featuring Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, C-3P0 and R2-D2, as well as the villainous Darth Vader!
Thanks to j37h3r for posting this over on YouTube!
I mentioned in the comments of Flack’s post that I can clearly remember a teenager dressed up as the Burger King handing me a poster of Luke Skywalker before they began the glasses promotion. Thanks to Star Wars.Com for the image below you can see which poster I received that day. There were four posters in the series, painted by Del Nichols, a new poster each week…and even though in my youth my Father and I never had much in the way of money…he made sure that I got each of those posters and eventually glasses because he understood how much Star Wars meant to me. How did he accomplish this? He would do without lunch at the factory he worked at so we had enough that I could have a drink and the ‘luxury’ of a Burger King kid’s meal.