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Rose Mary
By Rosemary McKittrick
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One-Sheet; Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Alex Guinness, etc., by Chantrell; style C; 1977; 27 inches by 41 inches sold for $518. Photo courtesy of Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The Star Wars saga begins.

As the theater darkens, the popcorn settles and the soda disappears, onscreen the creatures cavort, the galactic wars escalate and the planets explode in a spine-tingling adventure fantasy.

The 1977 Star Wars Episode 4 movie was a clear collision of imagination, state of the art special effects and just plain fun. A classic pop culture tale of good vs. evil.

Every single Hollywood studio passed on what they called a “silly” movie idea except 20th Century Fox. Fox gave director George Lucas $10 million to make what turned out to be one of the most powerful movies of the 20th century. By the end of its first theatrical run, Star Wars was already the most successful film to date in North American history with a gross in excess of $290 million.

After the smash success of Star Wars, Lucas announced his intention to turn the film into a series, originally totaling nine films (later pared back to six).

It’s hard to forget simple lessons in the power of “intention” from movie lines like:

“You must unlearn what you have learned,” Jedi Master, Yoda declares.

“All right, I’ll give it a try,” hero, Luke Skywalker replies.

“No! Try Not,” Yoda snaps back. “Do. Or, Do Not. There is no try.”

The Stars Wars series inspired movie-goers on so many different levels.

It was one of the first films to really take advantage of merchandizing. When Lucas negotiated the deal with Fox to make the film, the studio was surprised to see he wasn’t asking for much money.

He wanted control. Lucas wanted the right to the final cut of the film, 40 percent of the net box-office gross, all rights to future sequels and ownership of all the merchandising rights associated with Star Wars.

At the time science fiction films weren’t really popular and sequel and merchandizing rights were worthless. Fox was sure they were cleaning up on the deal.

In the end, the film made Lucas a billionaire and cost Fox a fortune in lost revenues. Each new film was a mother load of tie-in products. In May of 1996, Lucasfilm announced it had signed a deal (reportedly worth $ 2 billion) with Pepsico (Pepsi, Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell and Frito Lay) for movie tie-ins related to the new Prequel Trilogy. Variety called this "the largest in size and scope the entertainment industry has ever seen."

Everything from Pez dispensers, shampoo bottles and electric toothbrushes to movie posters, action figures and stuffed toys came on the market. Its mind-boggling how much still shows up and how much people will buy.

Movie memorabilia is a pretty new field of collecting. As a rule, the older the Star War items are and the better their condition, the more desirable. Original packaging also drives the value up.

On July 12-13 Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, Texas, offered a selection of Star Wars movie posters in its movie poster auction.

Here are some current values.

Star Wars

One-Sheet; Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Alex Guinness, etc., by Chantrell; style C; 1977; 27 inches by 41 inches; $518.

One-Sheet; perhaps the most famous image-style from the movie; shows Hamill, Fisher and David Prowse, James Earl Jones as Darth Vader, etc., by Tom Jung; style A; 1977; 27 inches by 41 inches; $633.

Half-Sheet; shows Hamill, Ford, Fisher and Guinness, etc., by Tom Jung; 1977; 22 inches by 28 inches; $660.

Silkscreen Banner; nylon; Star Wars, 1977; very few produced for the film’s initial run; 26 inches by 104 inches; $4,025.

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