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Star Wars

Like millions of other teenagers I was instantly excited, when the first reports about the Star Wars phenomena reached Europe. I had seen the first pictures in August 1977 in Oslo. A Norwegian newspaper had a report about Star Wars. Of course I couldn't read a word and didn't knew what was this about, but the pictures looked cool (a stormtrooper, Darth Vader and C-3PO). That sticked in my mind.

A few days later Elvis died...

Slowly, in Fall/ Winter '77 I started to realize that these (and other) pictures are part of a new science fiction film. In this cable-, computer-, and videoless time, it was nearly impossible for a 13-year old to get information. There weren't any German language SF-magazines. It was a desert out there. All this arose with or because of Star Wars! I saw the first Star Wars clips in December '77, in the legendary TV-show "Kennen Sie Kino?" (Do you know cinema?) with Helmut Lange. With wide-open eyes I tried to burn every single frame in my brain. After the show I scrambled to my desk and started to draw the opening scene with the stardestroyer. As far as I could memorize details, I mixed the scene with my Captain Scarlet model-cars. On Feb.10th '78 KRIEG DER STERNE finally started in Germany. I saw the movie one day later with two schoolfriends. Do I have to mention that I was totally thrilled?

At that time, my mother gave me DM 5,- to school for lunch. That was enough for one Star Wars figure (3,95 at Spielzeug Zars in the Osterstraße) and one small French-fries at McDonalds (1,05). That was exactly DM 5,-. That way I had the first 12 figures and a few more together in no time, including three vinylcape Javas.

It was during the Perry Rhodan Worldcon 1980 in Mannheim that I saw the first pictures from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. That was at the same also my very first Convention! In the middle of the hall a crowd had gathered together that triggered my curiosity and I tried to see what was going on. In the center of interest a TV set was standing on which a rustling bootleg videotape was running. The last thing I saw, was when Luke and Leia where standing arm in arm gazing into the space. Then the credits rolled up. I instantly realized that I just have missed TESB! I was devastated! Ö But fortune was on my side. The next day TESB was shown again and this time I was there in time!

About that time I started to realize that there are fan clubs and a fan-scene out there. I joined the STAR WARS FAN ASSOCIATION in Berlin and my first letters were published in the German edition of Spider-Man. I was so goddamn proud! All these years I felt like a stranded person on an uninhabited planet.

It was during the first Jedi-Con in Frankfurt, October 1983 that I tied personal contacts to other Star Wars fans, co-founded our local northern German Star Wars group (Hamburg & Kiel) and grabbed an invitation for the press screening of RETURN OF THE JEDI. I had to economize every Pfennig, so I could afford the travel to the con.

Unforgotten is our New Year party 1983 / 84 in Kiel. In the afternoon we all went to the theater to see ROTJ and in the evening we decorated the Redcross station, where we celebrated. One of our group had organized the room, because he performed his "social yearî there. We had a helluva time. Plenty of alcohol fueled the mood. Until midnight everything was still all right, because I wanted to light my firecrackers. After that I went down the drain pretty fast. At 2.00 a.m. it was all over for me. With 20 years you still test your limits. That day I certainly crossed it. I had it after I drank the Bacardi straight out of the bottle. I fell from the chair and couldnít get up anymore. With my last strength I crawled up the stairs to the restrooms, where I was found later passed out in my own puke. Now it paid off that we celebrated in a Redcross station. Two male nurses carried me to a couch, placed a bucket next to me and tried to pour saltwater into my mouth. On New Year Eve I had a terrible hangover.

These were exciting times!  In summer '84 with the collapse of the GERMAN JEDI fan club (That's a long & sad story) and my draft in the army, it was over for a while.

In the early 90s life in the Star Wars fandom began to stir again. Arnd Riedel founded 1994 the Star Wars dinner-group Hamburg. Today they get organize by Oliver Endrigkeit and Claus Morell. Hamburger Star Wars fans are meeting each 4-6 weeks on different locations for dinner. Sometimes we're also on some event together. Dates and details can be found under www.outerrim.de. Arnd on the other hand, prefers to take his self-made and fully operational R2-D2 on a walk. More about that in his  R2-Homepage (everything in English).

Also produced by Arnd was the C-3PO costume that caused quite a sensation during the Jedi-Con 1994 in Cologne. I had the honor to play the golden protocol droid in the opening show.  Present as guest star was Anthony Daniels, who gave me "acting lessonsî and showed me how to move as C-3PO. Anthony told me about his problems in the costume. The shouldering were pinching under the arms, hindering the flow of blood. In no time his arms were numb and fingers ice-cold. With amazement I noticed I had the same difficulties. I had to wear the golden suit only for a few hours. Anthony was trapped in it for the whole day. This guy has my deepest respect for such a sacrifice. Finally showtime arrived. We were waiting in our costumes in the backstage area. Two monitors were installed to follow the show on stage. I was waiting in position at the door. It went dark. I felt Anthonyís hand on my shoulder, wishing me luck and I went out. The audience cheered and started to laugh when they saw how I lost my left shank. "Oh, I know that. This always happened to meî, was Tonyís reaction to this false start. I just carried on. What else could I have done anyway? You canít pick up or hold tight anything in this costume. Then I lost a shoulder. The crowd laughed again and started to yell. I continued unswerving. "Heís marvelous!î commented Anthony. I had a few steps to walk. The upper leg slid down and the backflap opened. The mass got hysterical. I felt more like Buster Keaton in a world of insanity than a communication droid. It started to get really critical when the chest- and backpiece got loose. I saw a shadow from the backstage rushing toward me, taping the pieces together. The crowed got frantic. It didnít help. The chest and back clapped down. I finished my part of the show without further disturbances and left the "planet of the apesî, while the rebel vs. imperials shoot-out were fought behind me. When I was peeled out of what was left of my costume, Anthony laughed and said: You were great!

In general my Star Wars activities are limited in publishing now and then in the German Star Wars Magazin of the OSWFC (Official Star Wars Fan Club).

I regulary contribute reports, comments and illustrations to the excellent, American Star Wars fanzine Blue Harvest, published by James Addams and Mary Jo Fox. I tied contact in 1994, when the Star Wars fanzine Monster & Heroes #7 by Rainer Schuck had published addresses of American fanzines. I decided to test some American 'zines and chose two addresses. The one was a story-only magazine and with $ 23 for oversea buyers quite expensive. What made me choose Blue Harvest, wasn't only the cheaper price, but Mary Jo had added a handwritten, personal note to the information material. That contact seemed to be more promising. Monster & Heroes has faded a long time ago, but Blue Harvest on the other hand had evolved to the most abiding Star Wars fanzine in the USA. It lasted for 20 issues until summer 2000. Live is weird...

Star Wars exist for over 30 years now and I'm always boasting with the fact that I'm in the fadom since the beginning. A lot has changed. Today an organized fandom and collector-market, with all their abuse exist. I didn't even dare to dream about this in 1980. Cable TV, videos, DVDs and Computers are part of everyday life. The internet has changed the fandom from the upside down. Without an email-address you're the last dumb-ass on earth. The fandom has become more professional. It's something that I welcome and from that I also benefit. But the "innocence" has been lost. Of course money is also an issue. I'm not complaining against it, but what's the point in buying merchandise products, when you constantly feel ripped of, someone is counting your money, while he's laughing at you? A market doesn't get cherish anymore, only exploited and burned earth is left behind. Symptomatic the next Star Wars generation: The most frequent asked question is: "What does it cost?" and "Where can I get it?" Creativity isn't wanted anymore.

I've changed, the world has changed, and the business has changed. A lot of things just donít interest me anymore. I don't say this with bitterness. It's no look back in anger. My main interest has shifted toward other things. Nevertheless... I travel around the globe for an event, meet friends or waste my money for booze on conventions. That way; I'm still having my fun in the Star Wars fandom, even without spending money on "exclusive-signed-limited-and-numbered-first-print-special-only-avaible-here-action- figures.

Here on the left are my published articles and reports for various magazines.