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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

AN IMPORTANT POINT OF VIEW: CHARLES LIPPINCOTT LOOKS BACK ON 'STAR WARS'

A striking unused B/W poster concept for the original STAR WARS. Image: via Charles Lippincott's FACEBOOK page.

One of the original STAR WARS greatest allies on its path to cinematic realisation had to be its young and dedicated publicist Charles Lippincott. Lippincott was the man, as advertising/publicity supervisor, who helped sell the concept of a sci-fi/fantasy adventure to a blinkered film studio and a world audience at that time, in the seventies, when this particular genre was pretty much dead and buried thanks to a wave of dark-edged anti-hero thrillers and big-budget, big-starred disaster movies. George Lucas's production, though seemingly considered small budget at the nine million dollar mark, filming in the UK with at first little or no interest from the entertainment industry, was nonetheless a complex affair to organise in concept and practical execution, alongside the job of getting the film's vital visual effects and post production schedule on course and conceiving the film's unique flavour in all kinds of advertising and publicity, from posters to TV advertising, and eventual spin-off merchandise. Lippincott to a very large degree was involved in all these areas, and more, as well as providing many of the key of-their-time publicity interviews with Hamill, Ford, Fisher and co. later to be unearthed by Lucasfilm's Don Bies and J.W. Rinzler for the latter's acclaimed THE MAKING OF STAR WARS book of 2007 (now available in revised e-book form).

Lippincott (centre) in 1977, with FAMOUS MONSTERS magazine legend Forrest J. Ackerman (left) and Shel Dorf (right).  Photo by Alan Light.

Previously self-removed for the most part from the STAR WARS universe until around five or six years ago, Lippincott has made a welcome return presence and created a unique FACEBOOK page on the genesis and evolution behind the scenes of the first film, before it became A New Hope, putting up some rare, incredible imagery, artworks (like the one above) and production paperwork in his quest to debunk some of the now classic, and incorrect, behind the scenes mythos on the making of that first film between 1975 and 1977 that have evolved over the years. Having also been involved in publicity for the next FOX- backed sci-fi project, the equally iconic ALIEN, and buying the rights to the UK's 2000 AD comic character of almost vigilante future super-cop JUDGE DREDD, who eventually made his way to cinema screens first in 1995 with Sylvester Stallone in the title role, Lippincott's FACEBOOK page is an essential "Like" and "Follow"- a genuine treasure trove of memories and nostalgia to savour and celebrate.

Star Wars marketing man Charles Lippincott on the real force behind the franchise's success | The Drum

FACEBOOK PAGE: Charles Lippincott

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