May The Record Be With You!

Via Geekbomb.net
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I recently caught up with the gang from Rancho Obi-Wan, the Guinness World Record holder for the worlds largest privately owned collection of Star Wars memorabilia and merchandise. A former Lucas Arts employee, now Rancho Obi-Wan owner and founder Steve Sansweet, started the museum in 1998 which has developed from over 37 years of collecting and amounts to an estimated 300,000 items.

 

We chatted about the collection, world records, Tauntaun’s, Pod racing, and the magic that is Star Wars. Steve tells us about how he got into collecting and what it is that makes Star Wars so special. Also publicity director, Consetta Parker, joins us with her love of Star Wars – including her Star Wars Wedding!!!

Tell us about the collection, how did it all start?? 

Steve
I grew up reading lots of science fiction and fantasy and I remember having some early “space forts” and even a robot or two. I started collecting space toys—old Japanese tin robots and rocket ships mainly, about a year before Star Wars came out. At first the Star Wars items were part of the broader collection, but The Empire Strikes Back sealed the deal for me and more of my time and money shifted to Star Wars collecting.

 

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Why do you think Star Wars is the greatest movie of all time??

Steve
There are a few ways to judge the Star Wars saga. One is what’s on the screen and another is the impact that’s had on people worldwide. The first movie was so fresh, exciting, funny and an amazing spectacle. But I found it also very human and I cared about the characters. The fact that we’re talking about it as much as we are more than 35 years later—and awaiting a whole new batch of Star Wars movies—shows how deeply engrained the saga is for millions of people.

Consetta
For me personally it’s due to the profound impact the film(s) have had on my life since I first saw Star Wars when I was 6 years old. Most of my major life decisions have had a Star Wars influence. Because I was fascinated with the movies, I ended up working in the film industry as a studio publicist, I married a stormtrooper (that I met at Skywalker Ranch during the Revenge of the Sith Press junket at Skywalker Ranch) and now get to work with talent and individuals directly involved in the Star Wars Universe. The joy the film(s) brought me as a little girl has remained with me into adulthood. The fact I am a part of the Rancho Obi-Wan family is certainly a dream come true! 

 

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For Consetta, Star Wars is more than just a movie. After meeting her husband at the Skywalker Ranch in California, the two got married at the George Lucas Theater in 2008 with a Star Wars themed celebration. Watch more of the beautiful event here –

 

 

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Rancho Obi Wan has been named the largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia in the 2014 Guinness World Records, tell us about this experience, was it a long enjoyable one?

Steve
Our publicity director Consetta Parker got an email July 2, 2012, from a Guinness World Records researcher basically saying they “doubted the record they’d been reporting for more than a decade — based on widespread Internet and other reports about Rancho Obi-Wan. Could we please respond and start a conversation?” That led to filling out forms, sending stories and photos, and basically answering all of their questions. ROW General Manager Anne Neumann—who thought she’d have the entire collection inventoried in 6 months when she arrived here 8 years ago — provided the then-current database. And, as per Guinness requirements, we couldn’t say anything for a year. One of the best days was in October 2012 when the book’s London-based editor Craig Glenday arrived with a photographer. We spent the whole day rearranging Rancho Obi-Wan to create a memorable photo. Craig is a huge Star Wars fan himself, and I think it was the combination of work and play that made that day so much fun.

 


If you could only keep one piece from the collection what would it be??

Steve
My top choice would be the large canvas banner that concept artist Ralph McQuarrie—the man most responsible for the look of Star Wars—painted for some fan conventions Lucasfilm attended a year before the movie came out. It includes a silkscreen of the iconic Starkiller character from an early script draft and Ralph’s own version of the logo. When he visited the museum, he chuckled and told me, “I still like my logo better than the one they ended up with.” 

 

Most random piece in the collection??

Steve
How about a pack of Dewback cigarettes printed up by a member of the Italian Garrison of the 501st Legion?

 

Is there a peoples choice or a favorite piece in the collection that everybody comes just to see??

Steve
Not really. It’s not just seeing individual rare items but also hearing my behind-the-scenes stories and anecdotes. It’s really a three-hour or so experience led by one fan for other fans.

 

Do movies borrow Star Wars pieces from the collection for films?? (e.g. Fanboys)

Steve
We haven’t been asked yet. I think enough people have replica items that it isn’t really a problem. I did lend a bunch of rare items for the taping of a Fox television show that aired in January 1997, just before the Star Wars Special Edition opened.

What Star Wars character would play you in a film??

Steve
Well, this place IS called Rancho Obi-Wan not Rancho Greedo! I do identify a bit with the character of Obi-Wan, younger and older, since I take very seriously the role of being a teacher and mentor in my life. Besides, I have a beard!

 

Favourite Star Wars creature??

Steve
The noble tauntaun tops my list, and I seem to be developing a bit of an unusual tauntaun sub-section of my collection.

 

Consetta
TaunTauns have always had a special place in my heart. But I’m quite fond of many…Rancors, Dewbacks, Wampas, Salacious Crumb and Banthas too!

 

Luke Skywalker challenges Han Solo in a pod race who wins??

Steve
Well, first you have to tell me the odds! No? I’d pick Luke because of his Force powers, but it would be very close.

 

Consetta
I don’t think Han would accept the challenge. He wouldn’t want to embarrass Luke ;)

 

Most underrated Star Wars character in the Star Wars universe??

Steve
I think the Ewoks as a species are underrated by some fans. To me they represent the power to overcome adversity and the steepest odds despite their size and limited technology.

 

Consetta
The music. The film score John Williams has given to the Star Wars universe is without a doubt a key player and needed element to every aspect of the story. 

 

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Who would make the better next door neighbor, Chewbacca or Jar Jar Binks??

Steve
Probably Chewie. It’d be a lot easier for him to just reach up and get one of the cats out of a tree.

 

Consetta
I’d be delighted with either and would invite them both over for blue milk and cookies :)


Thoughts on Star Wars VII?? 

Steve
I can’t wait. With Kathleen Kennedy as the producer and J.J. Abrams as director, I’m sure we’re going to be in for a great ride.

 

Consetta
The fact we get to say that there WILL be a Star Wars VII thrills me beyond measure! I cannot wait to see it and am excited for a whole new generation to be introduced to a galaxy so many of us have loved for so long!

 

What is the greatest life lesson that we can learn from the Star Wars films??

Steve
Don’t be afraid to dream the “impossible”—and then set out to make it happen. 

Consetta
Believe in yourself and never lose hope because we can all make a difference.

To visit the museum or for more information about Rancho Obi-Wan and their charity efforts to further inspire others, click the following link http://www.ranchoobiwan.org

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