Ripleys Believe It or Not! (LOS ANGELES) — It’s not as clumsy or random as a blaster, and for the first time, “Star Wars” fans can check out an original Luke Skywalker lightsaber prop displayed in a galaxy not so far away.
Starting Saturday, and just in time for the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” visitors to Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum in Hollywood, California, will be able to see the iconic prop in person.
Ripley’s purchased the saber hilt for a whopping $450,000 at an auction last June held by Profiles in History. The auction house specializes in Hollywood memorabilia and acquired the prop from the collection of Gary Kurtz, a producer on “Star Wars: A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back.” It’s the first time the prop has been put on public display.
Ripley’s spokesperson Suzanna Smagala-Potts says the prop appears on screen in “Empire,” including a scene where Mark Hamill’s Luke uses the Force to dislodge his frozen lightsaber and makes his escape after partially dismembering a hungry Wampa ice monster.
The original lightsaber hilts, described by Obi Wan Kenobi as “an elegant weapon, for a more civilized age,” were crafted out of 1930’s-era Graflex camera flash handles by set designer Roger Christian. In a 2015 interview with CBC Radio, Christian described finding the parts in a London camera shop.
“I brought out an old dusty box that hadn’t been opened for about 10 years,” Christian said. “Out of this box I found these Graflex flash handles. I just took one in my hand and thought, ‘There it is.’”
The Graflex logo can still be seen, etched into the handle on Ripley’s lightsaber.
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