Lucky Star Wars Fan Makes Big Discovery
Written By: E. Thomas
A lucky Star Wars fan has made the discovery of a lifetime. One
of our readers has found what could be the earliest George Lucas signature on record. The story begins when our reader, we'll
call him "Tom," was working at his first job at a production company in Hollywood, CA. The company was the prestigious
Family Theater Productions. Its founder, Father Patrick Peyton, was responsible for one of the World's most familiar memes. His slogan; "The
family that prays together, stays together" has been part of popular culture for over 50 years.
Father Peyton Speaks
to a Massive Crowd
"This was my first job in the motion picture industry"
says our reader Tom. Interestingly enough Family Theater also gave James Dean, William Shatner and George Lucas their first
jobs in the industry. James Dean made his first movie appearance in the film Hill Number One. Dean played "John the Apostle." (Pictured below.) William Shatner starred in three films centering around the
psalms, including an award winning short film called The Soldier. And legendary filmmaker George Lucas got his first gig with the company working as a Camera Assistant. These were certainly
humble beginnings for three of Hollywood's biggest names.
James Dean in "Hill
Tom says: "I was just a kid when I first started working
for the company." He contines his story telling me there had been a rumor that George Lucas had received his first
screen credit working for the company in the mid 1960s. "At the time we still had a few older employees who had been
with the company since the early 1960s, and they insisted the rumors were true. This included a Priest named Father Heinzer
and a Producer named Austin 'Pete' Peterson." (Peterson was actually the producer of the legendary Colgate Comedy Hour,
starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.) "Both of these men were my friends. And Mr. Peterson and I were very close. I
used to joke with him saying that he was my Obi-Wan Kenobi. It was Pete who told me about the George Lucas screen credit."
Tom says at the time he was a huge Star Wars fan. Judging by the appearance of his home, which is filled with Star Wars collectibles,
his passion for the saga continues to this day.
Tom continues: "Now my boss at the time was a Mr. Dennis
Roverato. He was a handsome, dashing looking fellow with an Errol Flynn moustache. He was like a mentor to me. He was also
kind, gracious and extremely patient. I was a brash, impetuous young man, fresh off the bus from Upstate NY. I had no idea
what I was doing in the big city. And without people like Dennis I would never have survived in Los Angeles. I was full of
energy and I constantly needed something to keep me busy. This is when I began my quest to find the lost first screen credit
of Mr George Lucas."
Tom explains the company was getting ready to transfer and preserve their old films. And
they needed someone to supervise the transfer. "Dennis figured I was the best man for the job. Plus it would keep me
busy. I was given the job of reviewing the entire Family Theater film catalog. This was no small task. The company had produced
dozens of films over the years. I was witness to the entire history of the company. I was to watch each movie and then prepare
the film reels for transfer and preservation. This is when I discovered the lost first screen credit of George Lucas. At first
I hadn't believed the rumors, but when I finally discovered the truth I was speechless."
However finding the screen credit was only the beginning of the
adventure. Tom continues: "Once I found the credit I immediately wondered if Mr Lucas had signed a contract. Or maybe
there was something else in the archives with his signature?" Tom informs me that during this time the Family Theater
building was going through a lot of renovations, and much of the company archives were headed to the local dump. "I had
to act fast, so I frantically started looking through every bit of paperwork. I spent every lunch break I had looking through
the archives." Unfortunately for Tom his efforts were in vain. After months of searching he gave up hope. Until one day
fate pushed him in the right direction.
"When I was working for Family Theater I was sort of
a jack of all trades. I basically did anything they asked of me. One day my boss decided we were going to clean out the
basement. The basement of our building was filled with old furniture. That's were I found an old desk. I opened the desk
drawer and inside I discovered a company guest book dating from the early 1960s. I asked my boss if I could have the guest
book, thinking it was a neat souvenir of the company's history. He agreed and during my lunch hour I spent my time looking
through the pages." This is when Tom made an incredible discovery. Buried in the pages was the signature of a person
named "George W Lucas Jr." Tom continues "at first I didn't think it was him until I read a magazine interview
with Mr Lucas. In the article it mentioned that his full name was George Walton Lucas Jr."
Of course since that time Mr Lucas has dropped the "w"
and the "jr" from his name. During his college years George Lucas had a brief falling out with his father. Although
they eventually reconciled, the tensions between a father and son is a theme that became central to the Star Wars saga. So
finding a signature where Mr Lucas still calls himself "George w Lucas Jr" was an incredible and extremely rare
How did Tom know the autograph was legit? Well obviously there's
the fact that Lucas signed the guest book using his full name. However another smoking gun is that Lucas also wrote down his
home address, which was later confirmed by people working for the company during that era. The book is also filled with signatures
from everyone who worked at Family Theater during the 1950s, 60s, and the early 70s. The book covers nearly three decades
of company history. There are even a few signatures from other celebrities who worked for the company at the time. And of
course the final confirmation came from Austin Peterson and Father Heinzer, who both worked for the company when Mr Lucas
was doing his job as a Camera Assistant.
A recent George Lucas
signature: Obviously his handwriting has evolved since 1965
Autograph experts agree the signature and the book could be
worth a great deal of money. But our reader Tom is not concerned with value at all. To him the book is priceless. "I
would never sell it. Not for any price." Tom says "This signature reminds me that Mr Lucas started small just like
me. And he went on to change the entire world. Its a tremendous inspiration for me, both as a massive Star Wars fan and as
a person working in the entertainment industry."
Tom continues: "Not
only is this an incredible Star Wars souvenir but its also a reminder of my first job in the industry. Working for Family
Theater was one of the best times in my life. And at the time I was not a religious person, but everyone on the staff always
treated me with love, kindness and respect. I was a half Jewish kid working at a Catholic film company. My time at the company
inspired a great respect in my heart for all positive faiths. This is something I see in the work of George Lucas, which draws
upon universal themes from religion and mythology. And hey all seriousness aside, I probably own one of the most unique Star
Wars collectibles ever!"
There is no doubt this
signature is the ultimate Star Wars collectible.
Collecting Sci-Fi Memorabilia: