Ceremonial saber of Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol, made in Italy, c.1560 (source).
Obit of the Day: Creator of Yoda
For The Empire Strikes Back, makeup artist Stuart Freeborn had to create the wizened Jedi mentor, Yoda. Using a puppet rather than a human actor to create the diminutive character, Freeborn had to decide how Yoda would look after nearly 700 fictional years. So he combined the facial characteristics of two people into the puppet’s final design: Albert Einstein and his own. (You can see clearly, above, the close relationship between Mr. Freeborn and his creation.)
Stuart Freeborn began his career in films nearly 80 years ago at England’s Denham Studios. He was looking for a way to get out from under the his father’s ambition for young Stuart to become an insurance broker. He found it in the makeup chair.
Going uncredited for the first several years of his career, Mr. Freeborn first gained notice for his work when he transformed Alec Guinness into Fagin for the 1948 film Oliver Twist. One reason for the notice was based on criticism that Mr. Freeborn made Fagin into a Jewish stereotype with a prominently hooked nose.
Mr. Freeborn would work on a total of 76 films during his career that spanned seven decades. He would become a favorite of director Stanley Kubrick who had Mr. Freeman create three distinct characters for Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove and the very human apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
In the mid-1970s, Mr. Freeborn was approached by George Lucas who introduced himself and said, “I’ve written a script for a film called Star Wars.” Mr. Freeborn thought that the young director was so genuine that he would offer to help.
Stuart Freeborn died on February 6, 2013 at the age of 98.
(Image of Stuart Freeborn and Yoda is courtesy of thefullwiki.org)
Other related posts on Obit of the Day:
RIP: Stuart Freeborn
Astronaut Bruce McCandless II floats a few meters away from the cabin of the earth-orbiting Space Shuttle Challenger as part of an historic Extravehicular Activity (EVA) during Flight 41-B. This is the first use of the nitrogen-propelled, hand-controlled device called the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), which allows astronauts to move freely in space without a tether, 02/07/1984
Letters to Newtown: Preserving 500,000 Messages of Hope & Sorrow
Walk into the Newtown town hall, and you see bin after bin of cards and letters — some 500,000 at least, more arriving every day. They line both sides of the long main hall and fill up the branching halls and offices. Posters, paintings, quilts, and flags cover the walls. There are banners from students at Columbine and Virginia Tech; there are letters from school kids across America and from people as far away as France and Australia. And there are boxes of Kleenex on every table for those who read them.
Cased belt revolvers
Wesson & Leavitt / Massachusetts Arms Co.
Chicopee Falls, MA
After incorporating in 1850, Edwin Wesson and Daniel Leavitt became Samuel Colt’s fiercest competitors – so much so that Colt filed suit against their company for copyright infringement in 1852. These small “belt-size,” .31-caliber revolvers are two of only about 1000 ever produced by the company before suspending operations shortly after the Colt lawsuit. The company would eventually evolve into Smith & Wesson.
Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share! #WeaponryWednes