Inspired by the Force: A Rare Spiral Photo Book

One of the ultimate collectibles from the original 1977 Star Wars is this precious Photo Book that was organized by producer Gary Kurtz and given to members of the cast and crew. These still come up for private sale and auctions as veterans of the film decide to part with them.

See below for the whole story and a few scans of the pages within.

The book is bound with a black plastic spiral that can crack if the book is opened and closed a lot, but is ultimately replaceable. It has black cardstock front and back covers. Many, but not all, of the front covers have an early 2.5-inch-tall sticker with Ralph McQuarrie art of The Starkiller, an early script name for Luke Skywalker, along with the original longer title of the movie, The Star Wars.

What makes the Photo Book particularly special is that each one is signed clearly by Kurtz and director George Lucas, before Lucas’s signature became almost indecipherable initials. The signature page has the name of the giftee and the following sentence in a cursive hand: Thank you for you contribution to Star Wars. The person’s name and the sentence were handwritten by a staff member, but the Lucas and Kurtz signatures are authentic and in a different color ink.

The number of photos in the books varies somewhat, but usually includes around 25 different images. Nearly all are on-the-set action shots, although there’s at least one of a McQuarrie concept painting. All the photos are black and white with a matte finish and on sturdy photo paper, almost as if they had been hand-printed. The photos are presented in a horizontal format at about 8 by 10 inches. All in all, a very tasty souvenir/collectible of the film that launched an amazing worldwide phenomenon.

Steve Sansweet is owner and Executive Chairman of Rancho Obi-Wan, former Head of Fan Relations at Lucasfilm and contributor to, and previously the longest-running Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal in Los Angeles.


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