Today we’re kicking off a new feature on the Rancho Obi-Wan website, a regular blog written by our directors and guest writers that will run the gamut from personal experiences, to collectibles old and new, to fandom. The one thing that will bind them together is our shared love and passion for Star Wars. Our plan is to run at least one a week and let folks know about them through posts on the Rancho Obi-Wan Facebook page and through our twitter account.
Some of the blogs will be extensive and go into great detail, but most will focus on a single item or anecdote and be fairly brief. Some will be just text, others just photos with captions, and still others a mix of the two. Many will be personal.
Some of our directors have worked for or with Lucasfilm or its Licensees and partners. Others sell or have sold licensed products. All are fans. You can read about each of them here.
Life Before the Big Bang
By Steve Sansweet
The first version of Rancho Obi-Wan didn’t start coming together until the summer of 1998, and it was another 13 years before it became the nonprofit museum it is today, home of the world’s largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia and open for pre-booked public tours. But Rancho’s predecessor started in a 1,400 square-foot house on stilts in the hills east of Hollywood, the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.
The collection, which started with older tin robots and space toys, filled shelves in the den and spilled into the living room. As my passion and spending increased, I started taking Polaroid photos of the new acquisitions, packing them in large boxes, wrapping them in heavy-duty trash bags, and storing them on the ground in the unbuilt lower level of a neighbor’s house.
A year later the neighbors announced that they were going to finish off the basement, which left me little option but to add a second floor under my existing one. About two years later came another floor and then one personal storage locker…which eventually became five.
As the dual collections (Star Wars and robots/space toys) kept growing, my options became limited. There was no more room for another floor addition, and the storage lockers—which were packed full—weren’t a long-term solution. At one point, I even thought about buying a second house up the block just for the collection!
Then, in the summer of 1995, I got a fateful call from Lucasfilm. Did I know anyone who might be interested in a one-year-only job to attend fan conventions and explain what the Star Wars Special Edition films were all about, and show the first footage? “Let’s talk,” I said. I left The Wall Street Journal and joined Lucasfilm in February 1996, and although the move to Northern California was still more than two years away, the dream that eventually led to the establishment of Rancho Obi-Wan began then.