May The Force Stiffen Your Spanx

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I knew from the get-go that it wasn’t James Earl Jones lending gravity and heft to Darth Vader’s Jedi armor back in 1979. The only question—which I never asked—was what extremely large and sturdy stunt double would allow himself to be swanned around on-camera for ten years without so much as a single shot of the actor’s actual face. (Anonymity is generally a useless P.R. tool.)

As it turns out, Vader (or at least his clanking physical presence) was portrayed by British weightlifter David Prowse, a robust bodybuilder who helped train Christopher Reeve:

He helped train Christopher Reeve for the role of Superman in the 1978 film and its sequels after lobbying for the part himself. In a television interview, he related how his response to being told “We’ve found our Superman” was “Thank you very much.” Then he was told that Reeve had been chosen and he was only to be a trainer.

as well as training Cary Elwes for The Princess Bride.

Little to my beknownst, I first encountered Prowse a few years earlier, when he played the nearly naked pleasure-boy Julian in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.

It ain’t politics, and it ain’t funny, but here’s hoping I just cleared up the deepest mystery of your brain with Mr. Prowse’s own workaday website.

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 05/18/13 at 06:15 PM • Permalink

Categories: Geek SpeakI Don't Know Much About Art, But I Know What I LikeMessylaneousMovies

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Hey Strange,
thank God it’s not about politics.  Today both sides have become so toxic that you have to have a real appetite for venom.

Thanks for the info on David Prowse. It’s a curiosity.

Here’s another muscle trivia. Few could figure out the exercise regime of Charles Bronson. If you’re a workout guy, you often can tell what kind of exercise people do by their contours. Bronson was an enigma.

In Jim Brown’s autobiography, he says that Bronson thought he was tough, and he was. He says that Bronson could go from flat-footed and jump over the hood of a Volkswagon.

As it turns out, in the early days Bronson roomed with Jack Klugman, who starred with Tony Randall in The Odd Couple.

Klugman said that in the alley behind the tenement, Bronson would do push-ups between 2 milk crates and also had a rope tied to a fire escape that he would do rope climbs up and down. So at least we know part of the picture during that era.

Another interesting muscle trivia is about famed B actor William Smith. He was very famous for starting in a string of biker movies. And he also played various bad guys because of his sort-of sinister and cruel good looks along with his muscular physique. (He held some kind of record for being able to reverse curl his own body weight.)

Well, after watching him play dozens of monosyllabic idiots, I was surprised to learn that he actually speaks 8 or 9 languages fluently and has recently come out with a book of poetry. He was a very athletic bad guy, but in his private life something of an intellectual with a lot of cerebral accomplishments to his credit.

If I recall correctly, Mr Prowse invented a set of dumbells for travelers- they could be filled with water to the desired weight for workouts, then emptied for ease of packing.

Well, after watching him play dozens of monosyllabic idiots, I was surprised to learn that he actually speaks 8 or 9 languages fluently and has recently come out with a book of poetry. He was a very athletic bad guy, but in his private life something of an intellectual with a lot of cerebral accomplishments to his credit.

Reminds me of an old sensei of mine- fluent in seven languages, taught eastern philosophy and Japanese as well as physical education and self-defense.  A friend of mine once asked me what that “big ugly meathead” was like, and I told him, “he’s smarter than you, and he’s actually fairly handsome in a ‘James Bond movie heavy’ sort of way.”  Some people can’t believe that an extremely large and strong person can also be intelligent- they just can’t accept that some people actually roll a bunch of 18’s, so to speak.

That certainly does clear up some things for me, like the sense that the guy Luke uncovered after their sword/saber fight sure seemed a lot smaller and pudgier than what that armor and cape suggested on the outside….

You learn something new every day, especially if you spend a lot of time loitering the streets of the Urban Dictionary:

Anakin
 
v. To retroactively ruin someone’s entire childhood.
Man, Lucas totally Anakined me with all that midichlorian nonsense.

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