It’s hard to believe that a major part of film and pop culture history wound up in the Missouri Ozarks!
My connection with the Death Star started in 1988, the summer after my high school graduation. I was working for a local TV station as a cameraman on an ongoing TV series about the Lake of the Ozarks, a popular Missouri tourist area and the place that I’ve called home most of my life.
We were working on a feature about antique stores in the area and we ended up visiting the Mexican Hillbilly. Outside of the store were scads of statuary, old pottery, some giant oranges (used in commercials) and a big gray ball that oddly enough looked like the Death Star. I had a hard time concentrating on my work that day and as a Star Wars fan, I was giddy with excitement.
The story they told me was that they owned a warehouse in California and the film makers stored the Death Star there. When they decided to close the warehouse and move to Missouri, they repeatedly contacted the film makers asking them to pick it up or it would be discarded. When the time came for the move, they told the movers to trash the Death Star. Luckily, the movers didn’t listen and the Death Star was moved along with everything else to the Missouri Ozarks. Also, they told me they’d never seen Star Wars.
It’s an incredible tale that takes three posts to read, and you can find them here:
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If you ever doubted how personal the medium of TV is, you may want to look at what happened to Meredith Vieira not long after the shooting tragedy at Virginia Tech. Here’s what she wrote in her blog:
Matt and I had arrived in Blacksburg, Virginia Monday evening. I was so consumed with trying to get the facts straight and prepare for Tuesday morning’s show that I don’t think I realized I was in a state of shock like everyone else.
But as Tuesday wore on, the magnitude of this tragedy began to take over. That evening, I walked over to the vigil. The students had erected ‘writing boards’ on the field, and people were asked to leave a message—whatever was in their heart. I noticed one student standing there, with the marker frozen in her hand. She told me she was at a loss for words, and didn’t want to write the ‘wrong’ thing. I told her I didn’t believe there was a wrong thing to say, that any words would probably be appreciated. Finally, she knelt down and wrote “We will miss you.” Before long the board was covered with messages: “Hokies Forever,” “We will survive,” “I’ll never forget you.”
I was staring at the boards for so long I didn’t realize how many people had gathered for the vigil, but when I looked up, there were literally thousands of faces and candles. And as I was standing among them, one of the co-eds handed me a candle, and then she asked if I would give her a hug. As I put my arms around her, she broke down. That scene was repeated several times with other students—each time they would come up to me, needing to be held.
I finally figured out why they may have sought me out: these were kids who were away from home, most of their parents weren’t there, they knew me from television and they needed an adult, someone safe to tell them it would be okay. That’s when I broke down, because I realized they are my kids, they’re everybody’s kids. And they are deeply saddened. And they are scared.
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ON YOUTUBE: YOU ARE LOVED. Just the song I need right now. Probably just the song you need right now. Josh Groban sings a beautiful song. Even if you’ve heard it on the radio a thousand times, you may enjoy actually seeing the video. You can find it in the favorites section on my YouTube page in the links.