The Black Hole…..Disney’s “Star Wars” Android Mask

A film from my Childhood…1979….no matter what people say today the late 70’s and early 80’s were the great years for childrens fantasy/adventure movies. There really isn’t a comparison with some of the tiresome dirge released in the plex’s today.

Items from Disney have always been rare. They kept it all. Well not quite true…they did destroy alot of it too according to eye witness’s at the studio. Ive seen very little from this particular movie over the years. In fact one collector I know seems to own most of it, having amassed the entire Palomino crew. A few of the robots are in “Planet Hollywood” all over the world, including Paris. Here is a link for the curious with those good people at the Replica Prop Forum :

http://www.therpf.com/f9/black-hole-v-i-n-cent-maximillian-display-disney-expo-70145/

However this article is about a fairly rare item in my collection and in fact the only other one sold at Profiles a few years ago for about 8k with a prototype head and a rather uninspiring overcap. This is one of the Android masks from the film…number #12 in fact.

The Androids were seen all over the ship controlling the day to day running as Cygnus sat in orbit of the black hole. Like the sentry robots and Maximilian they were an integral part of the film and widely used in advertising. They were portrayed by actors, and at first appeared to be robots, only later in the film does the sinister truth appear.

Provenance was kind of hard on this piece. Its the new buzz word in the hobby they last few years. To me its more useful before pulling the trigger and purchasing sight unseen. The piece should speak for itself in person. In this case the lack of provenance was a problem as I had very little to go on having never seen one in person before. The seller confirmed that he had owned this for some 20 years and that his family had been given it by a relative to go “Trick or Treating” in before being consigned to the loft. The materials seemed consistent and so did construction from what I could see. The seller also seemed sincere, so it was with a slight gamble I purchased the item. Thankfully the piece spoke for itself on arrival. The seller kindly also wrote a detailed letter and signed it…another welcome sign.

Back Image

The cloth is attatched to the mask via stitching around the top 180 degrees of the plastic. The lower half is attached via velcro on the mask, and cloth. A small popper on the middle section keeps the two pieces together underneath.

3/4 view

The mask itself is chromed see thru plastic with drilled holes. Pretty simple….fairly expensive for the time. Its a bit scratched and nicked but in very clean condition considering the age. The chroming allows complete vision out of the helmet. It also means that replicating this piece would be substantially more  expensive than the asking price. That in this case was fairly solidly in the camp of the item being original and made for the production.

Front view

Finally inside at the top neck the piece was marked #12. Fairly important, as I expected some kind of studio marking…even if as simple as knowing which extra or actor wore it.

Its a beautiful piece. One of the defining “shock” moments for a number of kids when the androids mask is pulled off by Anthony Perkins only to reveal the “lobotomised” crew member of the Cygnus underneath. Confronting ones youthful scares can be fun…knowing you have an original wardrobe piece….awesome!

"The Black Hole" Cygnus control room

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