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Gunman takes 'Jedi' print OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (UPI)

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in70mm.com
The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Burlington Hawk-Eye (Burlington, Iowa), July 6, 1983, p.6:Date: 04.04.2010
"Return of the Jedi" playing at San Francisco's Coronet theatre. Image from a Japanese program booklet supplied by Mike Coate

— A gunman with the scruples of a Darth Vader held a movie projectionist captive for two hours and stole a copy of the film "Return of the Jedi," apparently so he could make illegal copies of it.

Projectionist John J. Smith told authorities he was leaving the Glenwood Theater shortly after midnight when the gunman confronted him in the parking lot.

The gunman directed Smith inside the theater and told the projectionist to rewind the film on seven transport reels. After the hourlong task was completed. Smith was told to help carry the reels to the parking lot. He was then ordered back into the theater and told not to call anyone for 20 minutes.

Theater officials obtained another copy of the film and no performances were missed.

Police said they believed the 70mm movie, valued at $12,000. was stolen to make illegal copies for sale but Frank McGowan, a branch manager for 20th Century Fox, said it was difficult to make a quality copy from a 70mm print.

"The only way you can copy it is by screening it and take it directly off the screen by videotape." said McGowan.

"Return of the Jedi" is the third movie in the "Star Wars" series dreamed up by George Lucas. It has grossed nearly S150 million since its opening last month.
 
More in 70mm reading:

Remembering "Return of the Jedi"

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Updated 30-06-22