Youngsters Chris and Kevin Baker, of Melbourne Road, Bushey, had a very special reason for going to see Star Wars at Watford’s Odeon on Monday.

For their dad is one of the stars of this money-spinning movie.

Not that audiences see very much of Kenny Baker’s real self. The 3ft 8in entertainer is hidden inside the shell of a robot called Artoo-Detoo (R2-D2).

“But the children knew all about it and every time R2-D2 appeared they knew which was their daddy and which was the mechanical robot,” explained Mrs Eileen Baker.

Chris, six, and three-year-old Kevin had not seen the film before although Kenny and Eileen saw it at a preview in London before Christmas.

“The children enjoyed the film very much,” said Mrs Baker.

Kenny spent six months filming Star Wars in Tunisia and at EMI’s Elstree Studios. On Sunday, he is off to America to play R2-D2 again in a beer commercial.

Star Wars fever began early in Watford on Sunday. The queue for the movie, which is already the biggest-grossing film in the history of motion pictures, began outside the Odeon cinema long before lunch.

When manager Tom Phillips arrived at 10.30 on Sunday morning there were already eight youngsters queueing up to make sure of a seat – over three hours before the cinema was due to open.

The Odeon is one of only a handful of selected provincial cinemas currently screening Star Wars, which opened to record business in London over Christmas.

[From the Watford Observer of February 10, 1978]

ONLINE TOMORROW: Garston rail station opens in 1966

This picture story formed part of the Nostalgia column first published in the Watford Observer on February 28, 2014. The latest Nostalgia column can be found in this week’s Watford Observer (dated March 7, 2014 and available in newsagents now, priced 90p) or read online here from 4pm on Thursday.

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