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RIP Dave Prowse MBE

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  • RIP Dave Prowse MBE


    Dave Prowse MBE, the weightlifter-turned-actor, famous for playing Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, and also to multiple generations of children, the Green Cross Code Man (remembered so well by the compliers of the Charley Live videos in the late 1990s) has died at the age of 85 - he came from Bristol in which his West Country accent sometimes did not fit in with his occupation, but he was an actor, and so accents shouldn't have been a problem for him in the first place. In later years, he announced his support for UKIP and declared his desire to leave the European Union at the 2016 Referendum, but turning the clock back 40 years before that, he was seen as one of the actors who could have been in the same ilk as Christopher Reeve and Lynda Carter when it came to playing superheroes.

    Most famously, Darth Vader ("may the force be be with you") was his big claim to fame, but he also appeared in the Children's ITV ad breaks and also on post-Tiswas Saturday morning television in his green and white Lycra, not riding a bike or cross-country running, but teaching local youngsters to cross the road, telling the public to "first find a safe place to cross, and then stop", hopefully saving lives in the process, and sometimes bringing his robot mascot with him. (I believe that Alison Bettles, later Fay Lucas in Grange Hill appeared in one of the Public Information Films, or something rather similar). Rumour had it that his voice was dubbed in some versions because his Bristol accent didn't quite cut the mustard for the sound people. Of course, he never targeted motorways for obvious reasons, and Prowse himself vouched that "he won't be there when you cross the road", which was quite true, although one tended to use pelican or zebra crossings on main roads. However, he was there in the same time as I was - i.e. in the same room together.

    Thursday 5th November 1987 was famous for myself for three different reasons: A) It was Guy Fawkes Night that year, and I was still scared of fireworks going off (perhaps Prowse could have done something about that as well?); B) We all woke up to the news (and I had found out the news myself from Gordon Honeycombe on TV-am as I was getting ready for school) that This is Your Life presenter Eamonn Andrews had died during the night, just hours after he gave the Big Red Book to Jimmy Cricket on the show; and: C) During that morning, Dave Prowse MBE himself visited my Junior School (as well as two other Primary Schools in Nottingham that day - he did make a habit to visiting schools back in the 1970s and 1980s in sub-Royal Institution ways) in order to give a talk about Road Safety and not getting run over and being killed in the process just like it did just before Christmas in 1990. In those days, we relied on the lollipop lady with her portable "Stop - Children" sign to get us safely across the main road en-route back home again, just like she did 400 times a year in 1987.

    I didn't meet the man personally myself on that day as such as there was over 150 youngsters in the school hall that morning, but we were in the same room together that morning. Prowse, in his trademark green and white costume, was photographed by the Nottingham Evening Post appearing in the school playground, surrounded by school pupils (they had school no uniform in those days), and the picture of my school playground appeared in the Friday (next day's) edition of the newspaper, with which I rediscovered on the microfilm edition of the newspaper when I visited the Nottingham Central Library in the late 1990s and took a copy for my scrapbook.

    I believe that my sister met Prowse when she attended a Central TV event at Lenton Lane in the mid 1980s - as well as getting a lot of Central programme publicity items (including a "Tommy Boyd and Isla St Clair" Saturday Show sticker and a colourful sweet that looked like the Central TV logo) and some autographed pictures of the Green Cross Code Man himself - he was indeed seen in the pictures as the character, and I believe that he was at Central in order to take part in some sort of programme that they were actually making at the time. At a time when superheroes were prominent on cinema screens and were the talk of the school playground afterwards, Prowse's Vader were popular by all who grew up, and I think that in hindsight, this will be his legacy and what he will be remembered for.

    We now know that he won't be there when we cross the road now, but the force will be with him always. What a great childhood hero from the 1970s and 1980s - we salute you!
    Last edited by George 1978; 01-12-2020, 18:54.
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  • #2
    R I P Darth vader
    Ejector seat?...your jokin!

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    • #3
      Local legend around here.. lovely bloke. was at school with two of his sons
      RIP Dave

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      • #4
        Sad news.

        I figure I first saw him in an early Tomorrow People episode, and in Doctor Who. It's interesting he was best known as Darth Vader when you didn't really see him, nor hear his voice. He does seem to have been a good person in contrast to the baddies he's played, that's so often the way I think (Roger Delgado for instance).
        My virtual jigsaws: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/beccabear67/Original-photo-puzzles

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        • #5
          Yes it's often true of actors playing villains who are a not nicer in real life.
          The Trickster On The Roof

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          • #6
            Very sad news indeed this is.
            R i p dave.

            So they did not use his real voice in star wars which really they should have.
            FOR THE HONOUR OF GRAYSKULL

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            • #7
              Originally posted by darren View Post
              Very sad news indeed this is.
              R i p dave.

              So they did not use his real voice in star wars which really they should have.
              Apparently George Lucas didn't think it was intimating enough.
              The Trickster On The Roof

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