(LOS ANGELES) — Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan, you’d probably recognize Darth Vader or one of his white armored Stormtroopers. But what about Pink Shorts Boom Guy? He’s not an onscreen Star Wars character, but he was a part of George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away…and Star Wars cosplayers have taken notice.
The costume’s inspiration actually comes from a forgotten 1976 behind-the-scenes photo of the Star Wars crew filming in the scorching Tunisian desert. The picture re-emerged on Reddit in 2015.
In the photo, you can see boom microphone operator, dressed in socks, boots, and tight pink short-shorts — because it was the ’70s. He’s holding a pole with the microphone attached above actors Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Alec Guinness as Obi Wan Kenobi.
The photo has inspired fans like Steve Copeland from Riverside, California to appear at fan conventions and events dressed like Pink Shorts Boom Guy.
“Finding an obscure character like that and having fun with it is absolutely the biggest thrill for us,” Copeland said.
Copeland, a member of the 501st Legion fan costuming group, once invested about $5,000 to build a highly detailed, screen-accurate Darth Vader. But his Pink Shorts Boom Guy outfit — with clothing purchased from Amazon and a pole from Home Depot — cost him less than $60.
While Pink Shorts Boom Guy’s name doesn’t appear in the credits, he’s been identified: His name is Ken Nightingall. Now 90, he lives in London and says the costume tributes are “very nice.”
Nightingall was one of about 100 British crewmembers who trekked to North Africa to film the scenes for Star Wars. As for those pink shorts, Nightingall explains, “It was very, very hot.”
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