‘Return of the Jedi’ at 40: What it was like seeing Darth Vader’s death

My recollection of seeing “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” the day it premiered is dominated by one peculiar memory. It’s etched indelibly into my teen brain as the time when my good buddy Mike Sawyer rudely (but hilariously) blurted out “Tighter, Gomez!” just as Luke removes Darth Vader’s helmet and the Sith’s bald, egg-shaped head is revealed to look exactly like “The Addams Family’s” smooth-skulled crackpot, Uncle Fester, as played by the late great Jackie Coogan. 

Fans of that classic ’60s TV show will recall that Fester loved to stick his head in a vice while Gomez Addams screwed it down to relieve his headaches. Needless to say, that intense screen moment when Vader was exposed was shattered for not only myself, but the rest of the snickering audience too, and 40 years later it remains an indelible part of my “Star Wars” past.

Originally published at www.space.com

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