Small towns sometimes have legends, and sometimes those legends walk among us, quietly harboring stories that certain fandoms will eat up with a spoon, clamoring for more.

Worcester, NY is a small town in Otsego County just east of the City of Oneonta. It’s a quaint place reminiscent of the American agrarian culture of the past. Such idyllic environs attract all kinds with diverse backgrounds, and soon artist Pat Ives found herself with an inherited farmhouse on a hill and a community to discover.

I've had the distinct pleasure of befriending Pat over the past year, and her stories are legendary. From Star Wars to her time with her friend Paul, also known as Pee-Wee Herman, I am constantly blown away by how she was always in the right place at the right time.

Humble Beginnings in Hollywood

Ives has always been a creator. These days she creates and sells an array of handmade dolls at various local vendor events. From 1974 to 1979 she was a child of Hollywood, working on projects that needed the hand of a fine artist. Along the way she was recommended for a project billed simply as a space documentary. The project’s director was George Lucas, and this was no space documentary.

Star Wars via Facebook
Star Wars via Facebook

As an opaquer, Ives was responsible for coloration and saturation for some segments of the film. With Lucas directly over her shoulder each day and working in an office the size of a broom closet with a reel-to-reel and a magnifying glass, Ives put her touches on the film that we know and love today. Completing one short scene with X-Wings took 9 months of 14 hour days. Before the dawn of CGI, movie magic was made by hand by people like Pat Ives.

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The Big Reveal

When her contract was finished, Ives moved on to other opportunities in the city, still believing that she had worked on a quirky space documentary. That was until she received an invitation to the cast and crew premiere of Star Wars at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. She still has the invite, complete with Flash Gordon like artwork that predates the Star Wars iconography we all know today.

History All Day via Facebook
History All Day via Facebook

Recently, Ives has been sharing her stories with eager audiences at fandom events around Otsego county. She never thought that anyone would be interested in hearing her stories, but a packed house at the Worcester Wieting Theatre’s May the 4th Be With You event last year tells a different story. She will be returning for the 2024 May 4th event at the Wieting to go even more in depth.

Who Shot First??

When prodded, she refuses to say who shot first in the cantina scene, Han or Greedo. She prefers to leave it up to interpretation. That’s about an official of a comment as we’ll get on the matter!

You never know, that nice lady that you say hello to while grabbing a dozen eggs at your corner store in small town New York might just be someone who worked on one of the most influential and beloved films of all time.

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Gallery Credit: Will Phillips

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