Signature Study Series #4 - Kenny Baker
I never imagined that I would be writing a piece on the autograph of Kenny Baker, but in the last 2 weeks, people have sent me multiple images to look at, and much to my dismay, each and every one of them was a fake. Kenny was in the right place at the right time, naturally he became a hero. Yeah, I know… it is a play on the line that started it all, but it’s true. He was the one guy who could fit inside the most well recognized tin can in the universe. Kenny being the stand up guy he was, refused the job, knowing that months away from his business, (pantomime/vaudeville) during the busiest season, would certainly be a crushing financial situation for his partner.
George and Gary, along with the people in the casting department promised him, that would not be the case. They guaranteed that there would be work for his Mini-Tones partner Jack, for the duration of the film. So R2-D2 was manned and the rest is history.
By the early 90’s Kenny found himself in the panto business without his partner. Jack had suffered a broken neck in an auto accident, that left him unable to move or perform. Kenny carried on, attempting to find work and even trying to replace his partner, but things didn’t work out as he planned. Within a few years the Men Behind The Masks Tour launched, and Kenny found himself travelling the world and meeting fans. Kenny did so many signings from the middle 90’s right through the remainder of his life, that it became a whole new profession and a new chapter in his life. Kenny made his way back to Star Wars shooting a few scenes for the Prequel films, and he even wrote a book, but signing his name and meeting his fans had become the main focus in the last act of Mr. Baker’s story.
There are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Kenny’s signatures out there. The idea that someone is out there forging his signature baffles my mind, but it is happening.