EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
The Muppet Show
EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI
This stunt blaster was mostly used in Han or Luke's holster in The Empire Strikes Back (and later again in ROTJ), but it made a special appearance on The Muppet Show in 1980 when Mark Hamill guest starred (the show was shot in '79). The gun's unusual modifications, which deviated from the standard ESB models, led to the design of the DL-44 beauty prop used in Return of the Jedi.
Closeup of the prop on The Muppet Show
Screen capture: Jay Pennington - Treadwell_Jay@bigfoot.com
The prop is based on a resin casting of the original DL-44 design seen in A New Hope. It may be a stunt blaster from ANH adapted for use in ESB. One detail supporting this theory is that the two main points where the scope bracket attach are exactly where the ANH mount would have attached.
Like other castings of the ANH style blaster (the Merr-Sonn model blasters) it lacks the front grill detail and the holes in the muzzle's cone were filled in.
The scope is cast from either a M19 or M32 brass azimuth telescope used by the military in many applications including tank periscopes. These were made in 1942 by Minneapolis Honeywell Regulator Co. (M.H.R.). We believe the M19 is the more likely scope used and it was attached to the mount with the original hex head bolts.
M19 Telescope, 1942 M.H.R. Co. with bolts
The scope mount is a modified casting of the mount used on the other ESB DL-44 versions. It was recut and the parts rearranged to make the unusual shape. Two real (not cast) phillips head screws help secure the two mount parts in place at a cut seam located under the rear bolt of the scope. It's assumed that the bracket was reshaped to fit the existing mounting holes left by the previous ANH style bracket.
The square detail added inbetween the scope mount is possibly a 3/4" black rubber foot.
Beneath the scope mount is a Revell piston half from a V8 model engine. Two more piston halves were riveted onto the other side of the gun. These two were attached one atop the other, sideways like the ROTJ beauty prop. When Luke's DL-44 beauty prop was first constructed for ESB, it likely had the piston halves arranged this way also although they were removed prior to filming.
Piston Half from Revell Visible V-8 Engine
Piston halves on the side of the prop not seen in the photo at top
The Muppet Show - Screen capture: Jay Pennington