A “Star Wars” Producer Gives Archives to Ransom Center

The Harry Ransom Center’s collections just got a little bit more out of this world.

Thomas Smith, the visual effects producer for Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, has donated his archive to the major humanities research center.

Smith served as the first head of George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic Company, which was responsible for the effects seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Honey I Shrunk the Kids. He’s also put his knack for visuals to work designing attractions for Disney theme parks.

Smith’s collection contains 22 boxes of materials he collected during his time with Lucasfilm. It includes everything from special effect storyboards to movie scripts.

A few highlights: storyboards from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, a Dick Tracy script with notes by Warren Beatty, and sequential storyboards from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

“While the average filmgoer is aware of the actors and some of the crew behind the camera, hundreds of craftsmen and artists put their work into the planning and producing of every large film,” Smith said in a press release. “Most of the work is either never seen by the audience or remains in the background. Fortunately I saved some of my documents, and that is what makes up the collection I have donated to the Harry Ransom Center.”

The collection will be available to be seen at the Ransom Center as soon as it is processed and cataloged.

Book cover image courtesy the Harry Ransom Center.


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