Bill McBride first saw Star Wars when he was 6 years old, back in 1977, and even then, he knew exactly who his favorite character was: Darth Vader.
“I was immediately enamored with the character when he came out on screen,” says McBride. “I think as a kid, especially when you’re 6, he just looked cool, he sounded cool. The suit, the voice, the way he carried himself, the mystery of the character.”
Today, McBride lives in Washington, D.C., and works as a rocket scientist (really), but he’s best known for his Darth Vader collection, the largest in the world, with 63,000 different items.
His collection includes movie props…
Original storyboards from the films…
And unusual items, like a Darth Vader condom.
McBride still has the figures he got when he was a kid, and he says those figures led him to being the collector that he is today.
“When Johnny and Bobby and little Billy got together to go play Star Wars, and we all had our toys, I always left my Vader at home, because I didn’t want to wreck him,” says McBride. “That was probably the first inklings of being a collector when I was a little guy.”
Today, McBride has over 100 different Darth Vader action figures, and he says that while the figures themselves may be similar or even identical, the packaging for each is different.
McBride says the most he has ever spent was in the five-figure range. As for how much he’s spent over the years?
“Probably the general answer is too much,” he says.
McBride acknowledges being obsessed, but says he thinks that comes with being serious about what you do.
“I think to be successful in anything you do, there is absolutely a level of deliberation and obsessiveness,” he says. “You will never succeed in anything you do if you’re not obsessive about what you do.”
McBride says he’ll quit collecting if he ever stops enjoying it. “Really, at the end of the day,” he says, “it’s whether or not you have fun.”
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