Guardians of The Galaxy - Star Lord's Walkman

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Mr. K

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hello everyone,

Long story short: I saw GOTG a couple times in theaters, became an instant fan, loved the soundtrack, had to have a replica of the main prop used in the movie: Star Lord's portable tape player.

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After a couple minutes on the internet the screen-used prop was easily identified: a blue and silver early 80's Sony Walkman.

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There are several versions of this device and the one used in the movie is the hardest to find, because... well obviously.

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It's a 1979 Sony Walkman model "TPS-L2" finished in blue & silver with "Sony" written on top of the door, "Walkman" on the bottom and there's also an arrow on the side.

This particular model was already quite rare when the movie came out, but now with all the hype it's even worse. Close enough versions (like the one in the middle) can be found for a little less but the screen accurate "TPS-L2" device commands hefty prices ranging from $300 to $700 depending on condition (and willingness of the buyer). From what i've seen it's also very popular among collectors (not necessarily because of the movie).

So after spending some time on ebay I came to the conclusion that, even with patience, it's impossible to find one for less than $250 (shipping included) and they usually don't work (which isn't a big deal) and appear to be in average to poor condition.
They regularly pop-up but immediately have 10-15 bidders and many completed listings show very high prices ($300, $350, $400, $500, $600...).

So even though I loved the movie and really wanted a replica of this prop, I just couldn't bring myself to spend over $300 on one of these. Not to mention I would want it in mint condition, because wouldn't we all? And that's just too damn expensive.

Fast forward (pun not intended) a few weeks, I was having tea with my mother and ranting about the whole thing, and about how things like that made me wish I could travel back in time and buy whole cases of (Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Bandai Power Morpher...).

She said the 80's where the good times (I should know, I was born then), and that she had fond memories of a trip to L.A. to visit her brother (we live in France). She also said that cassette players were really popular back then and that she used to listen to hers all the time.

Now, I lost my father to cancer in october 2013 (he was 63) and we've recently started emptying and clearing the attic, something he was always talking about doing (among a million other things).

Then my mother said "there are dozens of boxes in there, but i'm pretty sure i've seen my old tape player somewhere while we were sorting things".

I vividly remembered playing with a black and green Aiwa tape deck when I was a kid.

"No, no" she said "The first one I bought in Los Angeles when we visited your uncle. Your father must have put it away somewhere."

So I went upstairs and slowly started searching through all the boxes. Lots and lots of boxes. With lots and lots of old cr... ahem... things. My dad never threw away a single piece of electronics, no matter how obsolete it was. First thing I found was a huge and super heavy Sony Discman, then a cordless phone as big as a carton of milk. Then I glimpsed at a dark blue vinyl pouch. You know where this is going:

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I literally could not believe my eyes. There it was. A blue and silver TPS-L2 Walkman, safely stored in its travel case. The most amazing thing was its condition: Not even a speck of dust. Here are close-up pictures:

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Truly spectacular looking. It was really surprising to see how well made, sturdy and heavy it is. All metal, very few (if any) plastic parts.
Unfortunately even with fresh batteries it wouldn't play tapes (the rubber belts must have dried out and cracked) but it does power up so I think it should be possible to replace the belts and restore it.

So there it is. When I first saw Guardians of The Galaxy in theaters the opening scene brought tears to my eyes for obvious reasons, and as silly as it may be, finding this tape player made me feel like a kid on christmas morning.

My mother told me it was a present from my dad, which makes it even more special. And I just can't stop thinking about him because even though he was taken from us a year ago, my father still manages to make us smile with the little things he left behind.

Happy new year everyone.
 
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CB2001

Master Member
Excellent story, Mr. K. I'm sorry about your loss, but I am glad you found something from him to still have. :)
 

Mr. K

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks for your input! I've found a 30 min video on Youtube showing how to do it, and it does look rather complicated. You basically have to take everything apart to get to the belts. Lots of tiny screws and thin wires.

With fresh batteries the red LED on top of the unit does light up, and when I crank the volume up to the max I can hear a pink noise from both headphones indicating that it works.

The only thing that has me worried is that when I press the "play" button, even though the belts probably are ruined, I don't hear anything going on inside (no motors turning or anything). Which would indicate something else is wrong with it.

Even then, as a static prop it looks killer on the shelf. I need to get a decent replica of the "Awesome Mix Vol. 1" tape and a pair of orange foam headphones.
 
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Iggy

Sr Member
The motor is small. There is only one so you may not hear it. If you take off the case you should see it turn.
 

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