Nick Maley recalls, “ Dave was an 18 year old trainee when he joined Stu Freeborn's creature effects crew on The Empire Strikes Back in 1978. His parents were puppeteers and I remember Dave's enthusiasm and eagerness to get involved with EVERYTHING we were constructing.

Like all trainees he started out doing odd jobs and generally helping anywhere needed... working on various parts as they were produced and seaming the foam latex skins to get rid of molding lines. Within a few weeks we gave him a few test projects which included modeling the ill fated Nogard that crops up from time to time in my stories about that period.

Much of the time Stuart (Freeborn) was working in his room a few yards away. That gave Graham (Freeborn) and I free reign in the workshop much of the time. It was a zany period with lots of joking around intermingled with long hours and strict deadlines.  I remember Dave fondly as a genuinely good natured guy, even when he took the brunt of our jokes occasionally... like the time Bob Keen and I nailed him to the workshop floor.

Nogard had showed that Dave's modeling skills were good enough that when it was decided that Yoda's upper lip was too short, Stu gave Dave the job of modeling an extension which was added to the puppet.

When the first Yoda was complete, Wendy (Midner) left our crew and joined Frank on set. She was maintaining the puppet and doubled as the third puppeteer. Unfortunately she turned out to be allergic to something on set and since, as a child, Dave built and performed marionettes, glove and rod puppets with his parents and other puppet companies, he stepped in to replace her.

Screen Credits...

In those days it was normal for trainees to be left off the movie credits and it was extremely unfair that Dave didn't get a screen credit even though HE OPERATED YODA'S EYES. And when Frank (Oz) had to leave to shoot Sesame Street in the USA, It was Dave that he nominated as his understudy to complete shooting.  Read more about why the credits were so confusing.”

After Star Wars...

Dave quickly moved on to join Jim and Frank at the Henson Organization and as a result we never worked together again. His Movie credits include The Dark Crystal, Return of the Jedi (Jabba), Labyrinth, Little Shop of Horrors, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Lost in Space, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Cats & Dogs, Snow Dogs, Stuart Little 2 and Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins (2009)

Check out his website

David Barclay

This website is sponsored by the Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit & movie insider recollections and museum.  At the time of publishing, (2010), Google and Bing searches reveal that there is no other page detailing information about Yoda designers, Yoda technicians and Yoda puppeteers. So if the info appears on any future sites it was clearly copied from here. DO NOT COPY ANY PART OF THIS WEBSITE WITHOUT PERMISSION, PLUS A LINK TO THIS SITE & A TEXT CREDIT.
Ralph’s official website
The World of Froud
Wendy & Brian’s website 
the Yoda Puppeteer’s website
Alien Makers. Dennis Lowe’s exceptional information about the special effects on Ridley Scott’s ALIEN.

Nick’s movie memoirs, Star Wars, Superman, Highlander and more
Questions & Answers   
Nick replies to fan’s questions
YodaGuyMovieExhibit movie museum & art gallery. biography info. easy to remember internet hub
Made on a Mac

*NOTE: THIS SITE IS IN NOT CONNECTED TO LUCASFILM OR GEORGE LUCAS who own all rights to Yoda and the creatures from Star Wars. The use of the string "yoda" in our domain name and the presentation of images from the saga are courtesy of their generosity in allowing us to do so. Our use of the name YodaGuy is NOT intended to imply that Nick was the only "guy" who worked to produce Yoda. Several people were involved in making four versions of Yoda for ESB and more again for versions in ROTJ, PTM and AOTC. (Read making Yoda for more info). "YodaGuy" is intended to imply ONLY that Nick Maley is a guy who was involved. Yoda and all creatures for the classic Star Wars trilogy were masterminded by Stuart Freeborn who Nick worked with periodically over a 7 year period. The initial drawing: Ralph McQuarrie. Other people involved include Wendy Midner, Graham Freeborn, Ron Hone, Bob Keen and Nick Dudman.

all ART images are © copyright Nick Maley ~ text © copyright Yoda Guy Movie Museum Foundation. All Rights Reserved. | HOME | CONTACT


The info on this page is accurate to the best of my recollection. If you have FIRST HAND experience of these events and have any additions or corrections please email them with details of your connection to Yoda.