“Hello sir, I am See-Threepio, plastic kitchen utensil relations.” Friction and unwanted sounds.
I came to realize that the 3PO suit will make a lot of weird sounds when wearing it. Fiberglass parts WILL scrub into eachother making more sound than the Stormtrooper armor will ever do. Joints around the knees, and the scrubbing between the thighs and the fiberglass shorts is going make some really silly sounds.
The sound of the fiberglass suit is not noticable in the movie because the on-set audio is replaced with a studio sound mix in post-production, in addition to this, sound effects of mechanical motors are added to Threepio in the movie which help to bring more life to the character. So, how DO actually Threepio sound like on the set? Now, thanks to the Donny Marie show from 1977/1978, we know…and the truth might be hard to accept, yes. IMO, Threepio sounds like a guy with a box of plastic kitchen utensils running around.
Here’s the clip. Please notice that the sound in the video switches from the on-set (raw) audio to the dubbed Anthony Daniel lines. So whenever Threepio’s not talking, that’s when they use the on-set recordings.
@1:48 The real walking sounds of Threepio.
@2:24 Eeeee, there you have it, you see what I meant with kitchen utensils?
Also please note that the clip features the original ANH Darth Vader costume (NOT the voice of James Earl Jones!), an original ANH R2-D2, an original Chewbacca costume (played by Peter Mayhew), (most likely Anthony Daniels) in an ANH Threepio AND four original Stormtrooper costumes (a combination of hero and stunt helmets). I bet those suits are still to be found in the LFL Archives.
To help reducing these unwanted sounds one should apply some kind of oil to the joints, this is what they did with the original suit to avoid too much friction between parts, as this will damage the VM’d golden chrome finish. It do also helps to pad certain parts of the suit which will experience a lot of friction. I guess I’ll find out when I get the last parts!