The Damn Dirty Geeks finally wrap up our pre-THE FORCE AWAKENS conversation about all things STAR WARS before J.J. Abrams’ film opens in theaters on December 18th!
Frank Woodward joins Jack, Scott and Frank D after Part 1 and Part 2 of our STAR WARS debates and discussion as we count down the final seven days until we see the highly anticipated Episode 7 story unfold.
Our Star Wars Pre-New Movie Edition
First we catch up Woodward from where the other three Geeks left off in Part 2, getting his input on the Star Wars Holiday Special, where the Prequel Trilogy films went wrong in laying a shaky foundation for the superior Original Trilogy films, and adding our superb Chewbacca impersonations.
We also explore the dark times in STAR WARS history after RETURN OF THE JEDI left theaters in 1983, including the Ewok TV adventures, and multiple home video and soundtrack editions with no new theatrical films. Finally the long wait ended with the release of the Special Editions of the Original Trilogy, which we propose were largely test runs for Lucas to make THE PHANTOM MENACE for the Digital Cinema age.
We wrap up the show with our hopes and predictions of what might happen in THE FORCE AWAKENS. Who will survive? Where is Luke? And does Chewie drink pina coladas? More importantly, where will this new generation of STAR WARS characters lead us in that beloved galaxy far, far away?
We hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we had a blast recording it — a show loaded with amenities at no extra charge to you, the listener. May the Force be with you as you see THE FORCE AWAKENS in theaters, and the Damn Dirty Geeks look forward to joining you again in 2016 with new shows and more post-TFA STAR WARS discussion.
Trivia: The Star Wars Comic Strip mentioned in this podcast was published in newspapers from 1979 to 1984, and was distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and the Watertown Daily Times. The strip first featured writing and art by Russ Manning until poor health forced him to retire from the strip. Archie Goodwin took over the series with Planet of Kadril, which he wrote under the name Russ Helm. Goodwin was then credited in his follow up story, an adaptation of the novel Han Solo at Stars’ End. Artist Al Williamson joined Goodwin for the next story, The Bounty Hunter of Ord Mantell, and their partnership continued until the final strip, published in 1984. [Wookieepedia]. View a panel from The Bounty Hunter of Ord Mantell here.
Trivia: the Star Wars Holiday Special aired once in its entirety on CBS November 17, 1978 as well as on Canadian television network CTV on the same date. Starring Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker reprising their STAR WARS roles, the story follows Han Solo and Chewbacca returning to the Wookiee’s home planet Kashyyyk to celebrate Life Day. Viewers met Chewie’s family: his father Itchy, his wife Malla, and his son Lumpy. Indeed, this special boasted a mind-boggling cast of guest star appearances by Bea Arthur, Art Carney and Harvey Korman. Understandably, George Lucas was highly disappointed with the show, which was developed with little input by Lucasfilm. The STAR WARS creator supposedly remarked, “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.” The only notable impact this TV special made in franchise history was its animated introduction of notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett, before the character appeared in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK in 1980. Watch the special to appreciate the firepower of its full awfulness.
Trivia: Hardware Wars was a fan film parody of STAR WARS written and directed by Ernie Fosselius in October 1978. This 13-minute send up remade the hit film as a trailer with its own wild comic sensibility, substituting ILM’s expensive spaceship effects with ordinary kitchen appliances dangling from strings zipping past the stars. Fosselius somehow managed to get veteran voice actor Paul Frees to provide the trailer narration for this zany satire with the tag line “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll kiss three bucks goodbye.” Back then a ticket to see STAR WARS cost three dollars, kids. Starting the immense tide of STAR WARS fan films in motion, Hardware Wars has survived its modest beginnings.
Trivia: speaking of STAR WARS parodies, MAD Magazine also began a decades-long tradition of satirizing the STAR WARS films in its pages, thanks to the talents of MAD’s “usual gang of idiots” including Dick DeBartolo, Mort Drucker, Don Martin, and Sergio Aragonés. Full movie parodies, musicals and marginal cartoons lampooned characters like Lord Zader, Princess Laidup and Lube Skystalker. Jonathan Bresman compiled thirty years’ worth of MAD’s parodies in the book MAD About Star Wars with a forward by none other than George Lucas himself.
Trivia: since we discussed the box office gross comparisons between STAR WARS and EMPIRE, here are the relative worldwide box office sales totals of the Original Trilogy films, as compiled by BoxOfficeMojo.com: STAR WARS has earned roughly $775 million, EMPIRE $538 million, and JEDI $475 million. The disparity of EMPIRE’s box office sales to STAR WARS in domestic totals is even greater: STAR WARS $461 million, EMPIRE $290 million and JEDI $309 million.
Trivia: after RETURN OF THE JEDI left theaters in 1983, STAR WARS fans made do with two Ewok-based movies to fill their fandom needs — THE EWOK ADVENTURE: Caravan of Courage released in November 1984, followed by the TV movie EWOKS: THE BATTLE FOR ENDOR which aired in November 1985 on ABC, and the EWOKS animated series which ran on the network 1985-1987.