When Star Wars first opened in theaters in 1977 noone could have guessed just how much it would affect and change the movie industry forever.
Quickly becoming a household name, everyone in the industry rushed to get a piece of the phenomena through interviews, promotions, guest appearances, merchandise and more. Not all of it was great but it would give us over 4 decades of interesting and bizarre examples of just how much Star Wars influenced pop culture.
There were too many examples to choose from and I am sure I missed many that should have been on this list but – here are some of my favorites.
When Mark Hamill appeared on a German Variety TV Show 1980
Variety shows were once a huge fad that entertained families around the world. But when this video surfaced online recently, many fans were stunned and amazed. Noone was more amazed than Mark Hamill. He recounted the experience in a Twitter post,
“I remember not wanting to wear a gold jumpsuit like a rejected member of ABBA or if I could memorize dialogue in a foreign language-but thought “Who cares? No one outside of Germany will ever see this!” Thanks to the internet-NOTHING EVER GOES AWAY. Who knew?”
When Darth Vader met “Wolfman Jack”
Before the days of Howard Stern, there was another “Disc Jockey” that became so famous that he got his own show away from the DJ Booth and into the livingrooms of millions of people. This man was “Wolfman Jack” and his television variety show was called, “The Wolfman Jack Show”. Star Wars was blowing up at the box office and became an instant classic, so of course, you would find a Star Wars character on a variety show in a silly skit somewhere! That is where we find Darth Vader.
When Star Wars was a French Disco Ballet on a 1970’s Variety Show
I know…another variety show. We can look at this and cringe but at the time, I am sure it was fun and edgy. No need to understand what is going on. Just watch at the glory of Star Wars being danced to by people wearing cheap costume shop outfits. For me, this was as hard to watch as the Holiday Special!
When Carrie Fisher tried to “kill” the Blues Brothers
The Blues Brothers starred Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, followed the adventure of two brothers on a “mission from God”. The movie was filled with musical giants, comedians and other “crazy characters”. One such crazy character was the ex-girlfriend of Belushi’s character played by Carrie Fisher. Throughout the movie, Fisher attacks”Jake” [Belushi] with everything from a machine gun to a bazooka! This was a very different side of Fisher that we weren’t familiar with and it was great fun!
When Star Wars Was Used to Sell Bizarre Products
The marketing of a product is one of the most important tasks for any company. What better way to get noticed than using Star Wars in your promotions. In this Japanese commercial, the company is using our heroes from a galaxy far, far away to promote their brand of…FISH! We can all agree that this is a weird but even today, you can see images of Star Wars characters on salads, fruits and other produce!
When Harrison Ford Appeared in His First Movie Role
Harrison Ford is among the most famous and accomplished actors in Hollywood. As an actor in several all time great films, he has amassed a huge following of fans and awards. Of course, great actors need to start somewhere. For Harrison Ford, it was a hotel messenger in the film, Dead Heat. Even in this small role, Ford steals the scene with his his facial expressions that speaks more to the audience at what is going on in a fun way that no words could say.
When Billy Dee Williams Was the Spokesperson for Colt 45
One way that many celebrities use to supplement their incomes between movies, are commercials. Some actors even secure whole product campaigns. In the 1980’s, Billy Dee Williams did just that as he became the spokesperson for Colt 45. I know many people will and have made jokes about this but the promotion was a huge success for the company and at the same time giving us the opportunity to see more of that “Lando-esque” charm. Maybe not appropriate for that young Star Wars fan, but still fun!
When David Prowse was “Green Cross Code Man” For a Safety Commercial
I’ll say this first – Prowse looks like a Power Ranger in this commercial! Many celebrities contribute their time and more to charities and other promotions like this that help to bring awareness to many causes. This commercial promotes safety and who can hate that! Prowse may be better known for his role of Darth Vader but at least in this commercial, he had more of a role and in a less controversial way than that of his part in the film “A Clockwork Orange” – All I can say is… David Prowse in “short shorts”!
Which one was YOUR favorite? Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments.