25
May
08

happy birthday star wars – updated!

[NOTE: This post has been updated with new goodies – check back as I will continue to update with more material as it comes in]

Today (May 25th) is the 31st anniversary of Star Wars!  It’s time for all good nerds to silently give thanks to George for creating the world we live in.  Without Star Wars, there would be no Battlestar Galactica Star Trek might never have come back and flash lights would just be flash lights.  I’m sure in some crazy, parallel universe, George Lucas was killed in that high school car crash and Logan’s Run  had five sequels so, Jar Jar or not, be grateful!  I’ve got a few goodies for you inside to help celebrate…

Do you remember your first time?  Of course, if you’re under 31, chances are you saw Star Wars  for the first time on VHS, so my condolences.   I remember seeing it in Hicksville, the sole theater on  Long Island to be showing the movie (this was at a time when new releases opened at only a few hundred theaters nationwide and ran for months, or even years).   I made my folks wait in line for four hours since they promised me we’d see if before I went away to summer camp and, naturally, they waited until the night before to go!

As was the case for many of us, the day after seeing Star Wars  nothing would ever be the same; it gave my youthful enthusiasm focus, put me on the creative path that led me to where I am today and set my toy-buying agenda for all eternity.

Ah, the toys… most of them are long gone, but hath any fan know greater joy than a Master Replicas Lightsaber?  Here’s what happens when visual effects nerds get drunk on New Year’s Eve (click for bigness):

 

I swear we really were drunk!  Of course. I can’t explain why there were so many Lightsabers sitting there waiting for us, but these things happen.

 

OH, THE TOYS! 

Speaking of toys, how many of you  also spent all your lunch money on every crazy new action figure Kenner could think of?  I bought them all, no matter how insignificant the character, but I did draw the line when it came to these:

Ok, they’re not real, but boy did I laugh my ass off.  Speaking of toys you’ll never see, NPR did a great story on rejected Star Wars toys that included a Jedi Mood Ring and a Han Solo in Carbonite mini-fridge!  Click here to see the full article.

 

FULL SIZED FALCON 

Here’s a neat video my pal Q (yes, his name really is Q) sent me a short time ago; it’s about a bunch of guys who built a full-size Millenium Falcon in their back yard:

 

CANTINA ON CRACK (MP3)

And what would Star Wars  day be without something fun to listen to?  Just for you, my loyal Darth Mojo readers, I’ve dug deep inside my musical archives and created this for you:

girl-from-mars-cantina-band

It’s an MP3 of a very rare track by a band called ASH; back in 1995 they released a single called “Girl From Mars,” and one of the B-sides is a very freaky version of the Star Wars  Cantina music.  The CD is long out of print, but naturally I had one in my collection, so here you go.  Enjoy!

 

THE STAR WARS ARCHIVES

This is probably the best-kept secret in Star Wars websites, the Star Wars Archives.  It’s run by Darth Neo, who first surfaced in the Original Trilogy Forum about a year ago (the forum is mostly dedicated to fan-fuelled preservation efforts).  He claimed to have his hot little hands on a very rare documentary of The Empire Strikes Back, broadcast only once on French television (he posted a few clips from it and created quite a stir).  While he has yet to share the entire video (he says his source prefers not to), short scenes as well as many super rare images have been used to populate his very slick Star Wars Archives site:

 

 

 

The two images above are from his “Gary Kurtz Collection,” and there is speculation that Mr. Kurtz (producer of A New Hope & Empire) is Neo’s source.  Regardless of where this stuff comes from, chances are you’ve never seen this site and it’s got a treasure trove of rare material from a galaxy far, far away (tip: start with 1980 on his timeline, it’s probably the most fan-gasm inducing entry). 

 

STAR WARS – A DRAMATIC READING (MP3)

Ever wonder what the opening crawl of A New Hope would sound like if recorded by a  Shakespearean actor?  Of course you have.  Now you can find out:

star_wars_-_a_dramatic_reading

All it needs now is a little more cowbell…

 

DISCO STRIKES BACK (MP3)

Sure, everyone has heard Meco Monardo’s disco version of the Star Wars theme more times than you can shake a Gaffi stick at, but did you know the Italian disco producer also recorded an entire EP of music from The Empire Strikes Back

Although a few of the tracks have appeared (in edited form) on Meco’s “best of” CD, the full recording has never been released (apart from the long-out-of-print 10″ vinyl).  While I am not a fan of bootlegging MP3s, this material is not available and the record is part of my collection, so in the interest of preservation, I’m including them here for you to downloand and enjoy (you can click the cover above for hi-res art):

01-meco-darth-vader-yodas-theme

02-meco-battle-in-the-snow

03-meco-force-theme

04-meco-asteroid-field-finale

Meco got his start in 1977 after seeing Star Wars multiple times and buying the soundtrack.  As he recalls in this excerpt from an inerview, he was bummed that it didn’t have sound effects that would make you feel like you were reliving the movie:

Then it hit me – my concept – like a bolt of lightning – “You’ve seen the movie, now go dance to it!!!” I was a successful record producer at the time (Gloria Gaynor, Carol Douglas) so it was easy to call a record company, pitch my concept, get the money and record “Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk” in three weeks. 

You can find out more about Meco’s involvement with Star Wars and what he thought of the prequels by reading the full interview at Echostation right here.

[NOTE: If you discover that this recording is available for legitimate sale, please let me know right away and I will take down these files]

 

Ok, that about wraps it up for now… but please, leave your favorite Star Wars  links in the comments section below so we can all check out your favorite choices…

 

 

 


9 Responses to “happy birthday star wars – updated!”


  1. May 25, 2008 at 4:05 am

    No new links, but, boy that Star Wars Cantina on speed is brilliant!

  2. May 25, 2008 at 8:37 am

    One of my favourites is Twisted System’s full-on psytrance re-envisioning of the Imperial March, “Stark Raver” : http://www.imeem.com/people/2baVZQ//music/U9zbD0gK/twisted_system_stark_raver/

  3. May 25, 2008 at 10:18 am

    I was 15 when I first saw Star Wars in the theater. I remember the ooh and ahh when I first saw it and going back and seeing it numerous more times. Every-time I watch the original cut which I own on dvd I am taken back to those times back in the 70’s.

  4. 4 Roy
    May 25, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    You know, Georgie boy ain’t gonna be too pleased to see all this reminiscing about movies that for him don’t exist anymore :)

    I’m delightfully surprised by Ash’s version of the Cantina band music (and yes, I still love you, girl from Mars).

  5. 5 TighFighter
    May 28, 2008 at 6:09 am

    Sweet jesus. Some nice treasures you’ve found. Thanks!!!!!

  6. 6 Mr_Bester
    May 28, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks for burning my brain. I enjoy Moosebutter’s star wars song @ moosebutter.com.
    I bought it for $.99 and it is my daughters favorite song.

  7. 7 voenixrising
    June 12, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    But you know Boris Midney (USA/European Connection, Beautiful Bend, et. al) did his own disco rendition of TESB, right?

  8. October 7, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Thanks for posting our video on the building of the life-sized millennium falcon! You can check out our other stuff at http://www.mentalwardfilms.com

  9. June 16, 2009 at 2:24 am

    oh man, ya wouldn’t believe how long I’ve been looking for that Meco album!!! I used to have the Vader/Yoda b/w Force Theme 45 waaaaay back when and had been looking for a replacement ever since CD’s became available back in the early 1700’s.

    I owe ya one!!!


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