May 25, 2017
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In May of 1977, an innovative motion picture was released that forever altered the way we understand and create films. It depicted a fast-paced, fantastical adventure that has fueled many imaginations and taught many important life lessons. Of course, I refer to the Hal Needham opus, Smokey and the Bandit! Just kidding, you know what I’m talking about.
There’s no denying the immediate impact that Star Wars has made on the pop cultural landscape, especially in the franchise’s early years. A wide variety of products were made to capitalize on the film’s widespread popularity, ranging from exciting new stories based on the universe, like the early Marvel comics and Brian Daley’s Han Solo Adventures (which I highly recommend), to other movies and shows that took their cues from George Lucas’s modern-day space serial. Even John Williams’s iconic orchestral score became in vogue, with Meco’s various disco remixes of the leitmotifs from the films being the most famous example.
One of the more obscure tributes to Williams’s work on the films is double bassist Ron Carter‘s 1980 album, Empire Jazz, an easy listening homage to the then-recent music of The Empire Strikes Back, including the themes for Darth Vader, Yoda, and the Leia/Han romance motif. Here is my personal favorite track on the album, the underrated theme of Cloud City kingpin and Rebel general, Lando Calrissian.
Thanks to Andy Lindemann for finding this album.
December 25, 2016
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Let’s celebrate the release of the latest Star Wars film, Rogue One, during this 2016 holiday season in the most synergistic way possible. Have a listen to the B-side of Bobby Helms’ hit single and modern Yuletide standard “Jingle Bell Rock”, a cosmic Christmas carol entitled “Captain Santa Claus (and His Reindeer Space Patrol)”.
One of the things I love about the Star Wars fandom is the high level of creativity that they display when it comes to showing their love of the franchise. Case in point: the wealth and variety of fan films and shorts. From straight-forward, action packed lightsaber duels to clever parodies, the Star Wars universe has been a vital inspiration to many independent filmmakers.
Speaking of parodies, here is one of the first videos I’ve seen on one of the top Star Wars fansites, TheForce.net. Here’s the 2000 short, PA Wars, featuring Scott Hahn, Dennis Stay, Tadd Callies and a Taco Bell Yoda cup.
Hope you enjoy it!