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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Video Vault of Mora Tau 8/5/15!









Okay, here's a fun story from my childhood. I read in Starlog magazine - probably in late 1979 - that to promote the forthcoming release of The Empire Strikes Back in May of 1980 - a special 800 number was set up - and by calling it you would get one of the characters of the movie - with the real actor voicing the clip - talking about the new movie. They would then update with a new character each month through the release of the movie.


I was amazed. And keep in mind, this was an 800 number, which was then, and still is, free to call. (Had this been done 5 or 10 years later it would more likely have been a 900 number, and would have cost 50 cents per connected call.)

The number was 800-521-1980 - which was the release date of the movie - 5/21/1980. I started to call - on a rotary dial phone, mind you - immediately. Busy. Dial again. Busy.


Dial again. Busy.

Dial again. Busy.

Dial again. Busy.



Over the course of the next several months - I spent more time than you could possibly believe calling the number. HOURS spent spinning that dial. Over and over and over and over. I did finally get through and hear the first message - C-3PO. I then started calling back with a tape recorder nearby - wanting to catch it again and tape it.


To keep this post from taking as much of your life as calling that number did me in the early days of 1980 - I called enough, including calls made at nearly every hour on the clock from 6 am to 1 or 2 am - leaving only the hours from 2 am to 6 am where I didn't try calling - to hear three of the five messages, and catching two of them on tape.

Well, thanks to our incredible internet - those recordings - so hard to hear in 1980 - are here in a YouTube clip. Enjoy some Star Wars you've probably not experienced before. You're welcome.









Isn't that cool? You can also hear the lack of a real director in the performances. Anthony Daniels over enunciates. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill underplay. James Earl Jones chews the scenery. But still fun to hear the characters. And to finish the story - back then I caught C-3PO, Han Solo, and Darth Vader - and I got 3PO and Solo on tape. Never heard Leia or Luke -until I found that clip above a few days ago.


A couple of other notes. In that incessant dialing, to break up the monotony - I also at some point dialed EVERY 800 number from 800-521-1900 through 800-521-1999. In those hundred plus calls (I called some more than once) - there were other working 800 numbers. I remember that 800-521-1914 and 800-521-1915 reached some kind of business number with a live person answering. I chatted with those people occasionally. They were pleasant, and seemed to enjoy speaking to a kid as a break from their usual business call. Then it was back to 800-521-1980 - and more busy signals.

Amazingly, I never got yelled at to stop - even though people calling my house to speak to my parents must have been running into an extraordinary amount of busy signals themselves. Maybe no one could get through to complain, so my parents never knew.









Until next post - you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

6 comments:

  1. An enjoyable post , good Sir...

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  2. Found your link at "It Came From the Man cave"....
    I too live in , NC just west down #74....
    you have some cool and enjoyable posts...
    have a great weekend....

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    1. Well I owe Bob a snow cone! Thanks for coming by, commenting, and joining up! Hope your weekend is good too!

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  3. I love this! The audio is awesome! Naturally you had the tenacity and movie film fervor to pull that off, and the presence of mind–as a kid, no less–to tape it. I'm betting you still have the tapes...

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    1. I thought you'd get a kick out of that! Thanks for coming by!

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