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Long Ago, an Austin TV Host Interviewed 'Luke Skywaller' and Debbie Reynolds' Daughter

Texas Archive of the Moving Image

The “Star Wars” hype machine is in full effect.

It’s impossible to look at any screen without seeing something plugging the latest reboot of the space opera, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which hits Austin theaters tomorrow night. But, a long time ago in the wake of Alderaan’s untimely end, before Luke lost a hand and before George Lucas’ prequel trilogy took the franchise far, far away from its roots, some of the original film’s key players sat down with Austin’s own Carolyn Jackson to talk about the film.

Jackson interviewed producer Gary Kurtz and stars Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher  in June of 1977 shortly after the film’s release.

Of all three interviewees, Hamill was perhaps the most receptive to Jackson’s questions, which is evidenced by his breezing over the fact that Jackson mistakenly calls his now-iconic character “Luke Skywaller,” his willingness to open up about his stint on the soap opera “General Hospital” and his recounting of acting opposite a duct-taped gas can during the film’s hologram scenes.

Fisher’s rapport with Jackson is cordial, if not cagey. While she does share a few amusing on-set anecdotes, she appears weary after what one could assume was a full day of back-to-back television interviews.

Sporting an imposing neckbeard, Kurtz couches some of the film’s success to the success of both “Rocky” and “The Godfather Pt. II.” The long-time George Lucas collaborator also teases the inevitable sequel to the sci-fi classic and “Radioland Murders” –a film that Lucas and he both worked on prior to “Star Wars," but ultimately languished in development for decades until its release in 1994. 

Of course, the film went on to inspire sequels, an empire built on toy, videogame, comic book and novelized adaptations over the years since its release. It also inspired plenty of imitators and knock-offs. Below, you can see an instructional video for Taylor Wines featuring "Metal Man" and "Shorty," which was produced by a Dallas-based marketing firm in 1978.

All footage is from the Texas Archive of the Moving Image, a non-profit that houses a massive repository of archival footage from Texas history.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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