Like many people, I’ve felt deep affection for Star Wars throughout my life. (Admittedly, I may be a casual fan compared to my childhood buddy Matthew, who’d seen the first movie ten times before he turned eight years old.) The films are always major events, but I particularly relish the unexpected Star Wars crossover moments in popular culture. As a child, I enjoyed the Sesame Street episode where R2-D2 fell madly in love with a fire hydrant. (Poor C-3PO had trouble convincing R2 that the romance would be star-crossed. Then again, as Anthony Daniels admitted about the hydrant years later, “Mind you–she was cute.”) Also, who could forget Mark Hamill on The Simpsons, playing Nathan Detroit in a Springfield dinner theatre production of Guys and Dolls…while sporting full Jedi gear? (Come on, you all know the words: “Luke, be a Jedi toni-i-i-i-ight…”)
I cherish my memories of Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination when it came to San Jose’s Tech Museum of Innovation in late 2013. I had to resist fangirl moments when I saw R2-D2 in the flesh (metal?) at the press preview event. The exhibition itself was really impressive, and its examination of droids’ place in society was extremely thought-provoking. (Those who are interested can read the whole article in my book, Going Coastal: Santa Cruz County and Beyond.)
To celebrate Star Wars Day properly, I present my favorite crossover of all to you: the February 23, 1980 episode of The Muppet Show, featuring the Star Wars cast. Mark Hamill is delightful as a bemused Luke Skywalker (who has no desire to appear on a “third-rate variety show”) as well as a desperate, struggling-actor version of himself (who, of course, will do anything to perform with the Muppets). The episode introduces my favorite underrated Muppet Show Muppet, Angus McGonagle (the gargling Argyle gargoyle). Hamill’s appearance with Angus alone…well, just watch, you’ll see. May the Fourth be with you, everybody!