The 1976 Radio Interview
Highlights from a radio interview Mark and Harrison Ford did back in 1976, the full
transcript is in the official newsletter of the Mark Hamill International Fan Club,
A Mark of Excellence
DJ: How did you do the sword? The light sword? What did you
have in your hand? Just a thing and they added all the light
Mark: Well, they had a
couple ways of doing it. One was just the handle of it and you
pretend its there. And the special effects people at
Industrial Light and Magic are doing all the effects. John
Dykstra who put it in. There was another one which-- you
dont want to give away the magicians tricks,
DJ (whispered): Go
Mark: Yeah?! No, it was
actually there, and shot through special glass with special
lighting, so that it looked cheesy if you were doing it. But if
somebody else held it and you looked through the lens, it looked
perfect, you know! So, you had the confidence that it was gonna
DJ: You had a neon tube in
Mark: Well, no. It rotated.
It spun around. It was coated with a special material that looked
like sand-coloured sandpaper with like very crystalline pieces of
glass and so forth that rotated and had a wire that went up my
Mark: ...and you know
its tied up, too, with my father who the Alec Guiness
character knew and was an associate of. In other words, its
a weapon that is considered old-fashioned in the galaxy
were living in now and sort of, you know, like a poetic
tip-of-the-hat to the past or whatever. I mean, this is a weapon
that hasnt been used for hundreds of years.
DJ: The most exciting part
of the picture is probably that last quarter which is basically a
World War I dogfight. But I suppose when they shot it, all you
did was sit interminably in these seats with the things around
you, and made like you were having a grand dogfight.
Mark: Yeah. I think
thats the hardest thing Ive ever done...
Because you were imagining all these things. And plus...
Harrison: Wanting to go to
Mark (chuckling) Well,
that. Because once you were up in the cockpit, that was it.
Its like the dentists chair. Forget it, you know.
Think of something else. The director wanted to go all the way
through, like, 11 pages of dialogue. I mean, you went through the
entire Star Wars part of it, imagining what the
other actors lines were.
Harrison: (whispering something
Mark: Responding to lines
you hadnt heard read to you. So, in other words, you
memorised all their lines and your lines. And they were rocking
this cockpit, you know, bored. And it was hard.
DJ: Lucas is right.... We all want to go see Flash
Gordon without all the rest of it- with the good. You know,
the story is really simple-minded. I was talking about it earlier
and its the kid going to join the Navy.
Mark: Im really
amazed that you said that because I remember I picked up the
script at ILM and it had been a while since I tested for George.
And they said "What part are you?" I said "I
dont know." And they found the script with my name on
it, and they gave it to me. I had it for a week and they called
me up. They said, "Did you get the script?" I said,
"Well, I picked it up, but I dont get it."'
Mark: And I said "Can
you story-board it for me or have somebody come over and read it
out lout?" It took me about 3 times, but then I cant
chew bubblegum and tie my shoelaces at the same time.
DJ: Ah, but the
incredible.... Its a set piece- a compendium cliché. All
those goodies from the science-fiction stories that we used to
read when we were thinking about "Gee! Wouldnt it be
great to be there?" and Wouldnt I sometime go
out there and look at that?" and its all here!
Mark: Isnt that what
it is? It really is. Its like Treasure Island.
Its just finding out whats beyond that.
DJ: Alien planets and
starships as big as planets and ray guns and incredible.... that
whole station....Its going to be great.
Mark: I know. Its
DJ: Do you have any stories about the technical side of it,
cos Im interested to know what they did to make
things, for instance, look huge. And how they did the perspective
in some of these sets.
Mark: They hired me, for
one thing. (Laughs.)
DJ: You may not have seen
Mark: Look at how tall I
look on the cover of that novel.
Mark: Dont I look
Mark: Im standing up
at this moment.
DJ: I was going to segue to a question to Harrison Ford but
I aint gonna do it after this. Yes I am. What were the
differences in working American Graffiti and working with Star
Wars? Obviously, special effects. What, if anything.
DJ2: There were so many
spfx in American Graffiti.
DJ: There was only 1. There
was the license plate on the car.'
Harrison: Basically a
difference in doughnuts. There basically is very little
difference. George has the same.... I dont know
what the difference is.... Graffiti, I think there was
probably a bit more freedom in Star Wars than there was in
Graffiti. In Graffiti, we stuck very closely to the
script. I guess we did in this, too!
didnt. I did.
Mark: The thing is, what is
amazing about Harrison is like I was over there for a
couple-three weeks. And then Harrison comes along and, up until
then, Im the only American there. My first movie, all these
things going on. And then, finally, you have somebody that comes
in that you can bounce ideas off of. I mean, not me... he had
total.... He came in with amazing things in his own mind about
the film. And I was just- I was literally doing every comma,
every period, every semi-colon. And in comes Harrison, hes
got big speeches crossed out in the script with arrows. With
lines written out.
DJ: All you screen-writers
out there, listen to this....
Mark: Thats the way
he did it. Its not in that novel because they did it
earlier- before they knew Harrison was gonna do it. And I think
theyre very nervous about the whole thing.
DJ: You have to have a
director whos got a lot of confidence if hes willing
to cut speeches and cut em down to lines.
Harrison: Its not a
matter of that. Its really a matter of making things work.
I mean, wed come into a scene and were faced with
dialogue straight from Buck Rogers.
Mark: (chuckling) I loved
Harrison: I mean, I used to
threaten George with tying him up and making him repeat his own
Mark: He kept threatening
to do that all through the film. At gun-point.
Harrison: But then, the
task is to make it work somehow. And thats where the actual
fun and energy of the whole thing came from. Was making this
DJ: When you would cut a
speech, you would tell Lucas first or would you walk on, do 2
Mark: Normally, youd
try... youd do a completely different dialogue. If George
didnt like it, you know hed come up and say
Dont do that. But 90% of the time, Harrison
would do the lines, you know. The same thought, the same
Harrison: The only person
it really bothered was the script girl, who had the original
Mark: Her hairs white now.
Harrison: But George would
often not notice that there was any changes made...
Harrison: ...because it
wasnt a question of changing the impulse of the scene. It
was a matter of trying to make it more speakable.
DJ: Have you read any
DJ: ...since starting the
picture? Dont want to? Or do you care?
Harrison: I have other
priorities. I dont dislike science fiction, its
Mark: (sotto voce)
Hes going to get on to his carpentry business now.
(normal voice) Hes really getting nervous about the
Harrison: (chuckles) No,
Im really not particularly interested in science
DJ: Okay. You dont
have to be. Not particularly interested in being in the 50s
either, right? I wanted to mention the only self-indulgent spot
in this book I think for George Lucas, I mean of this sort of
indulgence at least, is when 2 of the Empires soldiers were
being referred to and one of thems number was
Mark: In the book... now
that comes in the book, Harrisons character Han Solo is
running the Millennium Falcon, one of the largest Corellian
starships and its sucked in by a tractor beam by the
ultimate weapon of the dark forces, the Death Star. So were
sucked in and Harrison, you know, its just like in Wizard
of Oz when the Lion and the Tin Man put on the monkey suits,
Harrison conks out one of the Stormtroopers and puts on their
Harrison: Yeah, right.
Mark: Hes dressed
totally as a Stormtrooper. And in the film, he steps out, and
says Can you give us a hand with these heavy boxes up
here?" Two more Stormtroopers come out and you hear offstage
the thumps and whatever and he put that in there. But the way it
happened in the movie is all really my fault cos I was
trying to be cutesy and you know, in-jokes. And were taking
Chewbacca, this character in the beginning, and pretending
hes a prisoner, to get him through the Death Star, in
DJ: One of the good guys is
so huge and ungainly big that he wouldnt fit into the suits
so they made him a prisoner so they could get him through.
Mark: Right. Hes big.
Hes a race of people that....
DJ: Youve seen the
movie, folks. Those movies....
Mark: Right. I think they
called it The Bad News Bears here, but... title
Mark: This big ape-guy,
played by Walter Matthau. Is being lead to the Death
DJ: On loan from Dino
Mark: Right. Its a
boring story and getting even longer as we talk. They say
"What are you doing with this thing?" A guy in the
corridor is challenging our right to be there. And in the script,
it says "Its a prisoner transfer from cell block
X197484- a lot of letters and lots of numbers. And just because
it was easy, because I thought Id stroke the director, and
he didnt like it.
Mark: I said
"Its a prisoner transfer from cell block THX, you
know, 1138. He didnt catch it like the first 2 times. When
he did, he said "Dont do that"
DJ: Enough already!
Mark: Right. Which is what
he said to me the first time I tested for him. But I did it
anyway cos he forgets. Hes really good that way, and
he forgot I did that. I swear to you as Im sitting here he
didnt know that came across. But now its in the movie
and they transcribed the novel from the film, thats it!
Harrison gave his Social Security number when he was reading off
the numbers of the particular serial number. Hes going
Harrison: Alec Guiness.
Mark: And Peter Cushing...
DJ: Whos known as the
"man in the spacesuit".
Mark: The Man in the
White Suit. Thats the only science fiction film, right?
He doesnt even understand- well, hes an amazing guy.
He doesnt think hes important, he doesnt think
his films will last. He, you know, he all of a sudden he turns
around, says "You know, I dont want to talk about my
career. Lets talk about yours." So we talked about
salad dressing commercials.
DJ: If you ever see him,
point out to him... Im sure that he does not know anything
about science fiction. Theres a reference to him in
Heinleins novel called Double Star and
theres a very flattering reference to him. You gotta point
it out to him sometime.
Mark: Double Star?
DJ: Double Stars
. Its the story about the actor who is hired to impersonate
a leader of a planet. Or an ambassador. He winds up taking up
with a robot and during the acting... when Heinleins
setting the character, he says that this guy is, he says that any
good actor is doing the double in impersonation is faceless, like
the immortal Alec Guiness.
Mark: Oh. I know, but
thats the thing. Ive never seen him be bad. Even
movies I didnt care for. Hes always been...
DJ: Oh, hes incredible.
Mark: ...creative. He is,
he is! But try and talk about any of his movies and, uh.... He
once gave me a dollar to go away.
Mark: He did. An American
dollar, which really made me run fast. If it was a pound, I would
have lingered around, you know, done some impressions, and then
just kind of shuffled away. But, a dollar. I was outta
Few seconds silence.
Mark: Dead air!
DJ: What had you been doing
before? You said salad dressing commercials. What is your
Mark: Ive never
acted. Im one of fifteen children.
Harrison is laughing while Mark
says this, and the DJ joins in.
Mark: I am!
Mark: No, I was.... My
father was a missionary in China.
Harrison is laughing again.
Mark: Thats my dog
"Wheezy" in the background there. Hes cute. Come
on, come on, boy! Come on!
Mark: But Ive never worked- Harrison was never with
Peter Cushing. He tried to tell me he did, but he didnt.
But. I looked at the script. And I didnt work with Peter
Cushing, but I went to work on the days that he did. He barred me
from the set.
DJ: You must have had quite
a time! Alec Guiness gives you a dollar to go away, and Cushing
bars you from the set.
Mark: I know. But theyre my favourites.
DJ: Whens the picture gonna be released?
Mark: Well, when? We heard rumours of it...
Harrison: Quite a while
Mark: ...coming out on
Harrison: Uhh. Memorial Day next year.
Mark: What does that
commemorate, Harrison? Putting you on the spot.
Harrison: Nothing that I know of.
Mark: Its a few days
before June starts, which we all know is when we get out of
DJ: I dont know where
this comes from but.... Okay, Im gonna do it.
Mark: What are you do- are
you going to be real nasty to me now?
DJ: No, no! Not at all.
Theres a concept we have on the show...
DJ: ...which is that
although we dont know it, somebody in our audience
DJ2: Whatever it is.
Mark: Oh, Im so...
Then that is why that light has been flashing for the last four
DJ: No, that is for
something else. The lines were gonna do are these. Okay,
tell you what lets do. Lets open the phones. Our
guests are Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, soon to be seen, as
they say, in The Star Wars. So, question or comment for
them, if you will. And also, if theres anybody out there
who can locate the reference to "veterans of future
wars", call us and let us know where its from.
And, for Gods sake, dont let us down, were on
Mark: Oh, look at Harrison!
Hes running for the pay-phone.
DJ: An acceptable answer. Our guests, Mark Hamill and
Harrison Ford of the Star Wars. If you have a question or
a comment, give us a call, and youre on the air. Go
Caller1: Okay, whatever
happened to Wizards? Im not gonna believe you guys,
unless, you know, you tell me, cos Ive been holding
my breath and turning blue, and things like that.
DJ: Hes talking about
Mark: I know. I did a voice for them.
DJ: Oh. So tell him. We
have an answer for you, sir.
Mark: I went out and I got
a days work on War Wizards. At the time, it was
called War Wizards. And it was a Ralph Bakshi animated
cartoon and I did a part that has like four lines at the same
time I was testing for a lead which I didnt get. And they
changed the name to just Wizards. And its gonna come
out before Star Wars, like February- what number?
Were not sure. Sometime in February its gonna come
out and he didnt let me see very much. I didnt see
any storyboards. I saw drawings of my character and about three
others. And I stood up in a dark studio and I did four
impressions of the Munchkins, and that was my job. So I
dont know what the story is or anything else. But its
going to be coming out. Its just called Wizards.
Caller1: Yeah. The
announcement was gonna come out in October and Ive been
sort of twiddlin my thumbs and...
Mark: Yeah. Are you a big Bakshi fan?
Caller1: Ah, yeah. I think
so. Its gonna be the first Bakshi film Ive seen. But
Im lookin forward to that with my tongue hangin
out. It sounds good.
DJ: Theres a couple
of others playing in town right now. Fritz the Cat I know
DJ2: And Heavy Traffic
and another one. Theyre playing as a triple bill.
Mark: I saw a couple other
films where your tongue would be hanging out, but theyre
Mark: Oh, all right.
Caller1: Science fiction
and fantasy and all that stuff. But Id rather they keep
their clothes on.
Mark: Im shocked...
DJ: Stay away from Flesh Gordon.
Mark: Right. I was talking
about The Shaggy DA. I dunno who this man is...
DJ: So the answer is
February as far as we know. Anything else?
Caller1: No, thats all. Thanks.
DJ: All right. Thank-you very much!.
Mark: Its going to be
one of the shows, all right... I can tell.
DJ: What do you mean
"going to be"?
Caller3: Yeah, I was at WesterCon last July and part of a
meeting we had that slide show. And, a...
Mark: Wild, wasnt it?
Caller3: Got the impression
that you were going to have a return engagement?
lets see. Charlie Lippincott and I, and I, me, Mark
Hamill, personal friend of mine! were at WesterCon. And that
slide show was great! You saw more of the movie than I ever have.
Im a fan. I go to those things anyway, job or no jobs, so I
think probably the next one well do is in Los Angeles. And
the lady you mentioned to me earlier.
DJ: Bjo Trimble. What
hes talking about is EchoCon. There wont be a
Caller3: Not held this
Mark: There wont be
Mark: Theres got to
be some kind of con. They just keep coming back.
DJ: There will be
professional cons, but she wont be doing them, she...
Caller3: Therell also
be the LostCon 3 over April 1, 2 and 3.
Mark: Where is that?
Caller3: Right here in Los
Angeles. A very small, relaxed con.
DJ: Okay. I tell you what.
If I put you on hold, could you give Terry the information?
Where, and how much and like that?
Caller3: Well, sure.
Mark: I dont know if
well have a display there like we had the last time with
the robots and whatever. Ill show up.
Caller3: This is a relaxed
con. Maybe two hundred- 250 people. Dont expect a...
Caller3: ... con turn-out.
Caller5: Youre an actor, okay?
Mark: No, Im not!
Now, see, this is the big thing that people are getting confused.
I was working at Associated Press, and there was a wire over
Caller5: Youre not an
actor? Youre a liar!
Mark: No, Im not. No,
Im not, though! Ive never acted before.
Caller5: Are you a journalist?
Mark: No, Im not. I was just- I was...
DJ2: I saw him on tv a
couple of weeks ago. Hes right.
Caller5: What were you doing at AP?
Mark: I was a copy-boy.
Caller5: Youre a liar.
Mark: Well, I was a liar copy-boy.
Caller5: Youre a liar.
Mark: No, Im not a
liar. Just, okay. All seriousness aside. George Lucas hired me
cos I never acted before. Thats it.
Caller5: What astounding
bad judgement on his part.
DJ2: Not necessarily.
Mark: And you alone will be
the judge. But, you know. I mean, he probably knows what he is
doing. Hes really smart.
Caller5: Never mind, then. I never go to films.
Mark: You dont?
boring. I havent seen a good film since Zulu.
Mark: No, Zulu was a
Caller5: Mike, you saw
that, didnt you?
DJ2: No, I missed that.
Caller5: Thats where
the 150 valiant line-troopers of the Battalion of Welsh Borderers
held off the 500 attacking Zulus.
Mark: From a true story.
Caller5: Its a true story?...
Mark: It is a true story.
And so is Star Wars. Now, like I said at the beginning,
this is not science fiction. I dont know why Mike wanted us
on the show cos it is a true story.
Caller5: Because the film
you guys are allegedly plugging...
Mark: Im plugging it
so much, I have bruises.
Caller5: ... is a science fiction film!
Mark: No, it is not!
Its science fact.
Caller5: Say again.
Mark: It is science fact. And any rags, any bones, any bottles today.
Caller5: You can be aborted
Mark: Through the airwaves?
If so, Im heading right to the bathroom, where I should
have been hours ago.
Caller5: No, the Pacific is
our ocean. The Atlantic, we dont care what they do to
DJ2: Score one for the...
Caller5: ... rather than a polar one.
DJ2: Not in the backyard.
Mark: I cant say anything to that.
Caller5: As your talkative
friend, Michael, whose name escapes me at the moment, would you
repeat your name again, please? Talkative friend?
DJ2: Harrison Ford?
Harrison: No, no. Mark...
DJ: Mark Hamill.
Mark: I thought Harrison
was the talkative one.
Caller5: The talkative one
will be redesignated "Talkative one" now, okay?
Ill rename him.'
DJ2: Call him
DJ: Thats on the
second level of the keyboard.
Mark: I know what hes
talking about and Im very nervous of the whole thing.
always known him that way, Backyard.
Caller5: Well, Ill
rename him to "Talkative One", okay?
Mark: Okay. Okay....
Caller5: Okay. You say
youre not a science fiction fan.
DJ: No, he is.
Mark: I love it to death.
But you really annoy me. But Harrison does not know what science
Harrison: Im not talkative.
Caller5: But normally, I get paid to annoy people.
Mark: You do?! Boy,
youre getting double-time tonight.
Caller5: Well, its
like mercenaries. Occasionally they punch someone out for
Mark: Why isnt he
in the studio and Im at home annoying him? Talk to
Harrison. Harrison is someone who hates science fiction.
DJ2: No, no. no. Leave it facing the mike.
Caller5: Mike, have you got
other calls on the line?
Caller5: Why dont we
let them talk because Im just enjoying myself and Im
sure Im merely boring your friends.
Mark: Youre not, though. You are funny.
Caller6: Yes. Asking both of you, would you do another
so-called science fact film? Ever again? After this one.
Harrison: Why not?
Caller6: Mmm. Im just
wondering. Ah, sometimes some people just do one science fiction
film and thats it.
DJ: Okay. Fair question.
Will you do it again? Not this one, another science fact
Mark: I wanna work! Hey!!
Im not anything all next week. But, see, youre
talking to a strange case. I love this kind of movie. I do! I
love Ray Harryhausen, I love.... Thats what I grew up on.
Im just lucky, you know, that Im in one. But... they
ask you about that. They asked me about that at the science
fiction convention. "Are you worried about being
typed?" But if youre typed, youre working!
Definitely. So, since Im gonna check out in about 1987, I
would be glad to be typed. I dunno.
DJ2: Thats only
Mark: I know! And Harrison,
heres right back to you!
DJ: Pull it towards you.
DJ2: Good! Boy, what an
actor! Takes direction and makes us laugh!
DJ2: Now that hes
gone, we can say all sorts of rude things about him, but we
wont. Instead, we will say that The Star Wars which
could be a film worth seeing just because its not heavy. As
Mark says, its not of social importance, its not an
allegory. Its fun!.
DJ: Well, have you gone, Harrison? Are you still
Harrison: No, Im
DJ2: We were told you have
a lot of stories about the producer George Lucas.
Harrison: No, the director
George Lucas. Hes the director.
DJ: The director. Tell us
some more about how he did his job, building The Star Wars.
Harrison: I dont have
a lot of stories. I was a participant in this experiment. I
dont know much more about it than you do.
DJ: You get the idea that
somebody whos in a picture mustnt see it the way you
do on the screen, especially in this picture. Apparently...
Harrison: I always thought
about it from the point of view of my character.
Harrison: I really
didnt want to know too much more about it than that.
DJ2: What did Lucas tell
you about your character? What did you figure out? I
Harrison: He told me what
he was earning a week.
DJ2: Seriously, is that
essential? Youre playing a character in a thing that you
know nothing about, so...
Harrison: Well, I know a
lot about it. George didnt hire me without figuring that I
knew something about what he was talking about.
Harrison: But he
didnt hire me because I was capable of explaining what he
was talking about.
DJ2: Youre capable
of explaining it in action if youre capable of explaining
it in dialogue. You can make the character work.
Harrison: Yeah. Hope
DJ2: Alright. By how, I
DJ2: Yeah. I guess that is
what I mean.
Harrison: Well, if
theyd told me I was gonna come here to tell you what acting
was about, I would never have showed up.
DJ: You dont like to
talk about it. Or you dont like to talk about it to people
who dont act.
Harrison: I dont like
to talk about it. I dont like to hear myself talk about
Harrison: Much less to you.
I mean, I dont really... . It amazes me that Im even
involved in it. But to hear myself talk about it is completely
Mark: Once more, give us the story that had the reference
to Sir Alec, by Heinlein.
DJ2: Yes. Its in a
novel called Double Star. Robert A Heinlein. And we
have a caller that has some information on it. Okay, go
Caller8: I think I have the
Mark: You do? Hey!
Caller8: Its in the
February 56 Astounding. Am I echoing?
DJ2: Yes. Go ahead.
Caller8: Am I echoing now?
DJ2: No. Go ahead.
Caller8: Its page
nineteen. And the sentence occurs on the second column, the
right-hand column. It says, "I needed a face as
common-place, as impossible to remember, as the immortal Alec
Caller8: And this is where
theyre getting ready to make the actor up so he can escape
Mark: All this week, on
channel 28, theyre showing amazing Guiness films.
Theyre showing The Ladykillers, theyre showing
Man in the White Suit, theyre showing-what else are
they showing, Mike? Theyre showing- whats the heist
DJ2: Lavender Hill Mob?
Mark: Lavender Hill Mob.
Incred- I mean some of the best films...
DJ: Kind Hearts and
What- eight roles?
Mark: He plays two women,
the 70 year old vicar, its so amazing. You watch the films
and say "Oh, yeah! I met that guy!" I thought it was
Caller8: Is this really
Caller8: I have to go out
and buy a television.
Mark: Or go over to
Harrisons house. Heres his address....'
Caller8: Sorry- too far away.
DJ: Okay. Some you win,
some you lose. Thank-you very much for that, Bill. And thank-you
Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, for coming down and talking about
your science fact programme on our science fiction
Mark: All true.
DJ2: Its The Star
Wars. Itll be out around Memorial Day.
DJ: Ive enjoyed very
much having both you gentlemen.
Mark: Ive been having
so much fun.
DJ: Harrison Ford
hasnt said as much, but his presence has been very
DJ2: Okay, good night and
thank-you for listening.
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