Today’s Guest: Writer Mark Clark, author of Star Wars FAQ, Star Trek FAQ and Star Trek FAQ 2.0.
Watch this exclusive Mr. Media interview with Mark Clark by clicking on the video player above!
Mr. Media is recorded live before a studio audience full of unused characters from the first six movies, cartoons and comic books, hoping for one more shot at the silver screen… in the NEW new media capital of the world… St. Petersburg, Florida!
If there is nothing else in life I have to brag about, it’s that I was in attendance at the Loews Astor Plaza Cinema in Manhattan for the red carpet, world premiere of Star Wars in 1977.
My buddy Bob Pinaha and I took a Suburban Bus in from New Brunswick, New Jersey, that evening – classy, huh? – and it was one of the single most amazing filmgoing experiences of my lifetime.
Unlike today, when the Internet over-prepares us for every twist and turn that lies ahead in new movies, we had no idea what this “Star Wars” was about or even why we were invited.
MARK CLARK podcast excerpt: “There were blockbuster hits before ‘Star Wars’ and that were films that had lots of merchandising around them, like the Disney movies, for example. But ‘Star Wars’ was just next level. It was box office like the industry had never seen. The scale of the merchandising revenues was unprecedented. The way impacted the fate of different toy companies! The other studios wanted to get into this business of coming up with a franchise with built-in marketing bonanza potential; that still drives the superhero movies made today.”
And if we realized it would be as grand a night as it was, I suspect we would have been better dressed!
I, for one, had never been in a movie theater with escalators. Or 70 mm prints. And they gave out free popcorn and programs to all. (And yes, I still have the program!)
When the film started and it felt like the place was going to explode from the noise of the ships seemingly passing overhead, we knew our lives would never be the same.
I must have seen Star Wars a few dozen times as summer turned to fall and spring. I remember driving my date, Carol Burger, to Paramus, N.J., the day I got my driver’s license that October so she could experience the movie in 70 mm just as I had in New York City. A slight problem – I didn’t know how to get to Paramus. Well, we figured that out, but with no maps, cell phone, or GPS, getting home took hours!
So, yes, Star Wars is very, very important in my life.
MARK CLARK podcast excerpt: “(The press conducted) interviews with guys that worked in the ‘Star Wars’ model shop that were just gluing together the X-wing and TIE fighters. Once people found out they worked on ‘Star Wars,’ people asked for their autograph. It didn’t matter what they did; if they worked on ‘Star Wars’ in any capacity, people wanted to work with them.”
And while I don’t cosplay as an Imperial Storm Trooper or wear Star Wars Underoos or plan my life around #ForceFriday – okay, scratch that last one – I know plenty of people do. Which is why my guest today is Mark Clark, author of Star Wars FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Trilogy That Changed the Movies.
The book has all the things we’ve come to enjoy in the “FAQ” series: clear-eyed perspective, deep history, and, of course, memorable quotes, parodies, and ridiculous movie flubs.
Interestingly, Clark is also the author of two books from another “Star” universe: Star Trek FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the First Voyages of the Starship Enterprise and Star Trek FAQ 2.0: Everything Left to Know About the Next Generation, the Movies, and Beyond.
Key interview moments:
• 4:00 The recommended way to go about reading Star Wars FAQ;
• 14:35 Mark Clark discusses how the value of Star Wars-related merchandise changed the movie business forever;
• 26:50 Star Wars made stars out of not just George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, but also John Dykstra, Rick Baker, and everyone who ever touched the film’s production.
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