Sunday, June 12, 2011
My darling wife quite often occupies the Star Wars Universe. I am old enough to have entered same space from Day One, yet in Rebel spirit (Galactic, not Confederate), I have retained a Jed Guy attitude of hermiticism. Obi in the desert. Yoda in the swamp. Like Space Pirate Radio, I am the Sputnik spinning around the Death Star. KTYD, Y-97, KCBX. They were all, at one time or another, Death Stars. But I digress...
How does the anarchistic BBC radio show of the Fifties and very early Sixties--launching pad for Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe--connect with the intergalactic world of George Lucas? In many ways. There are not Six Degrees of Separation. I've got it down to Three. Tee-hee! Thinks....
I've mentioned before my earlier encounters with Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness, and the mementos I hold from those days. Now Sir Alec was obviously the most important influence on Peter Sellers. A book could be written on it. But what is the Star Wars connection? Sellers lived to see the first film, but died in the year Empire Strikes Back came out (1980) and obviously never saw Return of the Jedi (1983).
Now let us jump into the re-Tardis and flash forward (or flash backward...as time can be rewritten) to Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.
Having shared the experience of being in the queue for midnight showings of the reworked episodes and later the Holy Trinity, the little lady and I are kindred souls in the Happening. The new films give as much a thrill as the earlier encounters. And in contrast to many cynics, I find myself liking the new characters that seem to irritate the hoi polloi. I like Jar Jar Binks, 'cause I get the joke. He's the Robert Crumb Keep on Truckin' dude. It's San Francisco, Lucas Land, not Orange County. And Watto. Dig the subtext. He's Middle Eastern. Jewish or Arab. Isn't the nose a Nostrilferatu image? And remember, Christ-like Liam Neeson can't talk him out of the Deal with those Jedi Mind Tricks. I've worked for a money-minded Muslim from Pakistan who could become Watto in a nanosecond. "I'm sorry Annie, I sell your Mother. But I got GOOD PRICE."
Watto. Just a small businessman. Has a gambling problem, but would join the Elks or the Rotary Club if only they would let him in.
Okay, so it's Watto that holds the key here. My wife goes to the big Star Wars Celebration to meet as many people who may have stumbled into frame as possible (triple price if you have an action figure of yourself). She completes the Seth: Seth Green, Seth MacFarlane, Seth Rogen, Pink Floyd's Seth the Controls for the Heart of the Sun...Revenge of the Seth. And for ME...the voice of Watto...Andy Secombe....who--wait for it--my lovely wife DOESN'T realize is the son of Neddy Seagoon, Harry Secombe! TAA-DAAH!!! ("Waits for audience applause...not a sausage.")
I love this woman. She's my Minnie Bannister, companion to a decepit Henry Crun and lust object to a gas filled Major Bloodnok. And we like the same movies and go to the same concerts. Got tickets for the CANtina Band. Actually, to bear out how much of a Star Wars lover my little lady is, she just came back from Star Wars in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl. She saw Saturday's show (having already seen an earlier presentation in the past years), and was happy to see special guest, composer John Williams. "Stop that modern sinfull saxophone playing!"
And there's more where that came from....