Back in the ’80s, 1-900 numbers were a way to get kids to spend their parent’s money. And to make them lose their minds when the phone bill arrived. To advertise The Empire Strikes Back this way, Lucasfilm employed the cast to record special hotline promos. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, and James Earl Jones all took part. Now, recently resurfaced outtakes of those 1979 recording sessions from YouTube channel WishItWas1984 have popped up online (via Laughing Squid) and they’re quite hilarious. You can listen to Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and James Earl Jones’ outtakes down below.
Mark Hamill is extremely earnest in his “I just blew up the Death Star” Luke Skywalker phase, still sounding like the farm boy he was before learning of his complicated parentage. It’s pretty funny to hear Hamill go from excited and eager Luke mode to frustrated Mark saying “aw shit” when he flubbed a line.
And Carrie Fisher is in peak Carrie Fisher mode, and just seems over having to do the whole thing. You can hear in her voice how cheesy she thinks it all is. But Fisher was always committed to portraying our rebel princess from Alderaan, even when the material was beneath her. Just watch the Star Wars Holiday Special for another example.
And Luke and Leia’s daddy Darth? No matter how crassly commercial it was, James Earl Jones could not help but sound cool when voicing Lord Vader. We could hear him repeat “the power of the Death Star!” in Sith mode forever. Even for a 1-800 number promotion.
Anthony Daniels and Harrison Ford also participated, but their outtakes seem lost to time. But you can hear all the actual Empire Strikes Back hotline messages in a compilation below, including those from C-3PO and Han Solo.
You know who we wish did have hotline messages? R2-D2 and Chewbacca. Can you imagine being a kid and spending your folks’ money and just hearing beeps and growls? Actually, we probably would have called for those two specifically. They would have been worth the money.