“In late 1979, as the opening of The Empire Strikes Back was quickly racing toward us, I came up with the idea of doing a telephone line people could call for information about the movie. For the first five months of 1980, people could call a special 800 number (800/521-1980, the date the film was set to open) and hear a message from one of the characters of the movie: Luke, Leia, Han, Darth Vader, or C-3PO.
“I wrote the scripts for the five messages and, during each actor’s looping session for the movie, we recorded their message (after all, they were already going to be in a recording studio). Harrison had already done his looping session by the time the scripts were ready so he and I met for lunch one day then went back to his house where a sound guy I hired for the occasion met us and recorded his message.”
That’s Craig Miller, Lucasfilm’s first director of fan relations, who recently discovered these original cast recordings of the hotline. Harrison Ford, as Han Solo, sounds a wee-bit drunk.
If you call that number, it’s for an office guy, somewhere. I bet he never answers his phone again.