Friday, May 25, 2012


One of my favorite things from childhood was the family tape recorder. That machine pretty much recorded me and my brother's childhood. Our family has old cassette tapes of school plays, band concerts and various family gatherings. Most Saturday mornings you would find the recorder sitting next to the Zenith TV capturing audio from our favorite cartoons. (Ah, the days before the VCR!) I even made a compilation of Scooby-Doo songs. You know the tunes that always played when the Scooby gang was being chased.

Here's a silly photo of our tape recorder from back then. Looks like it had a small problem with a tape.
Back in the summer of '83, a few weeks before I turned 13, my childhood cohort Jeff and I attempted to make an audio spoof of Star Wars. Both of us were avid Star Wars fans and we had recently discovered the famous Star Wars parody Hardware Wars. It seemed to play nonstop on one of the movie channels and needless to say we were inspired to make our own spoof. (Also I was probably inspired by my old T-shirt.) Before you click play on the video below, I just want to warn you that this tape is over eight minutes of silly juvenile humor without an ending. Listen at your own risk!

Now on to the making of segment of Food Wars.

Weeks before our recording session, we worked up all the spoofy character names and gags. Both of us rode the same school bus and had a good 45 minute trip to school; plenty of time to work on Food Wars ideas. Our big master plan was to make Food Wars over the summer. That didn't work out too well and most of it was recorded on one Saturday early in the summer. The last few minutes was recorded later in the year, before we finally lost interest.
Most of the sound effects were created by a Sound Gizmo, a handy dandy sound making toy. We used it for the spaceships, lasers and the voice of R2-BBQ. 

My Sound Gizmo went missing long ago, so here's an example from ebay. 

When I listen to the tape I realize that Jeff and I watched way too much TV, especially WTBS. It's evident we were on a steady diet of Looney Tunes, old WWII movies and of course lots of 1960s sitcoms. My mom's record collection came in handy when we recorded the Eggpire's party. I'm not sure why we used Jet Song from West Side Story as the theme song for the Souptroopers.

Unfortunately only a few of my drawings, um...excuse me, concept art for Food Wars survived. 

  Puke Skystumbler and Princess Lambchop

Chewtobacco has Skoal cans in his bandolier. 

 Here's a drawing of a Y-weiner.

Even though the Donut Star shot out jelly instead of a laser, this drawing is kind of boring. I should have added some frosting and a few sprinkles.

We made up a long list of spoof names including parodies of the real actors. Luckily I still have our list.

Luke Skywalker - Puke Skystumbler played by Mark Camel 
Princess Leia - Princess Lambchop played by Carrie Catfish
Obi-wan Kenobi - Obi-wan Ravioli played by Alec Ripley's Believe It or Not? 
Han Solo - Hand Bozo played by Harrison Chevy
Chewbacca - Chewtobacco played by Peter Cashew
C-3PO - C-3PU played by Oscar Daniels 
R2-D2 - R2-BBQ played by Kenny Cooker
Darth Vader - Danish Vader played by David Prowler
Governor Tarkin - Governor Tartar Sauce or Governor Tomato 
Biggs - Ribs
Wedge - Door Stop 
Porkins - Pigout
Blockade Runner - Bologna Runner
X-wing - X-weiner
Y-wing - Y-weiner
Millenium Falcon - Millennium Canary or Millennium Chicken
Jedi Knight - Jello Knight
The Force - The Fruit
Rebel Alliance - Rutabaga Alliance
Galactic Empire - Galactic Eggpire
Stormtroopers - Souptroopers (They wore an upside down bowl as a helmet.)
Jawas - Jawa Jawbreakers
Star Destroyer - Steak Destroyer
TIE fighter - Tutti Frutti PIE fighter
Blasters - Licorice laser gun
Death Star - Donut Star
Planet Tatooine - Planet Tangerine
Planet Alderaan - Planet Applesauce
Director George Lucas - George Locust

Here's a page of the script. I don't think I wrote more than ten pages and most of those were just ideas or individual scenes. 

Don't worry, we're almost done, just a few ideas and lines from my notes.

Princess Lambchop is a valley girl.

Big food fight in the cantina.

Hand Bozo is smuggling eggs instead of spice.

Obi-wan Ravioli - "I felt a great disturbance in the Fruit, as if thousands of people cried out in terror and said bbbbb, that's all folks."

Puke Skystumbler - "He's heading for that prune." 
Hand Bozo - "That's no prune you dingbat, that's a donut!"

Obi-wan Ravioli and Danish Vader shake hands before the the saber fight. Obi trips and falls over his own saber's extension cord.

Sequel titles - The Eggpire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jello.

OK, if you made it down this far, then give yourself a gold star for being a faithful Neato Reader and thank you!

As silly as this tape is, I have fond memories of attempting to create something clever and having fun with my best buddy. Really, that's what childhood was all about, having fun!

May the Fruit be with you!


Mike Middleton said...

Move over J.W. Rinzler. This is the best making of post ever!

Paxton said...

Food Wars is amazing. I love it. So awesome that you still have this recording.

Unknown said...

When it comes to our childhoods, I'm noticing there's a lot of similarities between you and me.

Great story.

rpchurch said...

So sad that I guess the tape recorded saga is no more in the days of being able to record a movie quality idea via the phone. Mine were lost to time, but I had a tone of there. Wone was Fur Wars - the story of small animals fighting against the evil empire (basically a dog catcher). This is great. Thanks for posting this. Very entertaining!

Todd Franklin said...

Thanks for all the swell comments!

rpchurch - Fur Wars sounds epic!

Brother Bill said...

Ha! That is great. I used to force my friends to perform Star Wars or Empire Strikes Back on cassette (using the Marvel comics as our script, and open-air recording the soundtrack albums over the background). Of course if the one female in our circle of friends wasn't handy, it was up to one of us to sacrifice our dignity and take the Leia role... (it usually ended up being me, speaking in a ridiculous Mickey-Mouse falsetto. "Alderaan is peaceful... you can't possibly!")

Carrillion said...

Just came across your post whilst randomly doing some 70s research! Genius! Need to find a working Sound Gizmo now!