Star Wars Celebration

The Time Anthony Daniels Delivered a No Smoking Personal PSA to Us!

This morning it was raining in Southern California. Since it rarely rains, when it does, it sometimes reminds me of Denver. Specifically it reminds me of Denver in 1999, at the tail end of April. The very first Star Wars Celebration was taking place. It is kind of hard to explain now, but it was a different time with a different frequency back then. It was smaller than you would think and the people involved where more accessible.

The place was full of mud. I think me and Randy Lo Gudice, my Now, This is Podcasting! compatriot, were lucky. We were at the right age where the mud didn’t matter to us. Getting wet didn’t slow us down. We were young and over the moon for more Star Wars. Our girlfriends at the time didn’t come with us, so we were “always on the move.”  We met everyone, went to every event, we crossed mud puddles that were straight out of the set for Dagobah.

This morning, I was home with my 4 month old son and it started to rain and I remembered that day about fourteen years ago. Then some neurons fired and I remembered Pepsi actually gave out free sodas the whole time. I was thirsty and Randy wanted to smoke. We drank some free Jar Jar themed Mountain Dew and Randy fired up.

All of a sudden Anthony Daniels came out from around the corner. For a few brief moments it was like our lives were a sitcom and Daniels was guesting that night. He walked into our space like an actor finding their marks and blocking on a stage. He was ready to perform. He playfully started rattling off statistics about smoking and how Randy should quit. He then came at me with it and I was quick to throw Randy under the bus! Heck, I didn’t smoke! I wasn’t going to let my childhood, heck, adulthood hero think I did!

I think during the course of our conversation, Mr. Daniels might have even added a bit of the Threepio inflection to his voice to make it hit home a bit more.  At the time, it was funny. Randy was getting told off, in the nicest most politely British way possible by the real See-Threepio! Now, I look back and I see what a cool guy Anthony Daniels was and what he was trying to do to help a couple of kids stay healthy.

I went to Twitter and tweeted to Randy about that time:

Yep, there’s me with Anthony Daniels. A strapping young lad going through his Holden Caulfield phase.  A photo with me and Anthony Daniels, in 1999, on the cusp of the release of The Phantom Menace. Priceless. I couldn’t believe Randy had that. I also have to commend young Randy for having the audacity to take a picture of Daniels as he playfully lectured him on the effects of smoking.

Now, if we can get Artoo to convince Randy to quit, maybe we’ll get somewhere!

In closing I would like to say you’ve probably seen this video. But we lived it:

For the record, I only ever touched cigarettes a few times in my life. Every time I did, I remembered See-Threepio, well not the real See-Threepio, but Anthony Daniels telling me not to. Maybe in some small way, I have Anthony Daniels to thank for that. Now, if only he would have warned us about all the other vices including strange women named Odessa, he would have set us on the straight and narrow path.

Anthony Daniels is the best.


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Jason Ward (EIC)

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