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15 Bizarre Star Wars-Branded Products

Star Wars is one of the most profitable movie franchises in history, partly because of its seemingly endless supply of branded merchandise and movie tie-in products. Lucasfilm is famous for granting product licenses to just about any company that wants to sell Star Wars merchandise, but sometimes it just goes too far. Here are 15 bizarre Star Wars-branded products.

1. STAR WARS EARLY BIRD CERTIFICATE PACKAGE

With the surprise success of the original Star Wars in 1977, demand and excitement for the space opera was so high and rampant that its official toy licensee, Kenner, couldn’t fill demand for the upcoming busy Christmas shopping season. The toy company’s solution? Sell a Star Wars Early Bird Certificate Package, which was simply an empty box ... with a promise. If you bought the package for $7.99 (about $31 in today’s dollars) and sent in the mail-in certificate postcard, Kenner would send you Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, R2-D2, and Chewbacca action figures six months later. It was extremely successful and proved people will buy just about anything with the words “Star Wars” on it—even an empty box. An unopened and sealed package can go for about $8000 on eBay.

2. REVENGE OF THE SITH AIR SICKNESS BAGS 

In 2005, Virgin Atlantic partnered with LucasArts to promote the then-new Revenge of the Sith video game. Four limited-edition Star Wars air sickness bags were made for all transatlantic flights. One bag included instructions on how to operate a lightsaber, while others featured a diagram of what’s inside of a lightsaber and how a Jedi Knight duels a Sith Lord. Another featured an airplane’s seating chart which highlighted the Light and Dark Sides of the Force. 

3. C-3PO TAPE DISPENSER

 No Star Wars fan’s desk is complete without a C-3PO tape dispenser. After the release of The Empire Strikes Back, Sigma made an all-ceramic tape dispenser featuring C-3PO in a very awkward position. It’s weird to grab a piece of tape from a droid’s crotch, but an original C-3PO tape dispenser goes for about $200 on eBay, so it might be worth it.

4. STAR WARS APPLES

The Bothan Spy

Nothing says Star Wars like ... a bushel of apples? A number of grocery store chains across the country are stocking Star Wars brand apples. The Sage Fruit Company licensed Star Wars for their brand of red delicious apples, which come in a plastic bag with Darth Vader on the front and Yoda and a Stormtrooper on the back. The Sage Fruit Company also sells officially licensed Sesame Street and Disney’s Frozen branded apples. 

5. WAMPA ARM ICE SCRAPER

ThinkGeek

Remember when Luke Skywalker cut off the Wampa’s arm at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back? In 2012, ThinkGeek had the bright idea to make an ice scraper that looked like a plush severed Wampa arm for your car’s windshield. It’s a good way to scrape ice on your car and keep your arm warm while you’re doing it. 

6. STAR WARS COFFEE CREAMER

Nestle and Lucasfilm teamed up for the release of The Force Awakens with officially licensed Star Wars Coffee-mate creamers. Nestle released five limited-edition Coffee-mate flavors and bottles, including Darth Vader Espresso Chocolate, C-3PO Hazelnut, Chewbacca Spiced Latte, R2-D2 French Vanilla, and Boba Fett Italian Sweet Cream—any one of which pairs well with Darth Vader's Dark Side Roast Coffee

7. CHOP SABERS 

According to Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope, a lightsaber is the “formal weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. More skill than simple sight was required for its use. An elegant weapon.” But to the people at Samurai Market in Japan, a pair of tiny lightsabers can also be used as chopsticks.

8. DARTH VADER BLACK BURGER AND JEDI BURGER

As part of a promotion for the 3-D re-release of The Phantom Menace in 2012, French fast food chain Quick offered a Darth Vader Dark Burger, which was a double cheeseburger with spicy piquant pepper sauce on a jet-black bun. Quick also offered a less exciting jalapeno Jedi Burger with mayonnaise on a ciabatta bun.

9. STAR WARS FISHING KIT

Fishing gear manufacturer Shakespeare released a line of Star Wars-themed fishing gear, including tackle boxes, backpacks, and lightsaber-shaped fishing rods. The fishing kit came with Star Wars: The Clone Wars decals for the kids.

10. LANDO CALRISSIAN DISGUISE KIT

Dangerous Minds

Available exclusively during Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando in 2010, the Lando Calrissian Disguise Kit was simply a stick-on mustache that made you look like the scoundrel of Cloud City.

11. STAR WARS TOILET PAPER

In 2005, German household paper company Zewa partnered with Lucasfilm for the release of Revenge of the Sith. They offered limited edition Yoda action figures with the purchase of officially licensed Star Wars toilet paper combo packs.

12. TAUNTAUN SLEEPING BAGS

ThinkGeek

If you ever wanted to be warm and cozy inside of a Tauntaun just like Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back, then ThinkGeek has got you covered. Though it started out as a clever April Fool’s joke in 2009, the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag quickly turned into one of the most sought after movie tie-in products on the Internet. Demand was so high for the Star Wars sleeping bag that ThinkGeek acquired a license from Lucasfilm to officially manufacture and sell the item.

13. STAR WARS PORCELAIN CHINA SET

Gearfuse

No special occasion is complete without your limited-edition Star Wars china set. Impress your family and friends with your deep devotion to a galaxy far, far away and fine tableware with this beautifully crafted—and classy—porcelain china featuring such beloved Star Wars characters as Darth Vader, R2-D2, Yoda, and Chewbacca.   

14. AMPLE HILLS ICE CREAM

Ample Hills

Beloved Brooklyn ice cream company Ample Hills is getting in on The Force Awakens action with two limited edition, Star Wars-themed flavors: The Light Side is a marshmallow ice cream with homemade crispie clusters and handmade cocoa crispies (“to represent the dark side still lurking within the light,” according to the company). The Dark Side is an ultra-dark chocolate ice cream, chock full of espresso fudge brownies, cocoa crispies, and white chocolate pearls.

15. JAR JAR BINKS LOLLIPOP

Funny Junk

The infamous Jar Jar Binks lollipop from The Phantom Menace might just be the most bizarre movie tie-in product ever released with any Star Wars film. It was a push-up style lollipop with the Gungan’s hideous reptile-like tongue as the sweet candy inside. Who thought it would be a good idea to make a candy where kids actively French kiss Jar Jar?

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Samsung’s Star Wars Vacuums Offer Everything You Want in a Droid
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Hate housecleaning but love Star Wars? Samsung’s got the solution. In anticipation of December’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the newest film in the Star Wars saga, Samsung has transformed a limited number of its VR7000 POWERbot robot vacuum cleaners into two familiar faces from George Lucas’s legendary space opera: a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader (which comes with Wi-Fi connectivity and a remote control).

In order to create a unique device that would truly thrill Star Wars aficionados, Samsung consulted with fans of the film throughout each stage of the process. The result is a pair of custom-crafted robo-vacuums that fill your home with the sounds of a galaxy far, far away as they clean (when you turn Darth Vader on, for example, you'll hear his iconic breathing).

“We are very pleased to be part of the excitement leading up to the release of The Last Jedi and to be launching our limited edition POWERbot in partnership with Star Wars fans,” B.S. Suh, Samsung’s executive vice president, said in a press statement. “From its industry-leading suction power, slim design, and smart features, to the wonderful character-themed voice feedback and sound effects, we are confident the Star Wars limited edition of the VR7000 will be a big hit.”

Be warned that this kind of power suction doesn’t come cheap: while the Stormtrooper POWERbot will set you back $696, the Darth Vader vacuum retails for $798. Who knew the Dark Side was so sparkling clean?


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Tales from the Butterball Hotline
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It’s 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and you just realized you forgot to thaw your turkey. What do you do?

Don’t panic. You just need to call 1-800-BUTTERBALL. Yes, the Turkey Talk-Line is real. And yes, they really do have poultry experts standing by to help you with your last-minute snafus, flubs, and foul-ups. If you wake up in a cold sweat at 2 a.m. thinking about salmonella or whether you can bathe your turkey with your toddler (see below), never fear—Butterball is there for you. And it's not just about Thanksgiving. The line is open in December, too, to help you with those holiday feasts as well.

When the hotline first opened up to panicked chefs in the early 1980s, a mere six “home economists” responded to 11,000 phone calls during November and December. These days, their staff has expanded to more than 50 and they answer more than 100,000 questions. 

Those staff members have heard it all, too. They get the typical questions you’d expect turkey experts to get, of course: How long will it take to thaw the turkey? How do I stuff a turkey? Are there any allergens in Butterball products? But there’s also the, um, unexpected.

Among the more questionable calls the turkey experts have received: “Can I brine my turkey in the washing machine?” and “The family dog is inside the turkey and can’t get out.” (It was a Chihuahua, in case you’re wondering, and the Butterball expert did manage to help the owners get the dog out safely.)

Another inexperienced caller worried that her turkey wouldn’t come out of the oven because she figured it was going to rise like bread does.

One Butterball employee actually stayed on the line while her caller walked through a grocery store and painstakingly picked out ingredients for his Thanksgiving dinner.

More recently, a hotline employee was surprised to hear from a wife who came home to find the turkey floating in the tub while her husband gave the kids a bath. Believe it or not, because the turkey hadn't been removed from the package, it was salvaged—though the kids complained about the chilly water.

Don’t feel bad if you have to call the Butterball hotline for assistance, though. Even President Bartlet knows when to call in the experts:

By the way, there’s also an option for those of you who prefer assistance in the form of written word: you can text your questions to 1-844-877-3456 through December 24. The company is also answering questions via its social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter. And they've recently added Spanish-speaking experts plus their first male turkey-talker.

This post originally appeared in 2011.

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