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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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Job Alert: The UK Needs a Chicken Nugget Taste-Tester

Do you like highly-processed chicken molded into mushy, breaded bites? Are you willing to relocate to England? Can your palate distinguish a savory nugget from a mediocre one? Your dream job awaits, AJC.com reports.

British retail chain B&M recently posted a job listing calling for a "chicken nugget connoisseur" to help the company get feedback on their new line of frozen food products. The chosen applicant—or applicants—will get a monthly voucher worth £25 ($34) to spend on frozen goods. Job duties consist of eating nuggets and other items and then providing B&M feedback.

The post describes the position as "temporary," so it's unlikely there's opportunity for advancement. If you care to apply, B&M will accept a paragraph describing yourself and why you’d be good for the job—though if you actually have a CV full of previous nugget-related positions, we're confident they'd love to see it.

[h/t AJC.com]

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Martin Lewison, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
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20 of the Most Interesting Trees Around the World
Martin Lewison, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
Martin Lewison, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Whether they bleed crimson sap or uncannily resemble human features, these 20 trees aren't your average oaks and elms.

1. TREE SHAPED LIKE A HAND

The stubby, leafless branches of an olive tree, outstretched and resembling a palm. A man has his palm outstretched next to it.
Ramzi Haidar, Getty

In 2009, a man from the southern Lebanese village of Hasbaya brought his 85-year-old olive tree to Beirut to be displayed. He believed its resemblance to an outstretched palm was miraculous and felt it should be shared with the public.

2. "WORLD FAMOUS TREE HOUSE"

Black and white image of two men standing in front of an enormous tree, with a door with a sign over it that says "See the inside no charge" and a hanging sign that proclaims "Fraternal Monarch."
Getty/Fox Photos

Recognized by Ripley's Believe It or Not! in the 1930s as "the tallest one-room house in the world," this redwood along northern California's Redwood Highway was hollowed out by a fire some 300 years ago. But it's still alive and thriving, and although no one lives there now, the inside is home to some small mechanical toys that you can see for a few coins. Despite the Ripley's recognition, it doesn't appear that anyone actually lived in the house, though a road construction crew stayed there for a week in the 1920s when building the road. If you happen to find that this tree is closed, check out the nearby Living Chimney Tree, which is similar, minus the mechanical diversions.

3. CHAPEL OAK

A towering oak tree with a spiral staircase and two chapels carved into it.
Ji-Elle, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

As the oldest known tree in France, Le Chêne Chapelle ("the Chapel Oak") in the village of Allouville-Bellefosse has been around for at least 800 years, and some say it dates all the way back to the reign of Charlemagne. Though lightning struck the tree and rendered its center hollow during the 1600s, the tree managed to survive. A local abbot decided to make use of the hollow by erecting a shrine to the Virgin Mary inside; a second chapel and a staircase were later added. Sadly, the Chapel Oak isn't doing so well these days—the 33-foot trunk has died, and shingles cover the trunk where the bark is missing.

4. DRAGON BLOOD TREE

A large, mushroom-cloud shaped tree with reddish, vein-like branches.
Khaled Fazaa, Getty

The dragon blood tree, native to Yemen, doesn't just look cool from the outside—it also "bleeds" red sap. Because of its crimson color, it's been speculated that the dragon's blood sap was used to give Stradivarius violins their distinct hue.

5. RAINBOW EUCALYPTUS

Skinny tree trunks with brightly colored streaks running down the bark.

It's easy to see why this tree has such a colorful name, but how it gets its bright streaks is not as easy to explain. The ever-changing colors are due to the evolving bark of the eucalyptus. As the bark grows, it exfoliates thin layers of tissue, and as the layers peel off, the fresh, lime green bark underneath is revealed. As the exposed bark ages, it changes to dark green, then blue-purple, then pink-orange. The final stage before exfoliation starts again is a brownish-maroon hue, so the rainbow colors are really just different natural stages of bark development.

6. ANGEL OAK

A huge tree with massive outstretched branches in every direction.
MadeYourReadThis, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

At 65 feet tall and 28 feet in circumference, this massive oak tree on Johns Island near Charleston, South Carolina, provides shade to an area of about 17,000 square feet. Oak trees usually grow up instead of out, but since this one is somewhere between 400 and 500 years old, it's had plenty of time to do both. The Angel Oak gets its name from former owners Justus and Martha Waight Tucker Angel, but the tree is now owned by the City of Charleston.

7. BIKE IN A TREE

A tree embedded in the bark of a tree.
Sean O'Neill, Flickr // CC BY-ND-2.0

There's a sad story that goes along with this bike that has been overtaken by a tree with an appetite—it's said that a young boy who lived on Vashon Island, Washington, left his bike leaning against the trunk in 1914, then went off to war, and never came back to retrieve it. Fortunately, it's made up. The real story, according to resident Helen Puz, isn't quite so heartstring-tugging. In 1954, her 8-year-old son, Don, inherited a girl's bike. He wasn't too happy about riding it, so when the bike somehow got "misplaced," Don didn't look too hard for it. Fast-forward 40 years, when Puz read an article in the local paper about a bike that had been lifted five feet off the ground by a tree that grew up around it. She checked it out, and realized that Don's long-lost bike had been found.

8. CROOKED TREES OF POLAND

A series of oddly curved tree trunks that seem to be naturally occurring.

Thought to have been planted in the early 1930s, 400 50-foot pine trees near Gryfino, Poland, bend sharply at the trunk in a manner that has scientists baffled. If the structure was the result of a genetic mutation, the trees would curve in places other than the base. And if the cause was environmental—say, snow weighing down the trunks as they were newly formed—then surrounding trees of the same type and age should have been similarly affected. One hypothesis is that local farmers manipulated the trees to curve for furniture purposes, but were prevented from harvesting them when World War II broke out.

9. THE SUNLAND BAOBAB

A group of people stand in a line in front of a very wide baobab tree
South African Tourism, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

With a circumference of 154 feet, the Sunland Baobab in Modjadjiskloof, South Africa, was once famous for being the widest Baobab in the world. Carbon-dated at around 1700 years old, the tree began to hollow out at around 1000 years old—which made it perfect for a small bar inside. Sadly, a large branch representing about one-third of the tree split off in 2016, causing a lot of damage and permanently closing the bar inside.

10. STRANGLER FIG

A tree trunk with a natural, strange white lattice over it.
Poyt44, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The lattice on the tree above may be beautiful, but it's also deadly—the intricate pattern is actually the strangler fig slowly squeezing the life out of the tree it envelops. The fig tree grows when a bird or other animal drops its sticky seed in the branches of another tree. The seed is able to thrive on the tree's surface, and as it grows, its long roots reach down the host tree and, eventually, into the ground. The strangler fig can be found in tropical and subtropical zones, and is a frequent sight in southern Florida and the Keys.

11. MONKEY PUZZLE TREE

A tall tree with no branches or leaves on most of the trunk, only at the top - it resembles an umbrella. A blue sky with clouds is in the background.

The national tree of Chile is certainly a distinctive one. Though the Araucaria araucana is more pyramid-shaped when it's young, it becomes rather top-heavy as it ages—and it can really age. Monkey puzzles can live to be up to 2000 years old and reach heights of about 164 feet. As a conifer, it produces edible cones called "piñones." Now, about that unusual name: Legend has it that in the 1850s, when the trees were becoming popular as decorative plantings in English gardens, noted lawyer Charles Austin looked at one and remarked, "It would puzzle a monkey to climb that."

12. THE BOAB PRISON TREE

A stout, thick tree with a skinny, vertical knothole in the middle. It's surrounded by a fence.
Martin Kraft, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

There's a dark legend surrounding this unique boab tree in Western Australia: It's said that the tree's human-sized knothole made it the perfect prison cell during the 1890s, when Aboriginal prisoners were on their way to Derby for sentencing. Although the tree is on the State Heritage Register as "prison boab tree" and the signage around the tree acknowledges this supposed history, there doesn't appear to be much evidence for the tree being used as a cage.

13. BUDDHA HEAD IN A TREE

A head from a Buddha statue entwined in tree roots.
ironypoisoning, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

No one is quite sure how this Buddha head got so perfectly entwined in the roots of this tree at the Wat Mahathat temple in Ayutthaya, Thailand, but there are plenty of theories. The statue was likely decapitated in 1767, when the Burmese army invaded and destroyed the ancient temple. The temple was abandoned until the 1950s, when restoration work began, and that's when the statue head was discovered. One theory is that the perfect juxtaposition happened to occur naturally when the statue piece fell within the tree roots just right. Another is that a thief placed it there to hide it in the 1900s, which is when part of the temple collapsed due to treasure hunters.

However it happened, the head is there to stay—a guard is now stationed nearby to make sure that souvenir-hunting tourists don't get too grabby.

14. ÁRBOL DE TULE

A wide tree with a circumference of 137.8 feet.

At more than 32 feet in diameter and about 114 in height, the Árbol del Tule in the town of Santa María del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico, is considered to be the broadest tree in the world. In fact, the Montezuma cypress is so stout that scientists once thought it was actually a few trees that had somehow merged together, but modern testing has revealed that the 1500-year-old tree really is just a single trunk.

15. CYPRESS TREE TUNNEL

A tunnel formed by very tall Cypress trees with a paved road between the two rows.
sodai gomi, Flickr // CC-BY-2.0

Planted sometime around 1930, this Monterey cypress tunnel at Point Reyes National Seashore, a park reserve in Marin County, California, marks a historic wireless transmission site that still stands today.

16. THE CIRCUS TREES

The "legs" of a tree span a sidewalk, creating a tunnel that can easily be walked under.

In 1947, a Swedish American farmer named Axel Erlandson turned his tree-shaping hobby into a tourist attraction. Erlandson, who had a knack for creating living art with trees and plants, was constantly experimenting with grafting trees together and encouraging multiple trunks to grow into one. When he had 60-70 fairly mature examples of artfully twisted trunks and branches, he dug them up and relocated them near Santa Cruz, California. The attraction garnered some attention from Ripley's Believe It or Not! and LIFE magazine, and in 1963, Erlandson sold his grove of "Circus Trees." Sadly, he passed away in 1964 without telling anyone how he shaped the trees. "I talk to them," he was fond of telling anyone who asked.

Though they've passed from owner to owner through the years, these days, the trees are a main attraction at the Gilroy Gardens theme park.

17. DARK HEDGES

Two rows of gnarled trees reaching out over a path.

They're just beech trees, but the gnarled, foreboding tunnel they form has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland. The trees—about 150 of them—were planted 200 years ago by the Stuart family, who wanted to create an intimidating entrance to their house. Known as "the Dark Hedges," the cluster of trees have made a handful of appearances in TV shows and movies. Hoping to keep the trees healthy for another two centuries, the Department of Infrastructure recently banned vehicles from driving on the road.

18. WINDBLOWN TREES OF NEW ZEALAND

A copse of trees that look as if they are being forcefully blown to the right by wind. Sheep graze in the grass at the bottom of the trees.

These macrocarpa (a type of cypress) trees in New Zealand may look like they're windblown, but they retain their extreme angles even on a calm day. The strange bend is the result of saplings surviving and thriving in the windy environment. The manager of the farm where the trees live says their photogenic branches conceal a secret—the ruins of a house that sheep now use for shelter.

19. THE SCREAMING TREE

A tree trunk with 3 knotholes resembling two eyes and a mouth open in a scream.
Pleuntje, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

This tree in the Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen nature reserve near Ghent in Belgium has knotholes that makes it resemble Edvard Munch's 1893 painting The Scream.

20. THE TREE OF LIFE

A tree perched precariously between two cliffs, with the roots dangling down into the empty space between the two formations.
daveynin, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Also known as the Tree Root Cave, this tree, located in Olympic National Park near Kalaloch, Washington, has managed to survive even though erosion has removed most of its support system.

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