Illustration by Mike LeeIN 1983, RONALD REAGAN (SANTA FE TRAIL, Murder in the Air) did prime-time panel for the Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDI. The idea was to provide between $200 billion and $1 trillion in federal corporate welfare for friends of Edward Teller, the Godfather of Livermore Labs, manufacturers of The Cold War, by building a large, friendly matrix of space- and ground-based nuclear X-ray lasers, subatomic particle beams and computer-guided projectiles to protect the planet from space- and ground-based nuclear X-ray lasers, subatomic particle beams and computer-guided projectiles.
Reagan's promotional tour was cut short when his attorneys discovered several possible copyright infringements. Let's review:
1977 – 1983
Jimmy Carter is president of the United States. George Lucas is president of Lucasfilm Ltd. On May 25, 1977, Lucasfilm Ltd. releases a motion picture called Star Wars. Star Wars becomes the biggest-grossing film of all time and so receives Academy Awards for editing, sound, art and set decoration, costume design, a special-achievement award for sound effects, and even Best Score for John Williams' ripoff of Gustav Holst's The Planets (written during World War I).
21 May 1980: Lucasfilm Ltd. releases The Empire Strikes Back, a sequel to Star Wars that sets a new industry record for the highest single-day per-theater grossing: Every opening show at every opening theater sells out.
Despite the popularity of both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, Jimmy Carter loses his re-election bid; Ronald Reagan (Cattle Queen of Montana, The October Surprise) becomes president of the United States in January 1981 and declares the Soviet Union (Dr. Zhivago, Reds) the “evil empire.”
1983 – 1989
Reagan claims SDI will protect America “the way a roof protects a family from rain.” Before he can forget he mentioned it, mainstream critics and the international scientific community declare SDI a folly and a flop, dubbing it “Star Wars.” Lucasfilm Ltd., meanwhile, flourishes with the likes of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Ewok and Droid Adventure Hour on ABC and Captain EO at Disneyland.
In 1989, Reagan retires to a modest bungalow on St. Cloud Road in Bel Air, a gift from “friends” who change the gift's address from 666 to 668 to avoid copyright infringements with the anti-Christ.
The Strategic Defense Initiative slips into media oblivion.
1989 – 1999
Most of a decade passes with nary a quip or byte about Reagan's “Star Wars.” Then, on November 20, 1998, Lucasfilm Ltd. releases a 15MB QuickTime teaser-trailer for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (available at https://www.starwars.com). Congress scrambles for market share by (1) broadcasting relentless promos for high-tech weaponry (“Operation Allied Force”) on CNN; (2) capitalizing on The Phantom Menace's publicity fallout with a new print-ad campaign for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO), Clinton's toned-down version of SDI from 1993; and (3) passing a cryptic, 15-word bill: “It is the official policy of the United States to deploy a national missile defense.”
But it's no use. On Thursday, March 11, 1999, Lucasfilm Ltd. releases a 25MB QuickTime sequel to its 15MB teaser-trailer from the past November, for a total of 40MB. The nonteaser-sequel to the teaser-trailer brings hard-earned victory to Lucasfilm Ltd.: “Over three-and-a-half-million downloads in five days makes this the biggest Internet download event in history,” says Steve Jobs, “interim” CEO at Apple, manufacturers of QuickTime. Fin.
Reagan's occupation of the property formerly known as 666 St. Cloud Road is one of many disturbing connections that the alleged Gipper shares with the equally lovable Beast of Revelation, made famous in the New Testament, the popular sequel to the Bible. Bill Freese of Montana has made a little chart modestly titled “Evidence that Ronald Reagan Was the Beast of Revelation” (https://www.student.montana.edu/~iedbf/reagan.html) so that we might “get this 'Ronald Reagan was the Beast' thing straightened out once and for all.”
Stanley Kubrick anticipated the question, “What do you get when you cross 'Star Wars' with Star Wars?” and answered it in 1964 with Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Sterling Hayden as the Reagan/
Darth Vader character, Col. Jack D. Ripper, delivers a moving marketing campaign in the first act, the precious-bodily-fluids climax of which you can download in QuickTime form courtesy of E! Online (https://22.214.171.124/Hot/Realtime/Ryan/Warmovies/Video/dr_strangelove.mov).
As the name implies, Abandoned Missile Base VR Tour (https://www.xvt.com/users/kevink/silo/site.html) documents Kevin Kelm's verboten exploration of an old missile base with photos and text. Secretly situated somewhere directly above the center of the Earth, the former home to three Titan I missiles and their entourages from 1963 to 1965 has been embellished with graffiti, vermin and other gifts of time. As it's a felony to visit in person, Kelm's VR tour, though devoid of anything VR, is a nice, safe way to get in touch with your inner paranoid nut.