If you’ve read up on this and are holding your head in your hands as you try not to burst with laughter then good for you since you saw past the ‘obscenity’ of this Star Wars card featuring what seems like a very excited C-3PO in the oil bath that Luke gave him in Episode IV. After 40 years the lid is finally being lifted on this particular secret, and a lot of people can’t help but find it hilarious since if you do look at the Topps trading card it does seem as though the protocol droid was, for lack of a better word, stimulated after the oil bath. To think that parents actually went through their children’s Star Wars trading cards to check them all out (dads might not admit they were looking for Leia while moms might have been looking for Han) is kind of funny since in reality the ‘outrage’ was probably brought on by a few people who were local representatives of an organization or two that represented decent family values and couldn’t abide the strange unwelcome image of a robot becoming visually excited. It’s kind of funny really since the prissy, uptight droid would be the last character in the movie that you might ever expect to see in this manner. As Kevin Burwick from MovieWeb has written, even Anthony Daniels, who admits he has a sense of humor, wouldn’t bother to sign the card since he believes that the droid would never do something like this. And he would know after all.
As Cyriaque Lamar from Gizmodo has said, this card was pulled the moment that people finally noticed it and Topps had to perform some very quick and noted airbrushing techniques to market the card once again, though obviously those that had purchased and seen the card in their packs weren’t about to give them up unless their parents took them and shredded them. Thankfully some seem to have survived since they’re for sale on eBay for upwards of $100. They’re definitely not about to break the bank but they’re still worth something all the same since it’s the kind of slip that Star Wars fans are bound to notice since C-3PO is the kind of character that is all about propriety and proper appearance after all. Anthony Daniels has even gone on to state that if someone finds one of these cards with his signature on it then it’s a phony, the signature, not the card. He’s fully admitted that he would never sign one of these cards largely because he couldn’t bring himself to do so in the name of the character that he helped to make so popular. He does have a point, even if people decide to tell him that he’s been something of a spoilsport. It’s easy enough to understand his point of view though since this was his character and it deserves some respect.
Jake Rossen of Mental Floss tells the tale of how Anthony Daniels finally set the record straight about the strange protruding member in the image, stating that the oil bath was actually vegetable oil that had been warmed up so as simulate the look of the thing. Unfortunately what happened was that the oil somehow dissolved the strip of adhesive tape that was keeping the upper and lower parts of his costume together, and the result was the insanely big crease that the picture reveals as a very familiar bulge to many people. A lot of people had their own theories, as in someone thought that a person on the Topps team had somehow airbrushed a phallus into the picture just to be sneaky. The truth has finally come out after all these decades though and it’s kind of interesting to think about since it implies that for a long time the thought that someone was messing around was the only real explanation other than what George Lucas and a couple of others decided to pass off as the real reason why C-3PO seemed so excited. How many card collections do you think were confiscated or destroyed? Probably not many, but you can bet that the parents were probably rifling through their kids’ cards trying to find something, anything, that was considered to be just as bad. Of course if a droid phallus was the worst thing that Star Wars could have offered it wouldn’t be the franchise that so many people happen to love and have loved for a long time.
It’s amazing where people’s heads go to when they see an image their mind can’t reason away isn’t it? On the card it’s also easy to see how it might be misconstrued, but upon learning a little more about what happened and why you should be able to experience an ‘aha’ moment as you see just how innocent this really was.