Global Voices

Digging up the lost George Lucas Japanese 1980s TV commercials

Japanese Twitter has unearthed a series of 1980s Japanese TV commercials featuring George Lucas singing the praises of consumer electronics giant Panasonic.
George Lucas in 6 vintage Japanese STAR WARS commercials for Panasonic

Caption: “Always something new.” Screencap from YouTube, Twitter user Retoro_mode.

Japanese Twitter has unearthed a series of 1980s Japanese TV commercials featuring the American filmmaker George Lucas of Star Wars fame, singing the praises of consumer electronics giant Panasonic.

In the commercials, Lucas speaks in simple Japlish, ending with the tagline “Itsumo something new,” which can be directly translated as “always something new.”

This series of TV commercials is really cool.

George Lucas in a Panasonic TV commercial from 1988. I wonder all of these are still online? Tagging @retoro_mode 

Japanese Twitter user Midorin, who regularly posts nostalgic images and videos from the 1970s, 80s and 90s Japan on Twitter, shared several of the George Lucas Panasonic commercials, tagging fellow Twitter user retoro_mode, whose Twitter feed is an even bigger cornucopia of retro Japanese culture, to see more of the series of was available online.

In fact, the entire series of Lucas Panasonic commercials have been uploaded to YouTube.

From the late 1980s to the early 1990s — when Japan's booming “Bubble Economy” went bust — Western media stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Billy Joel, Brooke Shields and Eric Clapton frequently appeared on Japanese television to pitch products to an increasingly affluent audience. YouTube is a treasure trove of these largely forgotten commercials.

Lucas recorded six commercials in total for Panasonic that aired on Japanese television in 1987 and 1988, a few years after the release of Return of the Jedi. In one commercial, Lucas promotes the company's satellite television tuner and a television set. In another, he pitches Panasonic's “MacLord Movie”, at the time a high-end prosumer video camera. In another, Lucas and his new “creation”, a friendly robot named Sparky, sing the praises of a Panasonic VCR.

All six of George Lucas's television commercials for Panasonic can be found on YouTube:

Originally published in Global Voices.

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