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Blue Harvest was a fake working title used to hide the 1981–1983 production of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, the third installment of the Star Wars film series. The supposed film was alleged to be an upcoming horror film with the tag line "Horror Beyond Imagination."

The title is a parody of Red Harvest, a novel by Dashiell Hammett, whose plot has been used for several movies including Yojimbo, A Fistful of Dollars and Last Man Standing.

Usage during principal filming

The title was used in all areas where deemed necessary. The Blue Harvest ruse, credited to producer Howard Kazanjian, was very thorough, emblazoning the fictitious film's logo on a wide range of film production items including shirts, caps, coats, buttons, signs, invoices and stationery. The Blue Harvest façade did give a bit of a wink and nod to its true purpose however, as the supposed film's logo (intentionally or unintentionally) used the distinctive Star Wars logo font.

In particular the ruse was employed during location filming in Yuma, Arizonamarker. The filming took place in the dunes over the Thanksgiving holiday, where there was a reported crowd of 35,000 dune buggy enthusiasts. Despite erecting a chain link fence, employing a huge security force, and dodging myriad press inquiries, in the end, approximately sixty fans saw through the ruse and refused to leave until they obtained a few autographs and photos.

Blue Harvest adopted in other areas

The Blue Harvest front was not only used during the principal photography for Return of the Jedi, but was also adopted in other areas such as a retro T-shirt that was made by ILM in the 1990s, a cardboard mailer tube to disguise the shipments of Revenge of the Jedi (the working title for the film) posters, an episode of the 1985–1987 Star Wars animated series Star Wars: Ewoks, and even a popular Star Wars fanzine. The name Blue Harvest is widely known by Star Wars fans today.

"When shooting Jedi in the United States we called the film Blue Harvest. Camera slates, invoices, hotel reservations, call sheets, production reports, and crew hats and T-shirts all read Blue Harvest. So when a visitor would ask, 'what are you shooting' and we said Blue Harvest, they went on their way. Can you imagine what would have happened if we had said, 'We're shooting the next film in the Star Wars trilogy'?" —Howard Kazanjian, producer


While filming The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas found that services would increase their charges based on the speculated high budget. The false title prevented this from occurring during filming of Return of the Jedi.

Steven Spielberg can be seen wearing a Blue Harvest cap during the filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in the Indiana Jones: Making The Trilogy documentary on the bonus disc of the 2003 Indiana Jones DVD box set.

Around 1997, the website www.blueharvest.com began redirecting web browsers to www.starwars.com.

An episode of the Fox animated television series Family Guy entitled "Blue Harvest" is, in fact, an hour-long parody not of Return of the Jedi, but the original film, A New Hope.

Blue Harvest is the title of a story arc in the Dark Horse Comics series Star Wars: Dark Times.

Blue Harvest was also the name of a fake company used to receive all of the now bankrupt Factor 5 video game company. [63097]

References


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