Friday, February 3, 2017

Reaping The Blue Harvest - A Look At Blue Harvest: A Star Wars Podcast.

This week, I wanted to continue my exploration of pop culture podcasts with a look at a show that I really look forward to in my podcast feed each Saturday morning.

Blue Harvest: A Star Wars Podcast is a show that has quickly come to be my Saturday soundtrack and I look forward to each episode in much the same way that I looked forward to Saturday morning cartoons as a kid - so it has the dual effect of being a satisfying listening experience as well as recalling those affetionate days of my childhood.

(image credit: H. Burkhardt.)

Here's a little nugget of trivia which Star Wars fans will appreciate. Blue Harvest takes its name from the long celebrated "code name" George Lucas gave to Return of the Jedi while it was in production. So concerned was Lucas in 1982 with potential leaks from the Yuma, Arizona set of the film, he concocted an elaborate cover for the production, dubbing it Blue Harvest: Horror Beyond Imagination. He even had T-Shirts and caps made up for the production team, merchandise which commands a high price amongst collectors today.

(image credit: Lucasfilm/Disney.)

Taking its name from that Lucas sleight of hand, Blue Harvest: A Star Wars Podcast is hosted by Birmingham, Alabama natives Hawes Burkhardt and Will Whitten. Together they bring a vast catalog of knowledge around Star Wars lore as well as a great enthusiasm and love for the franchise that has fomented in them from their earliest days of childhood.

Blue Harvest on-air team Hawes Burkhardt & Will Whitten (image credit: H. Burkhardt.)

Whereas sister podcast, Rogue Won: A Star Wars Podcast For Winners draws is strength from its comedic timing and a more bolshy presentation, Blue Harvest is a more intimate conversation between hosts and life long friends Burkhardt and Whitten. They explore Star Wars topics at length, discuss news and insights from the current productions with an authoritative voice and they wade into the tangential, exploring a wide variety of theoretical permutations in Star Wars story ideas and relish in the many "what if" scenarios those ideas throw up. I don't want to say that Blue Harvest is a more intellectual offering than its podcast mates across the Making Star Wars podcast network - but it does delve deeper into areas of Star Wars lore and culture, making it a unique show, unafraid to stand on its own.

Another appeal of Blue Harvest is Hawes Burkhardt and Will Whitten's commitment to musicians in Birmingham, providing a platform for them to showcase their music to a wider audience. The show's excellent opening theme has been generously provided to them by Birmingham metal band Stoned Cobra. A thumping metal track that builds from a subtle introduction, the song has been tweaked with some clever editing and includes key lines of dialogue from all six Star Wars films. These have been stategically placed throughout the crescendoing stanzas of the track and one can't help but get drawn into the powerful refrains from the lead guitar, especially when Darth Vader's voice rumbles satisfyingly along side it. It is a small aside but it helps to define the show in a really clever way.

Blue Harvest: A Star Wars Podcast takes the Star Wars fan conversation to another level and mixes old school childhood enthusiasm with world weary grown up affection to present a weekly show that is the perfect Saturday morning antidote after long working week.

I love it.

Subscribe to Blue Harvest: A Star Wars Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to Blue Harvest: A Star Wars Podcast on Podbean.

Connect with Blue Harvest: A Star Wars podcast here.

Tweet with Blue Harvest: A Star Wars Podcast here.


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