Over the years, there’s been plenty of talk about the direction of Mark Hamill‘s career after his famous turn as Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy. Since the trilogy Hamill has gone on to do several unmemorable action-thriller films, tons of voice work (most notably as The Joker in the Batman animated universal), and a few turns guest-starring as himself in television shows like Just Shoot Me.
But does anyone remember Hamill’s roles pre-Star Wars: A New Hope?
I do! I do!
In late 1976, Hamill guest-starred on an episode of the sitcom One Day At A Time, where he played Harvey, the thieving nephew of building custodian Schneider, in an episode titled “Schneider’s Pride & Joy.” In the episode, he was visiting his uncle, helping him out with maintenance work in the apartment building, but it turns out he was actually stealing pricey items like tape recorders (ha ha, tape recorders!) and cameras from the residents.
You can watch the Minisode (a truncated version of the half-hour episode) right here below.
One Day At A Time was a series I watched all the time as a kid, and while I was very young when this episode first aired, I do remember seeing it in re-runs a few years later. By the time I was 10, I was a full-blown Star Wars fanatic and hopelessly in love with Mark Hamill. Anything he was in, I had to see it. I had this thing as a kid where I’d *read* the TV Guide — yes, this was pre-Internet, so reading the TV Guide was a way to find out lots of information. Anyhow, I’d scan the TV Guide each week looking for anything that said Mark Hamill, and one of the items I always looked for was this episode of One Day At A Time.
While I totally loved Hamill being on a show I watched all the time, boy was I heartbroken that he was a petty thief. WHY?!?! Why oh why did they had to make him immoral? I was so excited when Harvey and Barbara (Valerie Bertinelli, my favorite TV actress at that time — still dig her) totally hooked up. What a cute couple! Then he had to go and steal more shit. Boo!
The Minisode hits all of the good shots and luckily has very little of Schneider (found him annoying then and more so now), but I’m pretty sure it leaves out the dramatic ending. If I remember correctly (and feel free to let me know if I’m mistaken), Schneider gives Harvey quite the lecture after he learns the truth about the nephew he loves so much. I think someone was going for the Emmy moment!
By the way, if someone finds the episode of The Partridge Family where Hamill starred as a boy who dates Laurie, let me know. [Anyone remember that one? Laurie gets braces and Mark Hamill’s character is trying to listen to a transistor radio the whole episode but keeps getting interference and it turns out it’s Laurie’s braces causing it!!! Damn, I want to see that one again.]