BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We are playing this week with Alonzo Bodden, Amy Dickinson and Mo Rocca. And here is your host at the Schuster Performing Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio...
KURTIS: ...Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill.
SAGAL: Is time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff The Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
ELLEN SHERMAN: Hi, this is Ellen Sherman. I'm calling from New York City, from Manhattan.
SAGAL: I should've known.
SAGAL: You just - you're just a New Yorker. You sound that way. What do you do there?
SHERMAN: Well, I'm a documentary writer and producer. And I'm also working on my first book.
SAGAL: Hey, that's terrific. What's the book about?
SHERMAN: It's actually a fictionalized memoir of a girl's life in London in the early '70s so...
SAGAL: All right, so you're writing a memoir about yourself as a young woman?
SAGAL: Yeah. Can you tell us one thing you changed because you could?
SHERMAN: Actually, the funny thing is I gave myself a worse mother.
MO ROCCA: A worse mother or even worse mother?
SAGAL: Ellen, it's great to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Ellen's topic?
KURTIS: Use the Force, Peter.
SAGAL: "Star Wars." It's everywhere. Cereal, boxes, Legos. You're happy about it.
SAGAL: Darth Vader was just named as Steve Bannon's replacement at the White House.
SAGAL: This week, we heard about "Star Wars" showing up, though, somewhere we had not expected to see it. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the real one, and you'll win our prize, the voice of Carl Kasell saying, leave a message you should, on your voice mail.
SAGAL: All right. First up, let's hear from Alonzo Bodden.
ALONZO BODDEN: Vladimir Putin loves to have himself photographed doing macho things, like hunting tigers and scuba diving for treasure. But one thing he apparently didn't want to be photographed doing is playing in his personal replica of the Millennium Falcon.
BODDEN: A Russian dissident website has posted aerial photos taken by drone of Putin and his oligarch friends doing battle in exact reproductions of "Star Wars" spaceships.
BODDEN: It's amazing says Marguerita Collins (ph) an expert on Putin at Human Rights Watch. The ships are large enough to ride in and armed with paintball guns. The remote area they battle in has rocks that represent asteroids and what I thought was a moon in the center. But as it turns out, that's no moon.
BODDEN: The object of the battle seems to be to capture the Death Star. They have a few X-Wing fighters and a couple of star destroyers but only one Millennium Falcon, which only moves when Putin is present. The series of photographs ended when players noted the drone above them and turned their fire on it. Mr. Putin himself is seen to say something that seems to be (speaking Russian) or Russian for, it's a trap.
SAGAL: Photographs show Vladimir Putin playing his very own Millennium Falcon lead production. Next, this is the story you're looking for. It's from Amy Dickinson.
AMY DICKINSON: The Yogi Bear amusement park in Estonia is modeled after a mini Disneyland but populated by Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters. All was peaceful in this little kingdom until last week when the park's owner did a little licensing deal at a trade show in Gdansk. And that's when Jar Jar Binks was suddenly added to the cast.
DICKINSON: Igor Acep (ph), who played Huckleberry Hound, describe what happened to the BBC. First of all, his costume is stupid. Who has ears down to his elbows?
DICKINSON: He looks like a giraffe had sex with a basset hound.
DICKINSON: Second, he is stupid. That guy don't know comedy. The others and I, we decided quickly that we would kill him. Not kill the poor guy inside the costume. But Jar Jar Binks himself. As Igor explained, first, Betty Rubble - she flirts with him. And, like a fool, he follows her on to the rollercoaster. When he lands, Tom and Jerry - they go after him. Well, Jerry mostly. They chase him into the Scooby-Doo fun house dog house and Scooby and MaGilla Gorilla - they basically take him out.
DICKINSON: The next morning, Jar Jar Binks's empty costume was hoisted above the park on a crane perhaps as a warning to any interested Wookies or Ewoks out there.
DICKINSON: The actor inside the costume was treated for cuts and bruises but says he doesn't have any hard feelings. He released a statement, I get it. I hated Jar Jar, too.
SAGAL: Jar Jar Binks makes a sudden appearance and then an even more sudden exit from a theme park in Estonia. Your last story from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away comes from Mo Rocca.
ROCCA: When Saudi Arabia's King Faisal signed the United Nations Charter in 1945, it was a proud moment for the kingdom. Immortalized in a photograph his subjects know well, a retinue of princes and ministers bear witness as his royal highness, the king, sits pen in hand at a table next to his good friend Yoda. Say what?
ROCCA: A doctored photograph of the king and the Jedi master created by the artist Abdulah Al Shehri (ph) somehow ended up in a Saudi high school textbook. And well, the Shiite hit the fan.
ROCCA: Quote, "I am the one who designed it," admitted Shehri, who admired Faisal's wisdom. I found that Yoda was the closest character to the king. But he says he had nothing to do with it ending up in the textbook. The blame has fallen on education ministry official Mohammad Harthy (ph), who was promptly fired. His whereabouts are unknown. Don't be surprised to see a Saudi personal ad reading, ousted official looking for Saudi lady to drive me the hell out of here.
SAGAL: All right. So "Star Wars" in some fashion popped one of these places. Was it from Alonzo Bodden in a private recreation yard for Vladimir Putin, where he drives around the Millennium Falcon? From Amy Dickinson, in a theme park in Estonian normally populated by Hanna-Barbera characters where Jar-Jar showed up? Or from Mo Rocca, how Yoda appeared in a Saudi Arabian high school history textbook appearing at the dawn of Saudi Arabia? Those are your choices. What do you think?
SHERMAN: I'm going to go with the last one.
SAGAL: You're going to go with the last one.
SAGAL: Your choice then is Mo's story about Yoda appearing in a Saudi textbook. Well, we spoke to a reporter familiar with the real story.
TIMOTHY LEE: The textbook showed an iconic photo of King Faisal...
SAGAL: That was Timothy Lee. He's a staff writer from Ars Technica talking about the amazing picture of Yoda at the founding of Saudi Arabia in that country's textbook. Congratulations, you got it right.
SHERMAN: Oh, yay.
SAGAL: Mo was telling the truth. You've earned a point for him and a point - that is Carl's voice - for yourself. Congratulations.
SHERMAN: Thank you.
SAGAL: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YODA")
WEIRD AL YANKOVIC: (Singing) I met them in a swamp down in Dagobah where it bubbles all the time like a giant carbonated soda. S-O-D-A - soda. I saw the little runt sitting there on a log. I asked him his name, and in a raspy voice, he said Yoda. Y-O-D-A - Yoda.
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