If you called the phone number on the “Chewbacca roar contest” fliers recently plastered around Philly and South Jersey to leave your best impression of Chewy from Star Wars, you made a Wookiee mistake.
Turns out the “contest” — which offered a $50 prize for the funniest or best impression of Chewbacca left on the phone number’s voice mail — was a prank.
One committed by a Padawan, at that.
The mastermind behind the prank was Noel Hecht, a freshman at Haddon Township High School in New Jersey, who put his unsuspecting friend’s number on the fliers as the call-in line for the Chewbacca roar contest.
“It definitely surpassed expectations,” Hecht said, of the response the posters received.
So does the $50 prize for the best Chewie roar even exist, or was it a trap worthy of Admiral Ackbar?
“I’m afraid not. I would have liked to have given out a $50 prize, but I don’t have the resources for that at the moment," Hecht, 14, said. “I just figured it would serve as good enticement.”
Someone ready the carbonite!
To choose the right target for his shenanigans, Hecht went through his list of buddies, narrowing it down to those who would find the prank funny and those who still use and listen to voice mail.
One friend, Seamus Taulane (who requested the pronunciation of his first name be spelled out as ‘Shay-mus’) is “good at taking jokes” and stood out above all of his other friends as the perfect candidate for the prank, Hecht said. The Inquirer has blurred out Taulane’s phone number on the flier so as to prevent future Wookiee roars on his already overloaded voice mail.
While calls to the phone are being sent directly to voice mail, Taulane, 14, did respond to The Inquirer via text and his mother gave The Inquirer permission to quote him for this article.
“I’ve lost track of the number of calls I’ve gotten,” Taulane wrote.
Once the idea for the prank came to Hecht in late January, he made 50 fliers as fast as the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run (12 parsecs). Then, he and two friends took public transportation and plastered them all over Philly and around Collingswood, Audubon, and Haddonfield in New Jersey. They also left one in Reading Terminal Market and one on a PATCO train.
As Yoda would say, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
Hecht figured Taulane would get between 20 and 100 calls. Turns out, he had a disturbing lack of faith.
“More like 500 calls and 150 voice mails,” Taulane said. “People are very determined when it comes to free money.”
Taulane said he got calls from kids who were as young as 8 to adults who are in their mid-50s.
“I listened to them all for the first few days, then stopped as I got the idea,” he texted. “I still get the occasional call now and then, but it has seemed to have died out, and sadly, there is no winner.”
Unfortunately, the Wookiee voicemails took up too much room on Taulane’s phone and he had to delete them, he said.
While Hecht said his friend had threatened Sith-level revenge, Taulane said he has no plans for retribution.
Which is exactly what we’d expect someone plotting revenge to say.