Duel of the Dorks - Original Opening
One of the frequent critiques of Duel of the Dorks is the fact that we simply decide to steal a newly-delivered poster from the theater. My tongue-in-cheek response is that there is no indication that we are playing upstanding employees. I mean, we go on a 7-minute lightsaber duel that moves through the bowling alley next door, where we don’t even work.
It should appease those particular critics to know that the idea of the imaginary duel with poster tubes as the lightsabers sprung from a very real skirmish in the back room of the theater between three of us theater employees. As such, we originally opened Duel of the Dorks in this room, with Tim and myself raiding old posters. We also conceived of the idea that we pulled lightsabers out of the fire extinguisher boxes, and were going to go so far as to comp in a label that said things like “Emergency use only; in case of Jedi…” etc. In retrospect, this was far more confusing than the onscreen handoffs we did in the final film.
Another large portion of the original opening that we later had to lose was a sequence thought up by one of the supervisors at the theater, Adam Geiger. He envisioned one of us attempting to use the Police Trainer arcade game to attack the other, having it not work, and then digging for quarters and having it fire real lasers. There was even a cheesy animation created for the Police Trainer screen that displayed myself and other graphics that lit up as Tim fired or I deflected a shot. We nearly finished the sequence, as you can see above, but had decided to restructure the buildup to be “faster, more intense.” We felt it lacked urgency, and since we were restructuring the whole film anyway, we were going to only keep the actual laser segment onward.
As it turned out, the Police Trainer game was taken out of the theater for repairs during the week we reshot the opening. Plus by then we had cut everything else and found we only had 40 seconds to work with in the opening, so we opted to skip the lasers and jump into the lightsaber action as soon as possible. So we shot enough to cut into the first lightsaber fighting shot from the original opening and went on from there, losing this entire opening, and Adam’s big contribution to the film. As a result, I felt inclined to share it, especially since we already had most of the visuals done.