15 MINUTES OF MARK ...On May 11, Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker of the ``Star Wars'' saga, visits a strange world of a different kind when he plays himself on NBC's ``3rd Rock From the Sun.''
In an episode entitled ``15 Minutes of Dick,'' alien commander Dick Solomon (John Lithgow) and family are bumped from a restaurant table in favor of Hamill. When Sally Solomon (Kristen Johnston) objects and assaults the actor, she becomes an instant celebrity.
Says Hamill: ``The best line in the whole piece was, for me, as someone prepares to come over and address me at my table in a restaurant, Harry Solomon, played by French Stewart, says, `Remember, he's a celebrity and therefore our superior.' Which is their take on it, which to me, is so hilarious.
``I won't give up my table, and believe me, Sally is one woman you want to be manhandled by. She picks me up by the lapels and just throws me across the room, and the audience loves that. They loved me being manhandled and humbled by this alien woman.''
Needing a reason for Hamill to be in the Solomons' Ohio hometown in the first place, Hamill proposed to producers Bonnie and Terry Turner that he come there to visit a local comic-book shop on a tour to promote his Dark Horse comic project, ``The Black Pearl.'' They agreed, and the idea led to one of Hamill's favorite scenes.
``Dick, played by John, comes marching into the store. He is livid at Sally's fame, because she becomes famous for beating me up at the restaurant. He comes marching into this comic-book store, and his only line was `Mark Hamill!' He stood bolt upright, his full six-foot-four, whatever he is, and bellowed these words as if they were the two most important words in the third act of a Shakespearean play.
``And the audience just died. I never heard anyone say my name and get that big a laugh. There's no reaction (for Lithgow) that's too small or to large. He can just do whatever he wants. it's like acting from his id or something. It's really spectacular to see.''
In the episode, Sally learns about the fickle nature of fame, something with which Hamill is very familiar. ``It's not that fame is such a horrible thing, it's just that you realize, once you turn the corner, there's no going back. There's no anonymity anymore. You become self-conscious in a way you weren't before.''
Hamill can next be seen on The Movie Channel on May 10 in the SF thriller ``When Time Expires,'' a time-travel story co-starring Richard Grieco, Cynthia Geary, Tim Thomerson and Chad Everett.