Howard G. Kazanjian is a former Vice President of Lucasfilm Ltd. He co-produced Return of the Jedi with George Lucas. Kazanjian also produced for Lucas on Raiders of the Lost Ark, and was an uncredited producer on The Empire Strikes Back.
Kazanjian attended the University of Southern California, where he first met a young George Lucas. They became not only Delta Kappa Alpha cinema fraternity brothers but also longstanding friends. During those college years, Kazanjian and Lucas both met their respective future wives, and the couples would often double date.
As Vice President of Production for Lucasfilm, Howard Kazanjian was intimately involved in the day-to-day strategic and practical operations of Lucasfilm after the 1977 release of Star Wars until approximately 1984 or 1985.
Blue Harvest and Revenge of the Jedi
Kazanjian is credited with the idea to utilize the guise of filming a fictitious movie to disguise the actual production of Return Of The Jedi, thereby throwing off any press and nosy fans. The fictitious film was titled Blue Harvest, which was purported to be a horror film with the tag line "horror beyond imagination." Hats and t-shirts were printed for the crew to wear and to further add to the authenticity of the ruse.
At the same time, Kazanjian created the fictitious Revenge of the Jedi campaign, specifically to thwart black-market merchandisers who would often pre-empt official merchandising with knock-off items.[source?] Many of the items bearing the name Revenge of the Jedi have become rare and valuable collectors items.
In 2004 Kazanjian authored The Cowboy and the Senorita: A Biography of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans (ISBN 0-7627-3053-6) and Happy Trails: A Pictorial Celebration of the Lives of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans (ISBN 0-7627-3089-7).
Since 1998 Kazanjian has been Co-Chairman and 50% shareholder of Tricor Entertainment, Inc, an independent production company, which owns and operates a 19,000+ seat theater chain in Southeast Asia and a film distribution company.
Kazanjian lives and works in the small community of San Marino, California, with his wife, Carol, and three children.
As of 2009, Kazanjian and George Lucas remain close friends.
- 1981 Emmy award for The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark
- 1982 Inkpot Award winner