This Kolchak guest-star was the astrologer for both Star Wars and Ronald Reagan
Joyce Jillson read the stars to pick May 25, 1977, for Star Wars!
You can find all kinds of interesting people on classic television, and we're not talking about the stars. Actually, in this case, we are talking about the stars — literally.
Joyce Jillson is probably best known for a small recurring role on Peyton Place. The blonde played Jill Smith in more than 50 episodes of the provocative Sixties soap. Columbo fans might recognize her from "Any Old Port in a Storm." We spotted her in an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, "The Energy Eater." In the tale, Kolchak faces a monster of legend called the Matchemonedo. It also features a tricky toaster and lines of dialogue like "My rocks are melting." It's great fun.
Anyway, we're here to talk about Jillson. When not starring as the title character in cheeky Seventies fare like Superchick (in which she played flight attendant Tara B. True, a.k.a. the "Superchick"), Jillson practiced astrology. She became the official studio astrologer for 20th Century Fox. Yes, Hollywood studios employed astrologers.
Jillson studied the constellations and planets to determine the best release dates for films. It was her idea to released Star Wars on May 25, 1977. That seemed to work out pretty well.
Before you laugh this all off as mumbo-jumbo, know that Jillson also advised Ronald and Nancy Reagan. According to her obituary in The New York Times, Jillson advised Reagan to pick George H.W. Bush as his VP.
As a writer and seer, Jillson saw her astrology column published in hundreds of newspapers around the country, including the Los Angeles Times.
It just goes to show — it pays to pay attention to the supporting cast. And, er, Mars and Venus, too?