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Billy Dee Williams, having gained a great deal of popularity in the '80s as the actor who portrayed Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars movies The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, was also briefly the official spokesperson for the curiously celebrated malt liquor Colt 45. He used the catch-phrase slogan "Colt 45 -- works every time."

His sponsorship has been referenced (but by no means immortalized) in the song 7-11 by Lionel Ritchie's Head: "Like Billy Dee, the master of jive / I've got a forty of Colt 45."

Any Star Wars fan worth their salt should know several jokes or parodies involving Lando and Colt 45. For example:

Darth Vader: Calrissian, take the princess, the Wookiee, and the Colt 45 to my ship.
Lando: This deal is getting worse all the time!

When I was younger I went through a period of time where I went to a lot of parties, usually two of them every weekend. I don't really miss that lifestyle, but my love life was certainly a lot better back then.

One thing I noticed fairly early on was how pretentious that a lot of these fairly young kids were about the beer they were drinking. Hoards of 16-22 year old kids who acted like they had some sort of refined palate and that they could only appreciate the "quality" stuff. "No, that's cool, I don't want any Natural Light, I brought some Bud Ice, you see I only drink the good stuff." Yes, that is right, for most of these kids "the good stuff" was Bud Ice, or something similar. We weren't even talking about an actual decent beer here, we were just talking about whatever the current cool offering from the big American brewers was. Of course we were in St. Louis, the home of Anheuser-Busch, but it was still rather funny. They could only drink the good stuff, even though they were just going to end up throwing it all up later.

After seeing that for a little while I started to rebel against that thinking. I started drinking the cheapest nastiest swill I could find: Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Milwaukee and several other brands whose names have escaped me. Those other brands were so cheap that you could only find them at the discount grocery store. From those I eventually moved onto 40 ounce bottles of various types. Those got quite a bit of notice on a party scene that essentially limited itself to various Anheuser-Busch products in 12 ounce cans, or from time to time in bottles, but usually cans.

Then one day I stumbled across a picture of Billy Dee Williams holding up a can of Colt 45, with a beautiful woman at his side. Right then and there I knew I had found my new beverage of choice. Now, I am a white guy, honestly I am about as white as you can get, but Billy Dee Williams had class and style. The man was Lando Calrissian for goodness sake. Billy had a message to bring the people, and that message was "It works every time!"

I am honestly not all that sure why G. Heileman Brewing company isn't still running those ads. Most of their popularity even today is probably based on those old advertisements. Billy Dee Williams himself seems to want to put some distance between Colt 45 and himself these days. He refuses to sign Colt 45 memorabilia at shows, which is a shame, really. It has become part of his legend, his character. You can almost imagine Lando kicking back after a day's work administrating Cloud City, putting his feet up and cracking open a Colt 45.

Lando Calrissian drinks Colt 45 because he is a gambler, and Colt 45 is a sure thing, because it works every time! And I drink Colt 45 because Lando does. Can you think of a better reason?

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