Found: The Dune studio-created cheat sheet handed out in 1984

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Dec 14, 2012, 4:51 PM EST

Once upon a time, David Lynch adapted Frank Herbert's classic eco-thriller, employing an international cast to aid him in getting much of the novel's vast scope and inherent weirdness on the screen. The studio that paid for it was so afraid audiences wouldn't be able to follow it that it gave moviegoers a Dune primer when they bought their tickets.

Looking at it on the surface, it's understandable why Universal wanted to hedge its bets. Dune is a sprawling story, with dozens of characters, many of whom have names that feel appropriately foreign. Hoping that a layperson could distinguish between a Shai-Hulud and a Gom Jabbar ("Doesn't he play for the Lakers?") wasn't the sure path to recouping a $40 million investment.

So Universal aimed to give would-be viewers a bit of a Dune 101 in the form of this two-page cheat sheet, which was handed out at theaters. Of course, without any context, this primer is more than a little confusing in and of itself, and thus pretty much useless—plus, how were you supposed to read it in the dark?

(Via Mondo)