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Happy Star Wars Day! Tell us Your Story!

On May 25th, 1977, the science fiction movie landscape changed forever. It’s hard to believe that a movie that opened in only 32 theaters (I said it was hard to believe) would end up being one of the most influential movies of all time. It’s just icing that it happened to be a science fiction movie.

This is how we remember it…

JP sez:

In 1977, I was nine years old and totally oblivious to most things movie, or even science fiction, related. The extent of my exposure to SF was watching Star Blazers after school. So, for most of that summer, I was blissfully unaware of the Star Wars phenomena sweeping the land. All that changed one lunch period shortly after school was back in session. I’m not sure what this says about elementary schools in Houston in the late ’70s, but they actually showed a 10 minute clip of the movie during lunch. And I remember, to this day, what scene they were showing: Han and Luke are dressed as Stormtroopers and they invade the control room with the R2-D2 and C3PO in tow.

That was enough for me. I made my mom take me to the theater in the Galleria (which is no longer there, the theater, the Galleria is still there) which, even several months after the release date, still had a line to get in to see the movie. I know you all can imagine the effect seeing Star Wars on the big screen with a theater full of people had on a 9 year old. I must have seen that movie at least five more times that year. And I became a Star Wars fanboy. Sure, that term didn’t exist back then, heck, the internet and blogs didn’t exist (as hard as it may be for you youngin’s to believe, its true) so the term hadn’t been coined. But the malady was present and well represented in society. At that time, its ok to be a Star Wars geek. Almost everybody was. Heck, you could go to Burger King and get your commemorative Star Wars glasses, and everyone did (which my mom threw out). And from the coffers of the King, a media tie-in merchandising empire was born. Check out some of the cool stuff you can find today.

I bought books, records (you know, the big black things with lines on them that play sounds), trading cards and, above all else, the action figures. If only I still had those today, but, sadly, they are probably decomposing at the bottom of a trash heap somewhere in Texas. But I had a blast playing with them and I credit Star Wars with making me the science fiction fan that I am today. We may never again see a movie that has as much impact as Star Wars did, but we’ll always have the original Star Wars.

The one where Greedo shot first. Damn you Lucas.

John sez:

My recollection of Star Wars is not nearly as lucid as JP’s. I remember seeing in in a drive-in theater. The way it was meant to be seen….sitting on top of the station wagon, hearing the pebbles crunching underfoot of the people as they passed you on the way to get some popcorn…Not that many did. Our eyes were glued to the screen in wonder. As influential as the movie was, I can’t say it profoundly affected me. I didn’t rush out and get my fanboy tattoo and start queuing up again and again. In fact, I even missed The Empire Strikes Back when it hit the theaters, if you can believe that. I know, a sad thing to say for someone who has a science fition blog. It wasn’t until Return of the Jedi that the fever finally hit me.

To quote myself on that experience:”The hype was HUGE in 1983 and and me and a couple of buddies skipped school to see an early showing at the local RKO theater. We waited in line for hours to get in and just as the previous showing let out, my friend’s brother (who saw the earlier showing) saw us and blurted out ‘Darth Vader dies!!!’ Serious suckage.”

Rest assured that I have come to terms with my fanboyishness. Star Wars may not be Shakespeare, but it sure is a helluva lot of fun.

Now tell us your story!

About JP Frantz (2322 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

10 Comments on Happy Star Wars Day! Tell us Your Story!

  1. It was summer in Germany, I was nine and my mum allowed me to watch some tv in the evening. At the end of the news they showed a short scene from Star Wars and it was then when I heard the Stuka-like siren howl of Tie fighter for the first time, saw Luke behind the laser cannons of Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon – dark universe backdrop, bright laser beams, red and yellow explosions – it made me get up and I stood agape in front of the tv.

    And later, my cousin had one of those huge AT-ATs, man, did we attack! πŸ˜€

  2. Cool. I love hearing peoples first Star Wars experiences.

  3. Whatever good will this franchise has earned in my youth has been obliterated by the relentless marketing, PC reinvisioning, and the more recent pitiful attempts at “epic” storytelling.

    Besides, it’s actually Towel Day: πŸ™‚

  4. My contribution to the anniversary is an article where a dozen writers share their memories of the first time they saw Star Wars.

  5. “Whatever good will this franchise has earned in my youth has been obliterated by the relentless marketing, PC reinvisioning, and the more recent pitiful attempts at “epic” storytelling.”

    I’m sorry to hear that. I guess for me there is nothing anyone could do to ruin the wonder of what Star Wars was to me in my youth. The relentless marketing is the way the world is now, it is not just a Star Wars thing. And I have yet to see a case where kids don’t get all the newest toys and end up not liking the series, even the original ones. I know several young children that even today like the original series better. I’m glad the marketing has made it cool for kids to rediscover what is even now considered ‘classic’ science fiction.

    My first SW experience was at the drive-in with my parents. I was hooked instantly and thus began my love affair with science fiction. Soon after I read my uncle’s copy of the novelization of the movie several times followed by Brian Daley’s Han Solo novels, as they were released and Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. This led to me trying other science fiction authors and the rest is history.

    Star Wars was a powerful, iconic film whose story, however much some people want to criticize it, speaks to the very foundations of what we have all loved about story throughout time: the triumph of good over evil, the hope that there is a little good in all of us, the arising of a hero from humble beginnings. It is great stuff.

  6. I didn’t mean to bring you down, Carl! I remember the original film fondly, but Lucas single-handedly changed the face of film merchandising. NPR says it, so it must be true: πŸ™‚

  7. When Star Wars originally released I was living with my family in Huntsville, Alabama and fortunately my father was friends with the owner of a duplex cinema there. My brother and I were so in to the original movie that my Dad would just drop my brother and I off at the movie theater and we would sit though every single showing of Star Wars that day. We never got sick of it. I think my brother and I actually complained when the owner had to send the film back to the distributer.

    Man those were simpler times. It was safe then to leave kids in a small town like that. Now even small towns are unsafe. Just like the recent Star Wars films… they are unsafe. πŸ˜‰

  8. I remember being 5 when I saw it first in the theater, so that would have made it late summer 1978, was it even still in theaters at that point?

    Anyway, it was a Sunday afternoon. After church my brother and youngest sister (both well older than I) and their friends took me with them to see it at a local theater. I loved it!

    The rest is, as they say, history.

  9. scotchneat // May 27, 2007 at 5:15 pm //

    I was in Grade 4 and had a very cool teacher, as evidenced by the fact that he took us to see Star Wars as a field trip! Picture 26 raptured kids – no fidgeting, no fighting, no talking – just big-eyed wonder at what was going on on the screen.

    We were each of us Luke, and Leia, and Hans. Cried for R2D2. Clapped out loud for the final showdown.

    I’ve seen the movie many times since then, and it always brings me back to that theatre.

  10. I was in Grade 4 too, when I saw it. I had collected the cards and all the kids had seen it or were going to see it. My parents weren’t sure at the time, they had to watch their budget. I actually was hugely disappointed that I might not see it. I begged my parents. Friends of theirs kept on telling them how amazing it was so finally we all went to see it. It brought our family together. My dad said it was the greatest movie he had ever seen. It still is mine.

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