May 4 2013 9:00am

Happy May the 4th! Here’s How We Remember Star Wars

Happy May the 4th! Here's How We Remember Star Wars

Happy May the 4th, everyone! Remember when you took that first step into a larger world?

Below you’ll find some of the staff reminiscing on their most vivid Star Wars-related memories, including schoolboy awkwardness, acid dealers, and things that really should have scared us more than they did.

Share your own memories in the comments! 


Jedi Academy Trilogy Jedi SearchEmily Asher-Perrin (Editorial Assistant):

So many memories from my childhood involve Star Wars in some shape or form, but I think the one that stands apart from the rest actually has very little to do with Star Wars at all. It happened in junior high; I was at my most awkward (most of us are around that age), in a new school and plenty of the kids thought I was a spectacularly weird. I eventually discovered that this was mostly due to the fact that I read between classes and actually seemed to enjoy being in school—apparently, that was very uncool.

Right before math class one day, I was sitting at my desk reading a Star Wars book. A boy approached me tentatively:

Boy: Hey.
Me: Um. Hey.
Boy: That’s a good Star Wars book.
Me: ...Yeah.
Boy: *nod*

That was the entirety of the conversation, in all of its wince-worthy pre-teen glory. But that boy quickly became one of my very best friends and, all these years later, he still is. Just because he saw a girl at school reading a book that he liked. The tale of that first exchange has never stopped being funny to either of us and we get a laugh out of telling the story to people who don’t know us well, acting it out with all the floor gazing, confused blinking and half-stammers. I know that many of us often feel like there are certain people who we are “meant” to know, but sometimes the ways in which those people enter our lives are the most unexpected, inconsequential ones.

Sometimes, you just happen to be reading a Star Wars book before math class.


Ryan Britt (Staff Writer):

I have so many childhood memories associated with Star Wars that picking just one is almost as impossible as bulls-eying a womprat while doing a handstand with Jar-Jar Binks singing Lionel Richie songs in my ear. But here goes:

If you were into Star Wars at any point prior to the post-1997 hype, there was something a little purer about all the merchandising stuff. In 1990, I couldn’t buy a lightsaber toy even if I wanted to. This was just fine by me, as I had read that a true Jedi builds their own. Using pictures of Luke’s saber from my Return of the Jedi storybook, I hunted through my father’s tool shed for parts. (We fixed all our own cars at my house, and pretty much had a MacGuyver sensibility about any repairs.) This meant there was a lot of junk lying around in the shed; spare parts for all kinds of machines. The handle of my lightsaber was a discarded sprinkler shaft; the kind that would protrude up from the lawn and spray water all over the place. For the round emitter of Luke’s Jedi-era saber, I found an old engine piston and slipped it inside the sprinkler shaft. After spray-painting the whole thing silver, it was done.

Two things are great about my 10-year-old lightsaber creation. 1.) Anyone who sees it immediately knows it’s a lightsaber. 2.) It’s tiny. This lightsaber was made for a child’s hands, and as such is about as authentic as any lightsaber can get.


Carl Engle-Laird (Production Assistant):

In 1995 a set of THX remastered VHSes of the original trilogy were released. This was not, historically, one of the important re-releases of the Star Wars movies. It is far overshadowed by the 20th anniversary celebration edition that was released in 1997, in which George Lucas began to retouch his original vision with new dialogue and visuals. 1995 was, however, the more important release for me; it’s the release that spurred my parents to introduce me to the series. I was six years old.

Happy May the 4th Star Wars 1995 THX

My parents curated my early exposure to various media in a loving, but somewhat haphazard fashion, based on a program that I think was primarily determined by what was available at the local Blockbuster-knockoff store, a long-since-defunct brick and mortar called Sound Warehouse. But even through my youthful haze of near-total incomprehension, I could tell that my parents were presenting me with something special. We watched one Star Wars movie each week for three weeks, and I think that I’ve never been as anxious as during the six days between the end of The Empire Strikes Back and the beginning of Return of the Jedi.

A year or two later Sound Warehouse went out of business, and in the following fire sale I acquired two more great gifts: A VHS of Mortal Kombat and a VHS of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, each of which I watched upwards of twenty times. So thank you, Sound Warehouse, for giving me Star Wars, and for making my young tastes so weird.


The Ewok AdventureBridget McGovern (Managing Editor):

I guess it’s finally time for my dark secret to come to light: before I embraced my geek destiny as a Star Wars fan, I was in love with The Ewok Adventure. To be fair: I was five, and crazy about movies like The Dark Crystal, The Last Unicorn, and The Never-Ending Story, so the fact that the made-for-TV Ewok movies nudged the Star Wars universe even further away from its SF trappings into the more familiar realm of fantasy (complete with magic crystals and evil, parent-stealing trolls) made it a natural fit. And frankly, what kid didn’t want an Ewok best friend in the mid-eighties? It was only when I got a little older that I realized that the trilogy was actually far more interesting than whatever side stories were happening on the forest moon of Endor, but I still have to credit Wicket W. Warrick with sparking my interest in that galaxy, far, far away. (And it could have been way worse: luckily, I wasn’t exposed to the Star Wars Holiday Special until I was old enough to drink...).


Happy May the 4thPatrick Nielsen Hayden (Editorial Director):

I saw Star Wars in the first week of June, 1977, about a week after it opened. I lived in Toronto at the time, but I’d been attending Disclave, the then-annual Washington, DC science fiction convention, over Memorial Day weekend, and I then traveled to New York City with miscellaneous fannish friends. We went to the Loews’ theater off of Times Square.

It was an unforgettable cinematic experience, I’m sure, but specific memories of it are much overlaid with memories of subsequent viewings, of other (and mostly lesser) Lucas films, and of later adventure SF influenced by it. What remains vivid in memory is less the film itself than the vignette, inside the theater, of New York City at the far end of its endless cycle of decay and regeneration. “Loose joints, loose joints,” cried a scruffy drug dealer as he ambled up and down the aisles, just like a popcorn seller at a baseball game. “Acid, loose joints, acid. If there’s a cop in the audience, gimme a break, I gotta make a living.” The air was thick, and not just because people still smoked tobacco in movie theaters in 1977. No cops presented themselves. From the row behind us came a stinging chemical smell. “Amyl nitrate,” a friend explained to me. “You know, poppers.”

This is the New York City that time forgot, the city cast adrift, FEDS TO NY: DROP DEAD. No money, no future, an overheated stew of decline looking forward to more decline. This was the New York City in which vast tracts of Manhattan that are today crowded with shoppers were then bleak stretches of “urban decay.” This was also the New York City of the high summer of punk rock, a time when real, working artists and musicians and writers could afford to crowd into Manhattan. This was the actual Wild West on which we’ve now built Frontierland.

In effect, I first saw Star Wars in Bellona. I remember Bellona.

Stubby the Rocket is the voice and mascot of and can make any kind of run in a limited number of parsecs.

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Margot Virzana
1. LuvURphleb
I was born in 1990 so i missed all the early excitement of Star Wars and yet i cant remember a time when i wasnt obsessed with Star Wars. It helps that my older sister also enjoyed Star Wars and together we would play trivia pursuit- she cheated- and monopoly and still i laugh when i remember her scolding tone- its not dollars its credits!
I do not like the prequels. I did when they came out because i was 12 when attack of the clones was in Theatres. The acting, the writing, the errors in continuity. So many wrongs and yet without them i dont think i would have stayed in love with Star Wars. Phantom menace brought Jude Watson to write my beloved Jedi apprentice series. After that i read any Star Wars book i could find and the best part about it was that my sister refused to read any prequel books! It was awesome. All my life at that point had my sister lording her superior knowledge over me, seeing her growing obsession with Luke skywalker. Jude Watson gave me my own Star Wars crush with Obi wan. By the time i was in sixth grade- 2001- i had caught up with all the written books i could find from jedi apprentice to new jedi order.
To this day i still need more bookcases for my always growing Star Wars library and i no longer feel competitive with my sister because, frankly, i know a heck of a lot more about Star Wars than she does. :)
Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ
2. brotherguy
The summer of 1977 saw me in graduate school, flying to England for a conference on meteorites. I planned for my return to stop by Detroit and visit family and old friends. My high school best friend Mike met me at the airport. He told me he’d gotten advanced tickets (unheard of!) for the 11 pm showing of a (gulp) sci-fi movie.

I thought he knew me better than that. I was a science fiction snob: real SF was a personal encounter with the written page. Science fiction movies were “sci-fi” – skiffy – and by definition, unspeakably awful. Period.

“But 11 pm is four in the morning, UK time. I won’t possibly stay awake!” I protested. Mostly I was furious at being dragged away from bed for… skiffy…

The long lines at the theater did nothing to calm my fears. Anything this popular had to be cheesy and awful. The movie opened with words scrolling into the distance… Cheesy. Skiffy.

And then this spaceship came overheard. And kept coming. And kept coming...
F Shelley
3. FSS
I was born in 1973 and saw Star Wars in the theater, but really remember it. I mostly remember playing with the toys in the back of the family car, back before anyone put 3 year olds in car seats or boosters or seat belts. Sigh...freedom...
4. RobinM
I remember being excited when Return of the Jedi was going to come out in Sonora where my family just moved to because, I'd get to see what the heck happend to Han Solo and the cycle? chase. The cycle chase was extra special because it was filmed near my hometown of Crescent City in the national forest . I couldn't wait to tell my friends all about it. "Endor" and those ewoks will always have a warm and fuzzy spot in my heart. Seeing those redwood trees made me a little less homesick.
Steven Lyle Jordan
5. Steven_Lyle_Jordan
I skipped class to see Star Wars (back when it was just called Star Wars), the first showing at Washington, DC's humongous Uptown Theatre in 1977. To be sure, we were sucked in by all the hype that had surrounded the movie, the people talking about it at conventions, in comic shops, etc, and we were sure that this was gonna be the most incredible movie.

We hadn't seen nothin' yet.

When the first ship appeared amidst frenetic blasterfire, then that first star destroyer thundered over our heads for what seemed like half an hour, we knew our minds were going to be blown. And then, when C3PO and R2D2 quick-shuffled through a hall of laser gunfire, we knew we'd be laughing our asses off. John Williams' music informed us that this would be a swashbuckling adventure. Inconsistencies? Who cared? It's all part of the fun! In short, a movie that would be everything to us.

Over the years, with sequels and then prequels, books and comics, TV specials, Yoda posters and models, nothing has ever matched the experience of seeing that first movie, and the next nine times I saw it over the course of that first year... you could almost see my wallet getting thinner by the day. But it was worth it, making the summer of '77 the most magic summer I'd ever had.
Alan Brown
6. AlanBrown
I saw Star Wars in Spokane, WA. I had just been commissioned in the Coast Guard, and my wife and I were on our honeymoon, which consisted of a drive across the country to report to my first ship. She almost balked when she saw how long the line was, but I persuaded her lines like that meant the movie was good. And it was better than good. Even she enjoyed it, which was a good sign, because at that point I am not sure she realized just how much of an SF fan she had married.
David Levinson
7. DemetriosX
I was a couple of months shy of turning 15 and in my freshman year of high school when Star Wars came out. I had seen some commercials on TV (IIRC featuring Luke swinging across the central shaft of the Deathstar) and I rolled my eyes and swore I wouldn't waste my time on such crap. I took my SF very seriously at the time. But then everybody at school was talking about it and I wondered a little. Then my father suggested we go see it and I agreed.

We drove down to Hollywood to see it at the Chinese Theater. Our seats were under the balcony (the movie had been out for 6 to 8 weeks at that point and those were the best seats we could get for a Saturday matinee, which says something about how popular it was). Anyway, just by happenstance. from our viewpoint the top of the screen was coincident with the bottom of the balcony. When that star destroyer came slowly over the top of the screen, it was as if it was coming right over the balcony. I was stunned and the SFX and the pacing sucked me right into the whole thing. When the Milennium Falcon came out of nowhere and knocked Vader off of Luke's tail, I actually cheered. Out loud.

I was pretty into the whole thing for awhile. I had buttons. I had a movie poster signed by Darth Vader (for which I actually stood in line at JC Penney's). I bought the novelization and then Splinter of the Mind's Eye. I stood in long lines to see the next two movies as soon as possible. Eventually, I cooled on it all a bit, becoming more critical of its many flaws and never read any other tie-in books. But for a little while there, that movie changed a lot about the way I consumed my SF.
Amanda Perez
8. ViciousCircle
I was 11 years old when Star Wars(to this day I can't bring my self to call it A New Hope)came to our tiny town in western Oklahoma. Apparently, no one had told the old folks what a great movie it was, because the first showing was at 1:00 in the afternoon and it was nothing but kids. This was the first and only time in my life when front row center in a movie theater were the best seats in the house. It was like a party just for kids, so magical. Afterward, we all were waiting for our parents to pick us up or walk home or even better, to wait for the 7:00 showing, and I can't even describe the feeling in the air. So jubilant, so electrifying. All the kids I knew talked about it for years. Those who missed it were crushed. So all those years later, all my friends eagerly stood in line for Phantom Menace, but we should have known, you can't catch lightning in a bottle.
9. harmonyfb
My first date was my hometown premiere of Star Wars. I was 13. My date's dad drove us, and we stood in line for an hour. The theater was jam-packed, and when those credits rolled, my mind was completely blown. (Afterward, my date shook my hand at the door.)

When The Empire Strikes Back arrived in theaters, it was the only non-R-rated film that played in my hometown all summer. My high school boyfriend and I must have seen it 50 times. I can still quote enormous swathes of it.
Jeff LeBlanc
10. Jeff_LeBlanc
I was eight years old when I saw Star Wars in the theatre in summer of 1977. One of my older brothers took me, having already seen it the week before. I remember I had to pee starting about five minutes in, but I wouldn't leave my seat for a second, not if you paid me. I danced in my seat for most of the screening, partly from squee and partly from the need to pee. (I made it through without incident. Barely.)
Mike Conley
11. NomadUK
I was 15 in May of 1977, and living near DC. This cool new science-fiction film, Star Wars, had opened, and I wanted my dad to take me to see it that weekend. But he wanted nothing to do with it, as it was probably just Hollywood crap.

My favourite uncle, Chuck, was visiting, however, and he said, c'mon, let's go. Uncle Chuck was slim and tough, a union auto worker, wearing a t-shirt with a cigarette pack rolled into his sleeve, with a quick grin and his black hair slicked back; I thought he was the greatest thing. So off we went.

And the queue at the Uptown (hi there, StevenLyleJordan) went down and around the block, and if you hadn't already bought a ticket, you weren't getting in. Uncle Chuck and I had never seen anything like it. He said, 'Looks like we're not going to make it today. How about pizza?' And that was fine.

My dad read the review of Star Wars on Sunday, realised that it was basically a Saturday morning serial from his childhood brought to the big screen, and took my brother and me later in the week, when things had died down just a bit. He loved it.

All these years later, I remember that impossible battle cruiser going overhead like it was yesterday, and I remember my Uncle Chuck trying to take me to the show. For some reason, even though it was May, I think of it as summer — the best one ever.
12. The Duck Lord, Scrooge
May the Fourth be with you!

I never got to see the original Star Wars movie: I was busy surviving switching countries and schools to notice. Then it burst like a lime-green-and-tangerine love machine upon us all and I read it first in book form. Then of course I got to see the Return of the Jedi, besides reading Splinter of the Mind's Eye and other such things.

I actually think I got to know more of it through a school friend's wishes for a space fighter's design, and my willingness to draw one such craft, complete with a swarm of targetable microrockets and a thermonuclear fusion blaster as well as the obligatory heavy-duty high-power mining lasers to wipe the smile off any Dark Lords cruising the vicinity. I was quite proud of my design - it outgunned all the other space fighter craft at my friend's Role Playing/War Gaming group.

BTW, do you know the significance of May the Fourth in modern-day China? (It has nothing to do with the Chinese New Year. Think students and the Versaille peace conference.)

May the Fourth be with you!
Rich Bennett
13. Neuralnet
@Ryan Britt.. really want to see a pic of that lightsaber you made... love all the stories, sorry I am late to the party. I think I saw Star Wars in 1979 when it was rereleased??? I was only about 9 so I am not sure. But, I know I didnt see it when it was first released. my parents werent big movie goers. I remember being terrible dissapointed that I had to read the Empire Strikes Back novel because my parents didnt want to go to the movie. The whole Star wars phenomena really shaped my childhood... my friends and I spent countless hours playing star wars. Great memories!
14. ces
There's nothing like sitting in a thatre watching the first Star Wars with your brother-in-law, who was the Special Effects person, sitting there next to you saying things like

'"See that shot? The plane is backwards." "See that shot? That's an enemy plane in amongst the good guys." "See that shot . . ."

throughout the movie.
15. ces
There's nothing like sitting in a thatre watching the first Star Wars with your brother-in-law, who was the Special Effects person, sitting there next to you saying things like

'"See that shot? The plane is backwards." "See that shot? That's an enemy plane in amongst the good guys." "See that shot . . ."

throughout the movie.
Beth Meacham
16. bam
I was fortunate enough to have a pass to the NY premiere of Star Wars. There had been a lot of excitement in the SF community about the film, but no one had any idea. We'd seen the novel by George Lucas. Judy-Lynn was pushing it like crazy. We were hopeful. Mostly, it was a nice evening in May when the writers, editors, publishers and booksellers of SF could get together at the movies, along with the film critics and media press.

And then it started. And then that Imperial destroyer came and came and came and CAME, and the silence in the theater became electric. We were really seeing sf on the screen for the first time ever. When it was over, no one left; the whole theater stayed to watch the credits and cheer. When the theater was cleared, large groups headed off for food or coffee, someplace to continue the loud and enthusiastic discussions. It was an amazing night.
17. glorbes
I was born into Star Wars, coming into this world in 1981.

My family (four siblings before me, and I'm the baby), all loved the first two movies (one of my brothers in particular was nuts over it). We had a video disc player, which was the predecessor of the laser disc (essentially a movie on a record). We had Star Wars and Empire in this weird, antiquated format when I was growing up in the 80's, and I had to flip the movie half-way through in order to watch it (Star Wars was divided when Tarkin says "Terminate her...immediately"...the second disc started with the Falcon in Hyperspace, which was awesome). And I remember Empire skipped all through the AT-AT battle...I actually didn't see that whole sequence unmarred until 1990 when I finally got all three movies on VHS (and I finally owned Return of the Jedi, which was my favorite until I realized with age why it wasn't as good as the other two).

The point is, Star Wars was woven into the fabric of my existence from the beginning. I had some of the toys when I was little as the old Kenner line was in its death throes, got a huge batch of them when I was ten from a family friend who cleaned out his parent's attic (October of '91 that was...and what a magical time). There was no revelation at a ripe age like so many of you, but even to my childhood mind I knew that Star Wars was was THE movie to me, and every time I went to the theatre I wanted it to be new Star Wars, even when I was seeing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, or Willow, or the first Batman movie...they were all lesser creations to the magic of Star Wars. Jurassic Park was exciting to my 12 year old self because I knew ILM would use this technology to make amazing Star Wars imagery when they got the chance (I had no idea that would be the last time that CGI would be so magical on the big screen).

When Episode 1 came out, I camped on the sidewalk to pre-purchase tickets a week in advance, even though my sister waltzed in 2o minutes before a 9AM on opening night without buying an advanced ticket. But the experience was quite soemthing...there were a LOT of people camped out of all ages and sizes, and I bought eight tickets for fellow high school students. Opening night, there wer a whole lot of us waiting for the movie to start, the atmosphere was electric, and despite the film being what it is, the excitement sustained itself through the whole experience. There were no more campouts after more jubilant, shared experiences, and it was suddenly not all that cool to be a Star Wars fan. But I still was excited to see the opening crawl for Episode II and III, even though the films were not very good (though on initial viewing, I was impressed with III in fits and starts...Lucas was lurching from one thing to another like a rank amateur, but some of the fun and space opera was back, even if the sum total left much to be desired).

So yeah...I was not there in 1977, but I also knew that Star Wars loomed large over everything that came after it, and I know it is unlikely that a film will have that kind of broad cultural impact again. Many will try, but they will ALWAYS try to claim the title of the 'next Star Wars'. But I know there is no such thing...there can only be one.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
18. Lisamarie
I was 14 in 1997 when the Special Editions came out. I had never seen Star Wars before that (I know, right?) - I considered myself anti main stream and was never that into a lot of popular movies/TV. Also, at the time, my preconceptions of Star Wars were that it was more science fiction and basically a simple adventure movie about people flying in ships blowing stuff up, which did not interest me at all -at the time I was much more into fantasy like Lord of the Rings, and things that were more mythic or more character focused. I didn't actually get interested in science fiction until later in life.

The Special Editions came and went, and then A New Hope came into our local 'cheap seats' theater in April. On April 14 (for years I would celebrate my 'Star Wars anniversary'), my mom insisted on taking me (we used to see movies there regularly). I resisted, but eventually agreed. She loves to rub this in my face now, heh.

My first very vivid memory is sitting in the theater waiting for the movie to start. It was kind of an old-timey looking theater at the time, very quaint, and the smell of buttery popcorn in the air. They were playing the Star Wars soundtrack (which was not something they typically did before a movie). The song that was on was one of the Jawa themes from Tatooine. I remember right then feeling some optimism that this movie may be more than I expected, just from that music - something about it was so otherworldly and rich and BEAUTIFUL, it just semeed to indicate that the movie might have some real depth to it.

The lights dimmed, and during the previews they played the Empire Strikes Back preview. I was very intrigued by the scene where Obi-Wan was telling Luke he would be tempted by the Dark Side. Maybe this series would be interesting after all! And then the movie started and I was pretty much drawn in right from the start. I would LOVE to see that opening scene in the big screen again. I was pretty sad when they announced they were postponing the 3-D releases of the movies after the Disney sale.

I went home and wrote in my journal for the day, ending with an afterthought that we had seen Star Wars and that it was pretty good - but I wasn't obsessed quite yet. That came two weeks later, when Empire Strikes Back came to the theater, which I saw on April 28. This time, during the Return of the Jedi preview, one of the scenes was of Luke and Vader coming into the Emperor's throne room - Luke was dressed in black and I didn't see the manacles so I thought that maybe he really had turned!

Anyway...I remember my jaw dropping to the floor when the end credits came on - I had actually been thinking the frigate scene was the end, being dissapointed, and then a swell of music seemed to indicate there would be another scene, and I felt a rush of relief. But then the credits! Noooo! I couldn't believe it was over! Hadn't the movie just started? At that point I was completely in love with the characters and the whole universe. My diary entry that day started off with me gushing over the movie. I felt like I was in a state of withdrawl because I didn't get another chance to see the movie, and something about it touched me in a very personal way. (Sadly, I actually had been spoiled for the truth about Vader and Luke the day I saw the movie! That's how oblivious I was to pop culture, I didn't actually know that beforehand! I would have loved to have been surprised by that. And then I made some joking comment to my friend about Luke and Leia being related, so that was spoiled too. Oh well.)

It took a month for them to get Return of the Jedi. Agony! I was calling the theater every week for the schedule. My mom laughed at me and told me I should try waiting three years. This blew my mind. As soon as it came in I begged to go see it - by now it was May 26 (these dates have been ingrained into my head; I don't have to look them up). I really thought Luke might die at the end - Vader's heel face turn came as a shock to me, but I loved it. The next day I rode my bike to the theater just to see it again and sat in the very front row.

It was hard to find tapes of the movies at the time - the non-SE tapes were off the market so I had to wait for those to get released that August. But, in June, I was in a record store in Washington DC (our 8th grade class trip) and they had one of the THX remastered tapes of Empire. It was their last one! I bought it and I'm not kidding, I watched it three times the day I came home from DC, and watched it EVERY DAY that summer. Sometimes more than once. My journals are filled with line by line analyses of the movie. To this day, it's still my favorite.

Looking back, some of this behavior is a bit obsessive, but I was an obsessive child. I was also an unhappy, bullied and awkward middle schooler and had problems with depression, isolation and anxiety, and at the time, had an unhealthy obsession with slasher films and gory movies. I credit Star Wars with giving me something a little more healthy and positive to fixate on and analyze, and I also met some of my very best friends through it, and even my husband years and years later. I spent that summer also consuming all the EU I could find at my local bookstore. I've also made friends by reading Star Wars books before class started :) I was totally in love with Luke Skywalker. He was my ideal. Hah. Star Wars was absolutely pure escapism for me, but in the positive sense, the way somebody like Tolkien would define it. An escape TO reality, not from reality - to an ideal of what reality could and should be (aside from the war itself, obviously). The whole redemption arc was VERY powerful to me at the time, as well as the camraderie and love between the characters, and the faith Luke had in the power of good prevailing. This is why I really can't get into the more 'gritty' and dark EU that's coming out now. I don't mind reading that style of story, it's just not what Star Wars is about to me.

And then there was all the prequel stuff and I won't go into all that, but I have many positive memories associated with that and I do enjoy the movies even if I recognize they are not as good as the others.

It's been awhile since I really sat down and watched the movies (they're on constantly in our house since our two year old loves to watch them - and I'm still amazed at how well Empire holds up, especially), but writing this made me smile :)
Noneo Yourbusiness
19. Longtimefan
I was nine in the summer of 1977 and had only seen movies at drive in theaters. My parents were that special kind of home owning poor that so many people were in the '70s so movies were best seen by the less expensive car load than priced by the seat.

The theater was one of the suburban box theaters from the late '50s that still had 1000 seats on the floor and chandeliers as big as VW bugs. I had passed by the wall of windows lobby a few times but we had not seen any movies there.

The first thing I remember was the line. a thousand people make quite a long line. I remember being very dissapointed that we bought tickets but could not go in. We had to go to the end of the line. At first it was just the front of the building. That did not seem so long. Then around the corner the line went down the side of the building. That seemed long. Then around that corner the line went along the back of the building. That line seemed impossible. My tiny mind was reeling. I had never seen so many people waiting for anything.

Then I found out that my father (as was his wont) was early. Not for the show that was next (for it was already sold out) but for the following show two hours hence. And this was two lines and we would be waiting for 2 hours.

I was all kinds of little kid furious. This was a time when people did not sit on the ground so there was no where to sit for two hours. (I am not kidding. I can see that line in my mind today as it was all I had to look at and everyone was standing. Well, slouching and leaning and fidgeting but no one was sitting on the ground.

I could not believe any movie would be worth such torture. No snacks. Late afternoon sun in a California parking lot behind and next to a tan building radiating stored up heat. No snacks, no drinks, no book to read. It was forever.

I remember the refreshing air conditioning and the quick movement past consessions to get seats in the vast golden draped and carpeted theater. We sat mostly back middle right so it was a good veiw and not to far off center. My father went to brave the concession stand for drinks as we were all parched.

The theater was loud with chatter and movement as people shuffled and chatted and filled the huge space. all 1000 seats were sold and all 1000 people were there. My father came back just as the lights went down for the previews.

The cooling dark and the colder drink eased my childish fretting and I waited for the movie to appear.

That music blared into the theater and pulled my attention right in close and never let go. I could not move or even think for two hours, I just accepted all things Star Wars.

It was the most amazing day I had that year.

And it was the only time I had seen that movie until the special pay per view cable event a few years later.

But I remembered that movie every week of those intervening years.

It was my childhood.
Joseph Newton
20. crzydroid
@18, Lisamarie: That is a wonderful story. : )
Carl Freire
21. ohpopshop
@longtimefan I totally hear you. That "special kind of home-owning poor that so many people were in the '70s"--wow, yeah, I know exactly what you mean. Not exactly poor by any means, but at the same time needing to know precisely which pennies to pinch . . . certainly sounds close to the household I grew up in.

And I remember seeing "Star Wars" that summer it came out exactly the same way you did, except in my case it was in northern Ohio. The incredible lines, the packed theater . . . We finally got in about 10-15 minutes after the movie started--I distinctly remember walking in to see Luke looking for sand people through his binoculars--so I missed the glorious opening shots that first go around, but I had already read the novelization so at least I knew where we were in the story. I remember the theater was jam-packed and I think we even had to stand for about five minutes while the usher--remember ushers?--went to find seats for us.

But the second time I saw it--about two months later right around the start of the new school year--was the viewing that really made a big impression on me. My buddy Shawn, one of his friends from the school they went to, and I went to see it to celebrate Shawn's birthday and made sure to grab seats in the front row. WOW!! When the two ships appeared at the start, we all looked at each other with wide eyes and the instant unspoken agreement that we had indeed picked the right seats! We already knew nearly all the dialogue because we all had the novel and Marvel's comic book rendition despite having seen it only once apiece, and chattered along with the actors throughout. Sheer geek bliss!

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