Friday, May 25, 2007

Star Wars (the first movie, episode IV)


Time flies doesn’t it?

On May 25th, 1977, Star Wars made it’s debut. Um. That’s THIRTY YEARS ago, people!

Hard to believe.

I didn’t see it when it first came out. But almost immediately I started seeing news reports about this movie that people in L.A. and New York were standing in line for hours to see. And when they showed some clips from the film, and then I started seeing the real commercial for it, I wanted to go see it.

So sometime during the summer of 1977, my good friend Glenn B. (lived across the street) and I rode our bikes up to the old mall in Monroe, La. that was at the corner of Louisville Avenue and Oliver Road.

There was a two-screen theater there called The Plaza (I think that’s what it was called) where Star Wars was playing.

I certainly remember us riding our bikes to go and see it, but I don’t remember sitting in the theater and watching it. Bummer.

I do remember that after it became such a hit, that people were already beginning to speak of sequels that were supposed to come out approximately every three years.


Three years is an eternity when you’re fourteen. As in, “Holy cow! I’ll be SEVENTEEN when the next one comes out! And then TWENTY when the one after that comes out! Heck, I won’t care about them by then.”

Yeah, I was wrong. I cared.

I’ve never been a huge science fiction fan, but I have become more and more so as I’ve grown older. I’ve even branched out and read a few science fiction books.

But I still remember seeing those commercials for Star Wars and then Glenn and I riding up there to see it. Oh, to be fourteen again. Sigh.

Our other Orleans Street buddy, Wes R. was our group’s cynic. Wes was (and probably still is) the person in our group of friends that argued about everything. Even if he totally agreed with you on a position, he would often play devil’s advocate and argue the other side of an issue, just to get you all riled up and for the sake of getting into an argument. The boy loved to argue. Some people lift weights and run marathons and such; Wes exercised his argument muscles and he was the best.

So when everyone was loving and talking about and repeatedly going to see Star Wars (Held over for the 14th big week!), Wes, being Wes, decided that he was going to be the only person in America to NOT see Star Wars.

Wes made the following statement to Glenn and me, “I’ll see it when it comes on HBO.” Wes’s parents were the first people I knew that had HBO.

And Wes stuck by his story, and over time it even became a joke among us, because years and years went by before it was finally shown on HBO. That was around 1983 or so, I remember it being not very long before I got married and left home (1984). Being stubborn is a necessary trait for loving to argue.

I do remember specifically sitting in the theater and seeing Empire Strikes Back and Revenge of the Jedi, and who I went with, but I still cannot dredge up any specific memories of Glenn and I sitting in there and watching Star Wars.

Oh well. I’ve seen it a squillion times since then anyway, and at least I remember going to see it.

(I know that's Dark Helmet up there, but although I loved Star Wars, I think "Spaceballs" is one of the great movie spoofs of all time. I loved Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet.)


Hammer said...

I was 7 when the first one came out. My dad was a huge sci-fi fan so we waited through the three hour line.

I was amazed by the special effects.

Honestly As much as I liked the movies I've seen star wars and Empire once completely and Jedi twice. I really need to watch them again but that would mean hooking up the VCR and I'm afraid of losing the childhood memories of movie magic.

Scribbit said...

It's fun to hear your recollections, Star Wars was the first real movie I ever remember seeing. My mom and dad were nervous about letting me see it (I was 8) and worrried it would be too intense. It's still one of my favorites and it's fun watching my boys love it 30 years later.

Mert said...

I can remember feeling like that as a kid too... so long to wait! My younger brother had all the action figures... he wishes he had taken better care of them.

I love Space Balls too!

uberstrickenfrau said...

Yeah, I was 14 too when I saw it, I read about it in Seventeen Mag and then I HAD to see it, but I was totally into sci-fi . We would go wait in line for 2 hours and watch all the people dressed up in costume. It was awesome. It was a huge event when the next one came out. And hasn't Mark Hammel ( sp?)
aged HORRIBLE? Man! He looks like the crypt keeper.

Sindi1968 said...


I hope you did not mind me postin a link but it is actually an article about people WHO have NOT seen Star Wars. I remember as a child me and my cousin had Star Wars bunk beds and thought we were all that..

Emily said...

Dude. I was perhaps the biggest Star Wars geek around the ages 10-12. I even wrote fanfic! Harrison Ford was my first celebrity crush because of Han Solo. I even got the Han Solo trilogy books by Brian Daley - that's Han Solo's adventures before Star Wars. Freaking awesome stuff.

Except I saw them backwards...I saw Return of the Jedi first, then Empire etc. So I kind of missed out on the whole, "Say what? Yoda is the jedi master??" and "He's his FATHER???" experience, but you know =P

Empire strikes back was my favorite, for the record.

Mark Hamill shares my birthday too. Random fact.

I really think it would be cool to time travel to 1977 to see people all excited for the very first Star Wars...all lined up and stuff. It was serious stuff back then, now Star Wars is like a joke. It's all because of the prequels, which ruined everything. *shakes fist*

Okay, I'm super done talking. =P

Marsha (Big Sis) said...

Cary & I saw Star Wars before we got married at the same theatre (The Plaza). I loved it! Also, Mark Hammel has aged terribly. He's awful looking.
Now, Space Balls is one of my favorite movies! Dark Helmet is the funniest thing! Remember "ludicrous speed" and "smoke 'em if you got 'em"?

JAM said...

Thanks all.

In defense of Mark Hamill, he had a horrific car accident after filming of Star Wars wrapped. He had extensive facial reconstructive surgery. He couldn't do any reshoots they wanted to do to complete the film. That's why he looks SO different in Empire Strikes Back.

I guess the ensuing thirty years didn't help matters any for him.

Lori's Light Extemporanea said...

Oh, ouch...I'm so old! My girls refer to this as "The New Hope" or whatever it was retroactively called but I always tell them that it's STAR WARS and don't you forget it.

Yes, they think I'm very weird.

jdoriot said...

Oh my! I didn't realize that it came out that long ago! I am feeling so old right now...thanks!

photowannabe said...

Yep..husband, 2 sons and I stood in line and loved every minute of the movie. The boys collected everything that had to do with the film. We're not much movie goers but that one on the big screen was so exciting. I almost got motion sick during the battle scene.

photowannabe said...

Oh yes, I forgot..I really loved Space Balls and all of its craziness too.

Norma said...

I don't see a lot of movies, but we went to that one on our "family night." Our son was Star Wars crazy--had the game, the coloring books, comic books, trading cards, action figures. I was surprised by the special effects too.