Friday, May 25, 2007

30 years ago today

I'm sure this is going to be the hottest blog topic today among geeks, but I wanted to get my say in as well. 30 years ago today in 32 theaters across America, a little film called Star Wars opened. I was seven at the time, and I can honestly say that I don't remember hearing about the opening.

However, once the film got big, I had certainly heard about it. As a kid, I was a card collector, baseball, football, hockey, and yes, Star Wars cards. I hadn't even seen the movie yet, but I had almost every card Topps had put out. I remember the original set had blue borders, and for some reason, the card that most sticks out in my head was the scene with Vader pointing at Leia when he's accusing her of being part of the Rebel Alliance. After collecting all of the cards, I couldn't wait to see the movie.

Then one night my dad took me to see it. I seem to remember that he had pop cans or something...I think they were for use as discount tickets. Keep in mind that a full price adult ticket cost about $3 at that time. At that price, it's still hard to believe that Star Wars is the number two movie of all times. That's why it still kind of annoys me when people talk about the great openings modern movies have. If you were compare those openings in absolute dollars to what The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi did, I'm sure there'd be no comparison.

The movie blew me away, to say the least. By that age, I had already become obsessed with space and science fiction, and this just took me to a whole new place. I went on to collect all of the action figures, and generally lived for Star Wars for years. Even now, 30 years later, I still love that movie, and the rest of the original trilogy (Empire was the best of the three), and I have no idea how many times I've watched them, and I know that I will watch them quite a few more times in the decades to come.

Who would have thought that a little space western would go on to have such a huge effect on so many people...


Ian said...

I was 2 at the time and I don't remember seeing it in the theaters. My guess is I didn't. I actually remember bits and pieces from the Holiday Special on T.V., although it would take me over a decade before I ever learned what it was I saw. At one point I seriously thought it all must have been a dream due to it being something that never got aired again and not really something that was well known outside of the die-hard fans. I do remember seeing Empire in the theaters though and the Imperial Walkers in the main thing that stayed with me from that.

I'm a little bummed right now because Star Wars Celebration 4 is going on and it is the first one I've not been able to find away to attend. But that's life I guess.

With the new animated series to be out soon and a live action series to follow in the next few years, there is still a lot of life left in the franchise.

J Erwine said...

There's a rumor going around that Lucas is going to announce a 7th film today...we'll see.

I guess this would take place in the days of the Old Republic when they overthrew the Sith.

Like I said, we'll see.

Keith said...

I talked my wife into going to the premier (I've been married 33 years - it seems longer). I had read a preview that said it was based on the Arthur legends - a sword in the stone analogy. Instead it was a comic book movie with larger than life characterizations and a very very loud soundtrack.

Erica and I agreed that the best part was the bar scene and we could have skipped the rest. This was the only part that I felt was true to Science Fiction, the rest was fantasy with technical props. I hate the whole idea of the force.

I could have liked Luke, Darth Vader, Hans Solo, and the rest, except they were painted with such broad strokes. I never really cared about them.

Star Wars was technically brilliant, although not as brilliant as 2001. It had just the barest slip of plot with a stupid ending. It is not in my top 10.

Marva said...

I was the manager of a tech support department in Silicon Valley. I took my entire department on the first day. We shoved a lot of little kids out of the way, so all twenty of us could sit together. We had a wonderful time. I loved the movie from the first scroll text.

A year or so later, I moved to Oregon to run my bookstore. The theater next door was still playing it. My SIX year old saw it everyday. I'd send him next door with the kid's admission and he'd sit through it at least twice. Back in the good old days when one didn't worry about somebody kidnapping their kid. Great, cheap babysitter.

Jim Shannon said...

I was working in Calgary in the spring of 1977 just when Punk Rock was exploding on the music scene. I was fed up with Calgary and was about ready to head back to New Westminster BC. I kept on haring about this new science fiction movie called Star Wars. After I got settled in the hype for Star Wars grew. A few days before opening night, God and I decided to see it but it was only available to my knowledge at a Drive in theater in the lower mainland. We decided to go on the Friday night and it was just after a rain the sky’s were clearing and the movie began. I was totally captivated by the movie. When it was over appreciative fans honked their car horns in unison leaving the theater. I’ll never forget that night 30 years ago. Also this weekend marks the opening of The Empire Strikes back. I was here in Edmonton at the time and Richard and Ellen and I had just watched the television with a crowd of gathering onlookers as the New York Islanders led by Mike Bossy win the Stanley Cup. We we’re on our way to pick up our comic book files, well Richard and I were, at Hobbits along the way passing a movie line up the likes I’ve never seen since Star Trej a few months later. Richard recognized an old friend of his and Reg and his wife at the front of the line let us in. That was a special afternoon in my life and like J I agree that ESB was by far the better of the 3. Will there ever be another Star Wars? I hope not, arguably Star Wars was the best SF movie of all time.

J Erwine said...

Keith-It was never really meant to be an SF movie...even Lucas calls it a space western. Love it or hate it, it's brought a lot of people into the genre.

Spencer said...

i remember standing in the sweltering heat, outside the old Cooper theatre, wondering what movie my brother, Scott, was taking us to (sorry about the dangling ;). glad we still have the continental, but miss the Cooper (best A/C in town) and the Century 21 (coolest seats).