You have to love the modern age and the Internet. Shortly after the new trailer for Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith was released, I was watching it and drooling like a fanboy. It looks like Lucas may end the saga with a big bang.
Star Wars was the first movie I remember seeing as a kid. My parents weren’t much into seeing a movie at the theater. Part of the reason was costs and the other part was just that going to the theater wasn’t something they enjoyed. So when the trailer played on TV in May of 1977 and I heard my dad say that he’d like to see this movie, I was stunned. I had to make sure I watched this commercial closer next time!
It didn’t take long for me to get to see the trailer again and really watch it. What did my dad find so interesting? Was it the hairy alien who roared like a bear? Was it the fighters in combat over the Death Star? Was it the fights with the Storm Troopers? Was it Darth Vader?
I didn’t know and to be honest, it never occurred to me to ask. Since all of things I mention were cool to me, they must be cool to my dad as well.
Of course it didn’t matter how cool the movie looked on TV. There was no way we were going to see the movie in the theater. In fact, unless the movie came on TV sometime in the very distant future (time goes slower as a kid, remember?), I would never see it. That didn’t prevent me from wanting to know more though.
When school started in the fall of 1977, my classmates and fellow elementary school attendees were all abuzz about Star Wars and it seemed everyone loved the disco version of the theme song that played on the radio. Recess was a time to play Star Wars. Yeah, the movie had been out all summer and I felt like the only one who had not seen the movie. All a boy had to do was shout, “I’m Luke Skywalker and I’ve got the plans” to initiate a huge chase around the playground.
Other times, boys would grab sticks and pretend to either be Storm Troopers or Rebel Troops. While I wanted to play, I had no clue and so was not allowed to play. Now I was even more eager to learn.
Later that fall, my wish to learn more was answered. The TV special The Making of Star Wars played on ABC. I watched and was amazed to see how Tie Fighters, Star Destroyers, and other ships were made to appear to fly. I saw C3PO and R2D2 in action, though I missed the part that showed there was a person inside R2D2 (which lead to a very heated argument at school). So while it wasn’t quite the same as seeing the movie, I got a taste and was able to bluff my way into recess play.
In the summer of 1978, ads appeared on TV announcing that it had been one year since Star Wars had been released. As a thank you, at least one theater was going to show the movie at a discount rate.
I didn’t think much of the ad except that the following Saturday, my parents were acting odd. Out of the blue, my mom was making us wear normal clothes and not our old clothes that we normally wore on Saturday. When my brother and I asked where we were going, all she said was, “We’re going for a drive.”
I hated going for a drive. It meant that my two younger brothers and I would be in the back of my parent’s Buick bored out of our skulls. What I couldn’t understand is why we would do it on a Saturday when normally this was done on a Sunday.
After we all got into the car, my Dad began driving, but he wasn’t taking the normal roads that lead out of town. I began to wonder what was going on. They were taking us someplace, but they didn’t want us to know where. Very suspicious.
We approached the shopping center where a theater’s sign showed that Star Wars was being played. As I looked out the window, I began to wish that somehow, someway, my dad would suddenly turn into the theater parking lot. There was no chance it would happen, but I dreamed it all the same.
Suddenly, my dad was in the right turn lane and we were turning into the theater’s parking lot.
My brothers and I looked at each other semi-excitedly. I couldn’t help but ask, “Are we going to see Star Wars?”
My mom answered that we were on a drive. Yeah, right mom.
When my dad parked and my parents told us to get out (we were sitting there dumbfounded), I could hardly believe it. With wobbly legs, I followed my parents to the theater where my dad purchased five tickets. I was afraid I’d wake up at any moment!
Fortunately, it was no dream. As we found some seats, I vividly recall the red seats, the red curtains that surrounded the walls of the theater, and the cold air from the air conditioner. When those curtains opened and the screen was revealed, I was so excited.
Watching Star Wars was the best thing to happen to me in my nearly nine years of life on the planet. I dreamed of Star Wars for weeks afterward. When school started in the fall of 1978, I could discuss it with my classmates, which happened a lot after the Star Wars Holiday Special came on TV that November.
Fast forward to November 2004 and the latest Star Wars movie is getting ready for a May 2005 launch. Watching the latest trailer, I find it funny that I still get excited like a little school boy at the thoughts of getting to see this movie in the theater. Here’s hoping Lucas makes the last movie a really good one.