May 26, 2007

30 years ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Thirty years ago yesterday, actually, Episode IV: A New Hope was released in theaters across the country. I was three years old at the time, and I still vividly remember the experience. Well, not so much the movie itself, although it was my very first movie theater experience. Rather, the images that come to mind when I think of going to see Star Wars with my family are the things a three year old would find fascinating.

I remember waiting in line outside for the box office to open. I wasn't really sure what was going on, and I think I asked my mom and dad about thirty times what we were waiting for. But I do recall walking past all these cool posters with names I couldn't read and robots on them.

I also remember the theater's lobby. Or, more specifically, the oval shape to the room and the floor to ceiling, heavy, green curtains that covered non-existant windows. This really intrigued me, and I recall quite clearly running back and forth along the wall behind these curtains looking for the windows.

That's about it. My memory of seeing Star Wars for the very first time on the weekend of its initial release is limited to a line, a poster and a curtain. Of course, the fact that I would watch this movie at least 130 more times growing up (we taped it off of Showtime when I was 7) sort of makes up for it.

Ten years ago, when it was rereleased in theaters, I got to relive this experience while living in Washington, DC. Although this time was a tad different. I got in line at 2am to buy tickets for the first showing, only to find that 300 people had gotten there before me. By the time the box office opened at 9am over 4,000 people (and stormtroopers, and wookies, and jedi knights) were waiting for tickets (this was THE theater in DC to see the movie). I lucked out and got one of the last tickets for the first show of the day, 10am. This was movie-watching like it's supposed to be. People in costume roaming the isles, an impromptu light saber battle on the stage, and a DC newscaster reporting on the event while wearing a stormtrooper helmet.

Then the 20th Century Fox music began and everyone roared, then got earily silent as the words "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." appeared. Until the next second, when the main title appeared and the dramatic music began. Then the crowd erupted. Popcorn was flying and people were cheering. Everyone was so into the experience, it was fantastic! When Darth Vader made his first appearance on screen everyone spontaneously booed. And when the Death Star exploded, the whole theater was on their feet cheering and throwing popcorn. It was movie-watching heaven.

We'll just pretend what happened over the next eight years with the three new films never happened.

10 comments:

Steve said...

i remember that day at the southtown theater as well ( http://cinematreasures.org/theater/3003/ ). even though the monster screen had already beem replaced so they could split it into 2 screens. it was still one of the best places in town to see one of my favorite movies of all time. I think that was one of the few times my freinds were jealous that I had a sci fi geek for a Dad.

kippur said...

Afraid to say I don't recall this day. I was probably at the sitters. I do though have a similar memory...It was at a far less spectacular theater in a much smaller town. We went to see the opening of ET in Alexandria. Most likely not the FIRST movie I ever saw but the first one I remember. I remember the line wrapping around the block, dad buying the tickets and seeing the fantastic display of candy right inside the door.

Oh, I also have a memory of the first time I realized we had a Sci-Fi geek for a dad. He took me to see 2001...or was it 2010?? Either way, I don't remember if it was him or I but I know one of us fell asleep...we probably both did.
(i just checked and since 2001 was released in the 60's I guess it musta been 2010)

P. Ollig said...

I remember that huge line for ET. I also remember the line for Return of the Jedi being equally as impressive. You know, I think the only movies I ever remember going to the theater with Dad were all sci-fi. Mostly Star Trek, but also a couple of the Alien films. I wonder why Rick didn't end up getting the Geek gene, too?

kippur said...

Cause he got the bald gene instead. It was one or the other.

Janine the only girl said...

SO... Are girls not able to get the GEEK GENE?? I spoze that's fine w/ me tho'. I do remember the STAR WARS movie @ Southtown...& Chris you were there too...just WAY too litte to remember! I remember really liking R2D2 & C3PO. And of coures Princess Leah & her lovely DOO!! I remember Dad watching STAR TREK on TV EVERY chance he got better though!! My first memories of Star Trek & Dad were @ the Young America house...We had a crazy leather couch down in the TV room. It was tan on the back with a covered wagon stitched into it & dark brown leather on the seat part. P&C you weren't born yet of course. That is also the living room that RICK & STEVE ate (Mounty the HUGE German Shepard's) dog food & biscuts when they got hungry & Mom said NO snacks right now. I'm sure we ALL remember Dad watching WHEEL of FOURTUNE & eating his M&M peanuts & Coke from a bowl on his T.V. tray!! And of course sharing them with Gypsie!!

kippur said...

No Janine, you got the bald gene too. You just don't know it yet.

Janine said...

HA! HA! Chris!! :o)

Patrick Belardo said...

I was unfortunately born 3 months after the release of the first movie. Fortunately, I was able to have similar movie experiences for all three re-releases including a near riot when the film broke during the first few minutes of Empire. Let's just pretend Ep. 1-3 never happened. 3 isn't completely horrible, but I won't go out of my way to watch it.

I still have every single Star Wars toy I've ever owned too. That includes about 70 figures and lots of vehicles and accessories. I even have the rare "Blue Snaggletooth" figure.

P. Ollig said...

Can I come over to your house to play???

Dude, that's awesome! A friend of mine had the blue snaggletooth, and every time we played Star Wars he'd make fun of my red one.

Sad to say, I sold every single one of my toys at garage sales...most for under $1 a piece. Except for Han Solo in his Hoth outfit. Him I lost in a snowbank one winter, only to find him eight years later when mowing the lawn. Don't remember what happened to him after that.

janine said...

Are ya trying for a record # of COMMENTS on a blog!??