« on: May 11, 2005, 11:22 PM »
What a great post Scott. It got me thinking again about the first time I saw Star Wars in the theater.
I was six. My dad took me, my brother, and my cousin David to the theater to see this movie coming out that was generating all this talk. When the opening crawl hit the screen, my father had to read it to me because I couldn't read the words quick enough. (Cut me some slack....I was in kindergarten!)
When the battle aboard the Tantive IV started, I thought the stormtroopers were the good guys, because they were wearing white (all the heroes wore white in old westerns)....until I saw Darth Vader step into frame. If ever there was an embodiment of evil....it was Darth Vader! From that moment on, I was hooked on this story. I saw Star Wars dozens of times in theaters, drive-ins....there was no Blockbuster back then and very few people had VCRs in there homes. It was a regular trip for my family. There were many days where my brother and I got into "Lightsaber" duels with our whiffle-ball bats....my knuckles seemed to be permanently bruised!
In the summer of 1978, my family went on a summer vacation of driving across the country. My sister (about 18 months old at the time) was being a brat to me, which seemed to be her usual hobby at the time, and just when Ithought I couldn't take it anymore, my mom suggested I look in a bag that she had just produced from the front seat. Inside was something I had been bugging her almost non-stop to buy for me for months....my very own STAR WARS FIGURES! The long days in the car that trip were not only spent ste-seeing, but also having small adventures with Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO and the Tusken Raider.
1980 came along, and a new Star Wars movie was coming to theaters. I remember being there opening day, waiting in the long lines with my family to get tickets and then to get into the theater. My mom left the line to go get us a pizza that we ate in line. The movie was just incredible! My heroes were having a real tough time, Luke discovered a new teacher, and I was shocked when the Evil Darth Vader told Luke he was his father! I don't think anyone could believe that one!
That summer, my parents planned a summer trip for the family to go to Hawaii. It was my first time in an airplane, and I sat at the window seat with my new favorite figure. A Bounty Hunter, Boba Fett that I had to send a couple of proof of purchases away for. The rocket didn't fire like originally advertised on the back of the action figure cards I had, but I didn't mind. I was content to have him in a superman style flying position, against the widow of the 747 we were on looking like he was shooting across the landscape far below.
1983 came. I was 12 years old and graduating from Elementary school. Girls were rapidly becoming less icky and one evening I'm watching television when I see none other than a clip of a new movie and Han Solo getting back-handed by someone who looked amazingly like some sort of stormtrooper! I immediately ran upstairs to the kitchen where my mom was making dinner and excitedly yelled, "THERE'S A NEW STAR WARS MOVIE COMING!!!"
This new movie didn't disappoint. My favorite story finally came to an end. I realized there was one really icky moment in the previous movie, and I learned the most evil person I had ever seen maybe wasn't that bad afterall.
14 years later, I'm an airmen in the US Air Force living on the coast of North Carolina. I'm home on leave in new York and my brother wants to go see the new Star Trek movie. I begrudginly go with him, we don't get to spend a lot of time together like we used to and the preview for the Star Wars Special Editions hits the screen. All of a suddne, I'm that 6 year old boy again....my brother had to tell me to calm down in the movie theater! I see each on opening day and think it's great to see them on the big screen again....wait a second...did Greedo just shoot at Han before he fired?? I also get something cool when Return of the Jedi comes out.....a new Star Wars figure! (Two actually, since my sister was visiting me in NC and I dragged her to go see it and she gave me hers.)
By May of 1999, I have just moved to Fairbanks, Alaska just after being Godfather for my niece at her baptism. I find a movie theater before I find a place to live! When I ask if I can take a day of leave for the opening of Star Wars, I'm given my callsign, "Obi-Wan". I think I saw The Phantom Menace 12 times in the theater, when the film had finally broken in the old projector to the point where the film was just unwatchable. Luckily, in the next three years, they build a new state-of-the-art theater with better projectors and stadium seating. Also during this time, my niece has a little brother who I start buying all these cool playskool star wars toys for (the 12" figures I kept buying for my niece never really interested my niece).
2002 and I'm getting ready to leave Alaska to go to Officer Training School. I still manage to take a day of leave so I can see Attack of the Clones at the midnight showing. I still manage to see this one in the theater about 10 times, even though I spent most of the summer in training and had to drive from Alaska to New York to Alabama.
And now here we are. My sister-in-law in a moment of weakness has purchased a plastic lightsaber for my nephew....I don't think he's managed to get the dog with it yet. Both my niece and nephew love the Ewoks, droids, and clone wars dvd's I bought for them. My living room wall is adorned with all six movie posters. My bookshelves have a plethora of different EU books from the Thrawn Trilogy plus two, to the NJO alongside all my Tom Clancy books, Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Harry Potter, and more. My dvd collection has all five Star Wars movies to date, including a couple of bootlegs so I can someday show my kids what Star Wars was like when I was a child (see, I wasn't kidding when I said Han shot first!) There are starfighters on my armoir, NASCAR vehicles with Star Wars themes and mini obi-wan sabers on my desk along with a Darth Tater, and just about ever Lucasarts Star Wars game you can imagine on the hardrive of my computer (Except Galaxies....I just don't have that kind of time).
In seven days, a part of me will be that six-year old boy sitting in the theater with my popcorn and a coke sitting in awe as this great story is finally told.
The more things change the more they stay the same.