Saturday, May 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Star Wars

Yes, I know it’s a day late – but for some reason I couldn’t upload Movie Posterpictures yesterday afternoon….but better late than never.

Anyway, I know everyone makes a big deal about May the 4th – and many think that is the actual birthday/anniversary of the Star Wars release.

Actually, Star Wars released on May 25, 1977 – and not long after, one of the strongest and best memories of my childhood happened.

For those of you to young to remember what it was like before the Multiplex Movie Theaters came around, you have no idea what it was like to see a movie back in the 70’s.  Most theaters had one or two screens – and if a popular movie was showing, it took over a box office. 

Star Wars became such a movie.

Lines 2

People literally lined up outside theaters and around the block to see this movie – even in Marion Indiana.   It was that ground breaking.

I vividly remember BEGGING my Dad to go see this movie after seeing the commercials.  I begged, pleaded and promised to do extra chores.

Happy Birthday 7Dad told me he would take me on Payday Friday right before my birthday the following Sunday. 

Since I considered this an Early Birthday Present (at turning 8), this made it even more exciting.

That Friday arrived, and as fate would have it – my brother Richard had a baseball game.  <Who here remembers the old Baseball Diamond next to (the Original) Joe and Peg’s in Mt. Etna?   Not many I am sure. > Of course, the game went into extra innings – and as the game progressed, it became more and more apparent that we were going to miss the movie.  I was traumatized.

After the game, we skipped the customary ice cream and loaded up into the car.  What transpired was a ride comparable to the Death Star Trench scene – With my dad breaking all kinds of speed records to get us into town for the movie.  Driving some of those back roads , I honestly remember (to this day) being thrown up in the air as he flew over hills.  It was exhilarating.

Happy Birthday 3However, I knew something was wrong when we arrived.  There was no line.  You see, the movie had already started. 

I honestly do not know how my Dad got us in.  I recall the Usher saying would couldn’t go in – and that we didn’t have time to get snacks.  Dad “Talked” to him (I suspect money changed hands) for a few seconds and then they took us in.  The theater was FULL.

There was no way two of us could sit together, let alone all four – so we had to sit as singles.  Dad sat me in a seat, told me not to move and that everything would be OK.

I could probably walk to the exact seat to this day (about halfway down, on the end) in the theater – it is burned so much into my mind.  Here I was - 7 years old, surrounded by strangers, taking in a movie that was so different than anything else I could ever experience.  To say it changed my life would be an understatement.

I missed the opening crawl and the initial space battle.  We got in just as C3-PO was saying “The shut down the main reactors”……but it didn’t matter, I was hooked.  To this day – THAT is when the movie starts for me, and sometimes I find tears in my eyes.

Driving home, my Dad didn’t ask what I thought of the movie – Happy Birthday 6probably because I wouldn’t shut up about it (I know – hard to believe I couldn’t be quiet…..I wonder where James got it from).

But I do remember him telling me he was sorry. 

You see, my Dad was upset that he broke a promise to me.  At this time, we didn’t know how important the Father/Son relationship would be to the storyline, but it was important to him.  To him, a Dad had to give 100% to his kids….he had to sacrifice and work hard to make our lives as enjoyable as possible.  To him, he felt like he let me down.  I hope he realized (or looks down now with a smile) that I actually grew up a little that day – even at 7.

Happy Birthday 1I learned to be independent and not be scared.  I learned that technology was cool – and this influenced my career choice, where some say they got into computers because of Scottie (from Star Trek), I wanted to be be Han Solo and manage tech from the seat of my pants (or with a smack to the side of the computer).  I learned that good does beat evil (most of the time) and that friendships (even passing ones) last forever.  But the biggest lesson I learned that day – That a father never breaks a promise to a son….no matter what. 

From a wide eyed 7 (soon to be 8) year old to a modern day 40 something – I can never tell my Dad how much I appreciated that weekend.

Happy Birthday Star Wars……and Thanks Dad.

Cheers - Happy Birthday 6


  1. My first memories of Star Wars aren't quite as dramatic. Never the less, I do remember the buzz in school surrounding the movie when I returned from summer break. (Back when movies would sometimes play for months in a theater) After asking my father to take me, we went to, I believe, the old Southtown Mall cinema. I begged for the souvenir program they had at the snack bar, which I got. I was blown away by the movie. I became obsessed. My affection for the movie remains after all these years, though perhaps a bit tempered with time. Star Wars implanted a love of the cinema that has lasted all these years.

  2. Scott - how many times did we talk Star Wars in School?


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