May the Fourth Be With You: Our STAR WARS Memories

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Star Wars is part of the cultural landscape, no question. For generations, fans have gathered and discussed and theorized and speculated about … well, just about everything related to that galaxy far, far away.

On today, May the Fourth, we’ve collected a few of our Star Wars memories. And we invite you to share your favorite memories with us.

 

Jay McDowell:

Star Wars didn’t change my life, so much as it shaped it.

I was five & a half years old in 1977 when Star Wars (yes, Star Wars, not A New Hope) was released to theaters. This was back in the days when parents could drop their kids off at the movie theater and leave them on their own without (much) concern about someone absconding with their offspring.

My best friend and I were dropped off at the old Inland Cinema in San Bernardino one summer day to see the movie; I don’t know if we were clamoring to see it or if our parents just thought it’d be a good, inexpensive way to get us out of their hair for a bit. I don’t really remember exactly how I felt before seeing Star Wars for the first time, but I do know that afterward it compelled my friend and me to commit our first minor criminal act, as, after the movie was over, we called our parents on the payphone in the lobby (kids, ask your parents what a payphone is), asked if we could stay for the next showing and then walked back into the theater and watched it all over again.

For something to drive me to commit such a horrible, heinous act at such a young age, I must’ve thought it was something special (in my defense, I was five & thought the ticket was an all day, all access pass).

Of course, after seeing it (twice), I, along with just about every single kid in the country, went Star Wars crazy: the movie; the toys; the trading cards; the comics; anything we could get our mitts on, we gobbled it up with abandon. Seeing as how this was in the days before DVDs & instant accessibility on the internet, once the movie left theaters (and in between theatrical re-releases), we were left with only our imaginations & those ancillary materials to take us back to that galaxy far, far away.

With our figures & ships and our mind’s eye, we could go to locations from the movie (granted, there were really only three locales in the first movie), planets found in the comic books or places hinted at by the one kid that everyone knew who had a membership in the fan club and read about it in the Bantha Tracks newsletter.

Millions of imaginations were sparked as a result of the play time spent with the toys.

Nearly forty years later, I’m still a dyed-in-the-wool Star Wars fan (I’d go so far as to proudly say I’m a Star Wars geek); I still collect Star Wars toys and knickknacks, much to my wife’s chagrin sometimes; I have a few figures on my desk at work; even though I have several versions of the movies in different formats, I’ll still catch them when they’re shown on TV; I even took a trip out to Death Valley with some fellow fanatics (& my long-suffering wife in tow) a few months ago to see some of the filming locations used in the series.

Trust me, you’ve not seen anything until you’ve witnessed five (allegedly) grown men geeking out over a bunch of rock formations and recreating movie scenes with action figures. These bits and pieces of the movie, both the physical and the intangible, take me back to when things were a lot simpler and the world was a much bigger, wide open place.

Seeing the opening phrase of every movie in the series, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…,” never ceases to send a shiver of excitement and anticipation up and down my spine, just as it has done since the very first time I read the words.

Without fail.

Some may think that these childlike ways should’ve been left behind long ago; while I mostly agree with these people, I point out to them that I’ve not grown up yet – and have no plans to do so any time soon. Not while there’s a galaxy far, far away to explore.

 

Lauren Garrison:

Return of the Jedi is my favorite Star Wars movie. I remember loving the original, especially the opening scene in Jabba’s “lair”. Then seeing the remastered Special Edition some years later and being blown away at the difference. But that opening sequence for Return of the Jedi has been my favorite scene in all the films for some time.

Han Solo: “A Jedi Knight? Jeez, I’m out of it for a little while, everyone gets delusions of grandeur!”

 

Thomas Townley:

The excitement over the Special Editions, it was really the first time I got to see Star Wars in a theater. I was in college at the time and I saw it with some good friends.

 

Jason Hunt:

I remember seeing Star Wars (no bloody A, B, C, or D…) back in 1977. At the time, it was one of those rare moments when the whole family went to the movie. This included my mother, who very rarely ventured to the cinema.

As the lights went down and the 20th Century Fox Fanfare played out, I knew I was in for an experience. I didn’t know the half of it. That first wall of sound that slams into you — it’s a shame you can only experience that “for the first time ever” only once. It was a moment of clarity for me, as the giant spaceship rumbled its way across the screen, that it wasn’t just the visuals making the scene come alive. It was John Williams’ music that sold it as much as anything else.

I had a small electric organ at home, and I lost track of how much time I spent picking out the main theme by ear so I could play it over and over…

 

Dave Margosian:

Seeing Star Wars for the first time, when I was 12. Driving home from the theater, I opened up the glove box and played like I was Luke flying his X-wing through the Death Star trenches. My sister, in the back seat, made Artoo noises.

 

Curtis Smith:

I saw Star Wars at a drive in with my parents in Scott City, Kansas. I think I was five. I watched from the back seat of the family Impala, and I was so scared of Darth Vader that every time he was on screen I would duck behind the seat and cover my ears. The breathing…in…and out. In….and out.

On the trip home, I desperately wanted to know what I missed. I couldn’t watch it again until it came out on HBO several years later. Then it happened, I saw it. I LOVED IT. And I played with my little plastic Darth Vader the whole time. Breathing in….and out.

 

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