A bunch of us have been chatting online about when we first saw “Star Wars” in 1977. I actually don’t remember many details. And that’s reassuring, because it makes me feel old indeed when I explicitly remember things from the 1970’s.
I was five. I don’t think I got to see it on its opening day, May 25. And I don’t remember if my siblings took me to see the film with them, or if my father took all of us. (I’m leaning toward the latter.) I remember loving what I saw flash across that giant screen, even if I fully comprehended little of it. I was thrilled at the blaster fire exchanges and the pursuits between between Han Solo and the Stormtroopers through the Death Star, and I’m pretty sure I was shocked at Obi-Wan Kenobi’s death. At that age, I wasn’t quite used to seeing “the good guys” die in movies.
I also remember gleefully hollering my best synopsis of the film to my poor mother after we got home. She was washing dishes in the kitchen, and I clearly recall her turning to me to patiently listen to my exuberant screaming, even though she still had to hold her wet hands over the sink. It was the internal Death Star foot-chase I was most excited about.
I found myself slightly confused today by the results of a Google image search for the movie’s opening day. They apparently show late-70’s crowds lining up to see it on May 25. I thought Star Wars was a surprise hit … wouldn’t it have required a lot of word-of-mouth before people started lining up for it? Maybe you Star Wars scholars can help me out.
Anyway, for an interesting frame of reference for how old this movie is, check out the pictures of the newspaper ad and the marquee below. The movie’s contemporaries include Disney’s original “Freaky Friday,” the one with Jodie Foster as a child. They also include “Saturday Night Fever,” “The Bad News Bears,” “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo” and a Charles Bronson actioner. Wow.
Hey Long Islanders — you see that theater marquee? That’s 1977 Huntington, YOO GUYZ!
[Update: my friend Tammi just told me that she and her mother saw this movie a total of 4o times over the course of the summer of 1977!! How nuts is that?!]