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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 4:03am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

That's how many years ago we were introduced to STAR WARS.

(Technically, yesterday, the 25th.)
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 5:22am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

It'll always be younger than I am.... But not by much!

The film market was so different back then -- I saw Star Wars in the theatre as a toddler, some time in 1978 (it wasn't on general release in England before then).

A successful film would run for months and months and months. I'd guess that I saw it maybe as much as a full year after it was first released in the US.


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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 5:55am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I didn't see STAR WARS when it first opened. Chris Claremont was raving
about it (even playing the soundtrack to me, over the phone!), but it took a
while to reach my part of Canada. It was probably late summer before I finally
saw it. (I ran into a couple of people I knew in the line, both of whom were
thoroughly stoned. I confess, I cannot understand the logic behind seeing a
movie for the first time stoned. Later viewings, I suppose, if one is so inclined,
but...)

Having seen it once, I saw it every day for the next two weeks. I was in a rough
patch in my life, and I emerged from seeing STAR WARS feeling a bit better.
Since the theater was literally a block and a half from my house, I'd look at the
clock at the end of my workday, and off I'd go. (It was during this period that I
drew the first appearance of Guardian in X-MEN.)

It really is difficult to impress on younger folk what that first time viewing was
like -- and how the sequels and prequels throughly gutted the original. If
"everybody knew" Darth Vader was Luke's father the first time you saw it, it's
difficult to see what a really BAD idea that was.
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 6:13am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

> I didn't see STAR WARS when it first opened. <

I did. Yee! And again and again (although, man, not for two weeks straight, wow!).

I think it's (sadly) impossible to recover the feeling, the understanding, of the original movie as a stand-alone film, as its own thing, complete, perfect. 

But it was such a cultural tsunami, that maybe it never could have been just what it was for very long.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 6:16am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

39 years ago? Wow.

I'm beginning to feel old. As a kid, "39 years ago" would have been something like 1942. Ancient. Today, 39 years ago was 1977.

Can't say I'm thrilled about that. ;)
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 7:27am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Yeah, I remember celebrating the 40th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 1984 and a teacher at school assembly explaining that 40 had been chosen as a big anniversary as opposed to the more normal 50 in order to make sure that a greater number of people were still alive... It was a huge gulf of time to me back then. Something well before even long ago (long ago was the 1960s when everything was still black and white).

Star Wars was the most exciting thing to me when I was 5, 6, 7, 8... I loved most things with special effects and sci-fi and people with special powers, but Star Wars was just on a plane above everything else. I used to get buzzed just seeing the still photos on the Kenner toy packets.

Nowadays films are available on disc/demand/cable so readily and so soon after being in the cinema, but back then you could never get enough of a film that you truly loved. You'd read the comics, collect the stickers, the bubble gum cards,  play with the toys, pretend to be Luke in the playground... But nothing compared with that infrequent fix of actually seeing the film itself.


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Rick Senger
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 7:48am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I was 11 and we saw it around the end of opening week.  A Time magazine story convinced my parents.  I saw it again later that summer (unprecedented for me) but my cousin wound up going 33 times.  He had all of the action figures, too, though he actually played with them so not much collectibility.

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Bill Collins
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 8:57am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I think we got it in the U.K. around the begining of `78,but i`m pretty sure the weekly Marvel adaption was in stores summer `77? I recall being bought the three sets of Letraset transfers,which included Mos Eisley and Darth/Ben Death Star duel scenes,but as this was `77 i had no idea where to `stick` the transfers and ended up teaming Darth and Ben versus Stormtroopers!
I remember eagerly watching film awards shows on tv just for a glimpse at a clip! Then the tortuous queues to see the film in single screen cinemas,and often being a few feet short of the queue cut-off,and having to wait in line for the next showing! But the feeling of elation and wonderment as i left the cinema made it all worth it!
It wasn`t long before i was queuing again as i had to take my sister to see Grease in Oct `78 after a summer of hype!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 10:11am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Quite possibly the greatest regret in my life as a nerd is that I wasn't there to see STAR WARS upon release, and have that mind-blowing, game-changing experience.

I grew up after, in the ruins. Watching the films on VHS, and accepting the original trilogy as a unit. It took years of hard work and study, but I managed to educate myself in regards to the original film's proper historical context, divorced from Father Vader and the sequels.

We're now reaching a point where the original STAR WARS is not spoken of with reverence by a good portion of today's kids, and is seen as "that old, slow movie with the cheesy graphics", or prefer later films in the series. There's a certain irony in that the film which really changed everything (blew open the doors for sci-fi movies; changed how movies were made, marketed, and merchandised; started a snowball effect of advances in sound design, visual effects, etc.).

This is a part of growing older that I can't quite fathom--in world in which the original STAR WARS isn't The Coolest Movie Ever. But it will always have a special place in my heart, and might just be my favorite movie of all time. It's this amazing little movie that came out of nowhere, could easily have been a dismal failure, if even ONE element had been wrong, and changed everything. And, we're still living in its shadow, four decades later, for good AND ill.
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Thom Price
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 10:29am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

We're now reaching a point where the original STAR WARS is not spoken of with reverence by a good portion of today's kids, and is seen as "that old, slow movie with the cheesy graphics", or prefer later films in the series. 

***

Yes, it's sad but true.  I saw TFA with two separate groups; some friends in their twenties and nephews in the tweens.  When they watched the original film, their reaction ranged between polite boredom and mild contempt.  (Except for the one who fell asleep.)

It's just the way it goes.  Some small segment of each generation will have an appreciation for "older stuff" -- I certainly did -- while many, if not most, will dismiss anything that preceded them.  And it's not just movies, of course.  I'm dismayed at the withering derision Madonna is held by younger folks, who simultaneously embrace her successors who have done little but follow in her footsteps. 

As for myself, I was still in diapers when STAR WARS debuted.  I may have seen EMPIRE but I suspect JEDI was my introduction to the SW universe.  As a kid, I liked the first film the least; I'll admit, I found it a bit dull.  It wasn't until well into adulthood that I fully appreciated the film, and came to feel it works best in isolation. 
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 10:53am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

When that seemingly endless Star Destroyer passes at the start,on the big screen...was jaw dropping!
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Monte Gruhlke
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 1:34pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I was pretty blown away when it came out - I lost track the number of times I cycled up to the Northtown Cinema to see it again... and again.
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Monte Gruhlke
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 1:40pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Slow? Star Wars is slow?

Thom, you should force those same friends to sit through all of 2001: A Space Odyssey with you, with their eyes pried open like Malcolm McDowell’s character’s was at the end of Clockwork Orange.

Too many movie references there... getting dizzy.
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Thom Price
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 2:13pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Thom, you should force those same friends to sit through all of 2001: A Space Odyssey with you

****

But I don't even want to sit through 2001: A Space Odyssey!!
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 2:32pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

I'm pretty sure I saw THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK before I saw STAR
WARS. I don't think I saw the latter until it was re-released with the A
NEW HOPE subtitle. It's amazing to me that as a kid, I was all about
droids and X-Wings and lightsabers and now, 30-something years later,
kids are still into them.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 2:46pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

We're now reaching a point where the original STAR WARS is not
spoken of with reverence by a good portion of today's kids, and is seen
as "that old, slow movie with the cheesy graphics"...

•••

And as you well know, that's not specific to STAR WARS. There is a big
slice of the audience for whom "old" or "old school" is automatically
bad. (Unless the latter is produced by some anointed superstar --
preferably with ennui masquerading as nostalgia.)
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 5:14pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I have done my job and converted 1. My son will only call STAR WARS by that title. Not A New Hope ,not Star Wars IV. I've heard him correct his friends on numerous occasions. I'm so proud of him!
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 5:37pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply


I'm sure we'll go over a lot of this same info next year, for the Big 4-0 in 2017, but I was only 2 months shy of turning 5-years old in June of 1977, when my father first took me to see STAR WARS...

...total sensory overload. I was obsessed with all things STAR WARS after that... posters, models, the soundtrack LP, comics, toys, Topps trading cards, bed sheets, etc.

If the STAR WARS logo was printed on it, I wanted it!




Edited by Shaun Barry on 26 May 2016 at 5:38pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 9:45pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

And as you well know, that's not specific to STAR WARS. There is a big 
slice of the audience for whom "old" or "old school" is automatically 
bad. (Unless the latter is produced by some anointed superstar -- 
preferably with ennui masquerading as nostalgia.)
++++++++++

Yep. 

I've become something of a proselytizer when it comes to this stuff. I find myself more and more trying to educate and introduce younger people to the classics, from STAR WARS to the original STAR TREK to various other shows and movies.

Just today, I loaned out my copies of ALIEN and ALIENS to a young friend who's never seen them. She was under the impression that the title characters wouldn't be scary, by today's standards.

I've noted that a lot of my younger friends and coworkers do enjoy this stuff...when they actually sit down and give it a chance.

The two lessons I try hardest to impart:

1. Historical context is vitally important in studying any art. Don't ever judge by the standards of today.

2. Story and character are always the most important elements. Set construction, makeup techniques, and visual effects are always evolving, but the rock bottom core of any work of fiction is the quality of the story and characters.

STAR TREK (TOS) endures because of the strength of the stories and the characters. The plywood sets and rubber monsters are just window-dressing. And so it is with STAR WARS. Even as the shock value of the cutting-edge visual effects has faded away, the story and the archetypal characters still resonate. They still strike a chord, one generation after another.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 26 May 2016 at 9:47pm
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 26 May 2016 at 10:33pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I was there to be blown away and I tip my hat to the 39 years since. Thank you, o' mighty Star Wars '77!

On the topic of the original losing its solid reputation, I blame in great part the "Special Edition" which is the one people have now grown up on.

The original was perfectly edited, which is to say it was balanced precariously. It cannot withstand random tinkering and remain perfect.

It was not "missing" a boring repetition of Jabba's role in Han Solo's life, nor any of the additional material which has been feathered back in. These additions have toppled the pacing so that just before the escape from Tatooine, the movie becomes a SLOG. And it can't ever recover fully from that. It is a movie that half-works, but has a giant... boring... patch in the middle.

What a loss!

Edited by Mark Haslett on 26 May 2016 at 10:36pm
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 27 May 2016 at 1:14am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Think on this.

STAR WARS was a film that over seven months of build up and hype in the UK - in an age with no internet. We had clips on TV, behind the scenes clips, endless articles in newspapaers, magazines, comics etc. We had the Marvel adaptation - I got the treasure editions for Christmas 1977.

But no film.

And then it opened in London in December 1977. So we had endless news articles about other people in the country queuing and queuing and queuing.

I'm pretty sure it was around March 1978 when I finally got to see the film.

And it was everything that those nine months of build up said it would be.

Has there ever been a film since that has been able to live up to that build up?
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 27 May 2016 at 7:42am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Transformers 2.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 27 May 2016 at 7:42am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

:)
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Thom Price
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Posted: 27 May 2016 at 7:51am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Has there ever been a film since that has been able to live up to that build up?

***

Probably not, but when was the last time anyone had to wait that long for a movie?  Movies are on home video these days faster than some areas got first run releases back in the day.  
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 27 May 2016 at 8:31am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

We had to wait two months for Phantom Menace - and it was not worth it
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