My first exposure to Star Wars was not by name. It was in when I was a sophomore in college (76-77), and was at the Pizza Keg in West Lafayette, Ind, with a group of other D&D players/SCAers/ and SF Fans. One of them was talking about a new movie coming out.
"It's science fiction," he said, "But the guys in the white space armor are the bad guys".
And that's the first I had learned about Star Wars.
It is kind of strange, in our media-savvy universe to see something like this creep up on people. I was aware of a novel (it showed up in the local at the Stewart Center (Purdue's student union) for two weeks, before being rotated out). I think there was a very excited and long article in TIME that showed up the week of release.
And there were the radio ads. Yes, radio ads. They played all summer. I don't know if they do radio ads for movies anymore, but we had radio ads. I still remember "The Death Breath of the Dark Lord".
And then, the movie itself. It played in ONE LOCATION in Pittsburgh during that first run. And that was a multiplex out near Monroeville, twenty miles away. So our D&D gang gathered together, carpooled in our parents cars, and made the trip out, to a packed weekend theater and a line (a line! for an SF movie!) out front.
Once inside, the lights went down, and the opening drumroll for 20th Cent Fox. The simple tagline on the screen, the John Williams anthem, and the crawl.
And then that first shot, over Tatooine, of the blockade runner pursued by the Star Destroyer. The Star Destroyer that filled the top of the screen, and KEPT ON COMING. And you thought it was done, but no, that was just the cargo bay, there was MORE SHIP to come.
That was the gosh-wow moment for me. I was willing to buy everything else after that moment.
That's what I remember about the first Star Wars movie. I think we made the pilgrimage about a dozen times. Me, the future Lovely Bride, and the members of our D&D group. One time I took my little sister (who would have 13, and was impressed that my friend Frank could do a Wookiee imitation). Once the theater was so full, we had to sit in the front row, and the star destroyer rumbled overhead. And it was really cool.
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