Thursday, May 25, 2017

Part Two: Memories of Star Wars Episode IV--or, Yes, Han Solo Shot First!

Today is the day that changed everything, guys. 40 years ago on this day, a movie opened that not only brought a new level of excitement the moribund (look that word up, guys!) movie industry but also into the lives of boys everywhere. I'm talking, of course, about Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Today, the Iron Guy will talk about his memories of seeing that movie. (and, believe me, boys, it DOES seem like "A long time ago")

Here's the poster for that first one-notice that it doesn't say "A New Hope"
Let me give you a little background. First, the Iron Guy has been a sci-fi fan for a long time---in fact, ever since he was a fifth-grade Iron Boy. That was when a librarian pointed me to the fiction shelves
(I had been reading only nonfiction at the time--which is a phase a lot of boys go through) and I found a copy of The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree by Louis Slobokin and was thoroughly hooked. I read a few other sci-fi and fantasy books as well as DC and Marvel comics over the years and watched the original Star Trek as it came on but there was very little sci-fi to read and extremely little to watch, especially at the movies. And the few sci-fi movies that came along were terrible. So imagine how excited I got when I heard that a new sci-fi movie was the biggest hit in the nation!

Secondly, in 1977 the movie industry was in a real slump. There were a lot of, what a friend called, "Life Stinks" movies--depressing grownup movies about how life is no good. Movies were no fun. Plus, I grew up with a lot of BIG movie theatres. There were old movie palaces that showed films on ginormous screens that made going to a movie a grand and special event. But they all started closing up around 1975 because there weren't any good movies. 

Doesn't this sound like Han Solo?
THEN--out of the clear blue came this FUN movie that imitated the style of the old Flash Gordon movie serials of the 1930's. There was action! Amazing (for the time) special effects! A wise-cracking princess with a blaster! A cynical semi-criminal with a heart of gold, like Humphrey Bogart in Casbalanca. (have you seen that one, guys? PS--I got this link from Tumblr)) And, in the best tradition of the old movies, the bad guys wore black and the good guys wore white. Everyone was excited about seeing it.

Including the Iron Guy. I went with a friend,  another sci-fi fan, one afternoon a week or two after it opened. And it was indeed fun. Of course, part of the enjoyment for me was predicting what would happen. Having read a lot of comics, I knew that this movie was like a big comic-book story and I knew how the story would go. I knew the bad guys would blow up Alderaan even when they said they wouldn't. I knew Darth Vader would strike down Obi-Wan and, when Luke was making his last approach through the trench, I said to myself, "A disembodied voice will come out of nowhere and tell Luke to use the Force." and sure enough...

But it was great fun. In fact, we enjoyed it so much that, when it was over, we looked at each other and said, :Let's see it again!" So we did. We stayed in our seats and waited until the next showing and saw it all over! Yes, that wasn't the most honest thing to do and I wouldn't do it again today (besides, they wouldn't let you) but things were a lot looser in those days and guys did it fairly often. In the end, by gong to see it with other friends, I saw that movie 10 times within a month! Whew! Of course, I've been a huge fan ever since. As a lot of guys have been, still are and will be for a long time. 

So that's my memory. Thanks for letting me talk for such a long time. Why don't YOU share your memories of seeing this terrific movie? Write something in the Comments section.
PS--This movie wasn't called "A New Hope" until many years later.
PPS--and in the original version--that I saw 10 times--Han Solo DID shoot first!

No comments: