I saw the original Star Wars movie in the theater when it came out in 1977.
That was a tough year for my family. My grandmother had passed away and a few months later, my Aunt, who was the matriarch of our family, was killed in a car crash.
On the afternoon of May 25th I was playing with my half Filipino friend Kevin Sanford, mindlessly filling cups with sand, building out a chain of featureless and pointless sandcastles across the lawn.
I was expecting more bad news when my dad walked over from our house. I remember his curly hair being tossed in the wind as he stood over me. My mom had convinced him to get a perm so he would look more like her favorite singer Tom Jones.
He said he was going to take me to a movie. “It’s called Star Wars,” he said.
Back then, we didn’t experience the sort of pre-release hype weeks in advance that you see now for movies. I’d never heard of Star Wars. My first thought was, ‘That’s a dumb title’. I was fairly certain it was impossible for stars to make war on each other.
But to a kid in 1977, any movie was a good movie. I dropped the cups and walked away towards our house with my dad.
We arrived at the theater. The line was nonexistent. We bought our tickets and sat in our seats. Dad handed me a bag of popcorn and a Mountain Dew which I excepted wordlessly.
The lights dimmed and the movie began rolling. Spaceships flew across the screen, Stormtroopers shot blasters, Darth Vader lifted a guy off the ground, C3PO and R2D2 were funny, and Princess Leia was hot.
My jaw dropped. I was pinned to my seat with excitement. My head was bursting with questions. How does the force work? Are C3PO and R2D2 real robots? Were other kids at my school aware of how amazing this was?
I said to my dad, “Life will never be the same.”
I went back to see Star Wars a couple days later with a bunch of other kids. Word was out. The line was around the block. But that was okay.