Yesterday was the official 30th anniversary of Star Wars! It's amazing to think that the original movie classic was released on May 25th, 1977, and like countless other 10 year olds (and every other age!), it's been a huge part of my life since then. So, I thought I would take a moment to share the beginnings of my Star Wars fandom.
When I was in grade school, Dad used to surprise me often by coming home from work with a few new comic books for me, which I used to take to school and read at recess and share with my friends. One day he gave me the first issue of the classic Marvel Comics adaptation of the film, which came out before I had even seen a trailer in the theater. I didn't even know it was going to be a movie, but I loved the comic! One day at school someone told me it was going to be a movie, and I couldn't believe it! Soon after that, I found the novel adaptation and bought it (probably around April 1977), and read it every day until the movie was out. I think I only got about a third of the way through the book before seeing the movie, but I remember I had a clear idea in my head of how scary Darth Vader would be!
I'm not sure of the date that I saw the movie for the first time - it wasn't opening day, but I didn't have to wait too long. My parents took me to see it at this giant domed theater, which made me anxious since the last movie I had seen there was Jaws, which gave me a million sleepless nights! It was a little scary just going to that theater again, but Star Wars overcame that previous traumatic movie experience by filling me with sheer wonder and excitement! I can vividly remember the opening theme and seeing the title blast into the distant star field, but my strongest memory is my first look at the "real" Darth Vader, when he boards the Tantive IV after the Stormtrooper gunfight. I can remember hearing his breathing for the first time, and when he marches towards the camera I remember focusing on the details on his costume and actually thinking to myself, "I'm going to see this over and over again!"
Of course, all of my friends became fans around the same time, and we saw it again whenever we could. My pal Mark Kempton's dad would take us to see it practically anytime we asked, so I must have seen it at least 10 more times with him, and still more times with my other pals! I started collecting things right away (I think my first items were a wall calendar and the Kenner board game!), and soon I got The Story of Star Wars, which was a book and record set containing most of the dialogue of the movie (condensed into about an hour). I listened to that so many times that I quickly memorized the entire film, which has become one of my secret talents to this day.
I'm so happy to have been a Star Wars kid! I think being the right age at the right time made my childhood even more magical and exciting, and 1977 will always stand out for me as one of the coolest years ever. So, I'll chime in with the millions of other blogs and thank George Lucas for making it all happen! I could go on and on about how my fandom has continued to evolve, but instead I'm going to celebrate today by watching Episode IV: A New Hope and building a LEGO Y-Wing fighter!