My Two Cents
Thursday, 25 May 2017 19:22

Celebrating Forty Years of Star Wars

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All right, I shouldn’t have tell any of you what today is... it’s Towel Day!

And also, of course, the 40th anniversary of a little film called Star Wars. Not Episode IV. Not A New Hope. Star Wars.

To recognize the occasion, we’ve got a couple things for you here at The Bits today.

First up, our very own Michael Coate has updated and expanded his excellent History, Legacy & Showmanship retrospective column, A Force to Be Reckoned With: Remembering “Star Wars” on its 40th Anniversary. He’s combed newspaper archives all across North America to produce a definitive history of the film’s debut theatrical release back in 1977-1978. Every theater that showed the film, the day it opened in that theater, all of it. Trust me, I’ve learned from personal experience that one’s memory of seeing the film back in 1977 is not as accurate as Michael’s exhaustive research – he’s sent me the vintage microfilmed newspaper clippings to prove it. [Read on here…]

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The piece also features updated facts and statistics about the film’s initial theatrical fun and it comes with a great roundtable interview featuring Marcus Hearn (author of The Cinema of George Lucas), Patrick Read Johnson (the writer and director of 5-25-77 and the first “civilian” to see Star Wars during a visit to Industrial Light and Magic in early 1977 while the film was still in production), our friend Kevin Rubio (the director and co-writer of Troops), and another great friend, the longtime DVD and Blu-ray documentarian Charles de Lauzirika (of Alien Anthology, Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery, and Blade Runner: The Final Cut fame, of course, but who also recently produced the Star Wars: Launch Bay featurette for Lucasfilm that’s now playing at Disneyland and Disney World). Michael’s piece is not just a great read, it’s an important piece of film history journalism, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as we have.

Now then... I wanted to take a moment, before we close, to post a personal note today. Because, for those of us in Generation X in particular, this is a rather important occasion.

In the Summer of 1977, I was a ten-year-old child of divorce moving from home to home and city to city, losing friends as fast as I made them, and at one point attending a new school a year. Then I saw Star Wars... and none of that mattered. Forty years later, I still vividly recall walking out of the theater with my mother and aunt, a wide-eyed chatterbox, nearly vibrating with excitement. My imagination was unleashed, my dreams were fired into space, and all I had to do to make new friends was ask (or be asked): “Have you seen Star Wars?” For me, this has never been just a film. It’s an experience that altered my life in profoundly positive ways, making what should have been a terrible time joyous. It shaped me, gave me direction, and led me to some of my oldest and dearest friends.

Whatever else it might be, Star Wars is part of who I am. I’ll always be grateful for that. Thank you, George.

Bill Hunt, Star Wars fan since 1977

That’s all for now. It’s time to go spin a movie disc in the player. I know just the one.

Happy 40th!

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt


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