It was thirty years ago today...

Or more appropriately, a long time ago, that I saw the original
Star Wars with my father on opening weekend at a local movie theater.

Prior to that screening, my obsessions were super-heroes (specifically Batman), Muppets and The Six Million Dollar Man.

There was no such thing as
Star Wars.

And then there was.

And everything was different.

A long time ago, I remember arguing in the schoolyard who would be Luke and who would be Han at the start of recess.

A long time ago, I remember going to the opening of the first Toys R Us in the area, being able to choose one thing (passing up the now ridiculously rare Mego Teen Titans figures) and choosing a copy of the
Star Wars Treasury Edition published by Marvel Comics.

A long time ago, specifically second grade, I made my own comic adaptation of Star Wars (which was basically a poor adaptation of Marvel's) and it was mimeographed and distributed in the class.

A long time ago, I remember getting a bootleg copy of
Star Wars on VHS and having a half dozen friends over after school to watch it.

A long time ago, the
Star Wars universe was finite. I knew a solid 85% of all there was to know about George's plans for the three trilogies (Yes, George, you did say there was going to be nine films). I knew the names of the pilots that flew Rebel ships against the Death Star (R.I.P. Jek Porkins), about the Khyber Crystal and The Journal of the Whills and how Solo freed an enslaved Chewbacca, granting him a life debt.

A long time ago, I remember walking into a movie theater and seeing the tail end of the trailer for
The Empire Strikes Back, specifically Luke flying through the glass during his battle with Vader in Bespin.

A long time ago, I was playing at my friend Vincent Ho's house when my mother came to pick me up. forty five minutes later I was sitting at the Showcase Cinema in Seekonk, Massachusetts on the opening day of
Empire watching AT-AT's destroy the Rebel Base on Hoth. When we left the movies, Darth Vader stood in the parking lot waving goodbye.

A long time ago, I spent a solid hour debating with my late older brother David who Yoda was talking about when he said that, "there was another."

A long time ago, I debated how a Jedi wouldn't show revenge, so the title
Revenge of the Jedi made no sense.

A long time ago, I remember reading the comic adaptation of
Return of the Jedi before it came out. And I saw it opening day and twice again that weekend.

A long time ago, I bought the first Timothy Zahn
Star Wars novel and put it aside forever when they revealed Lando's fondness for an exotic drink called "hot chocolate."

A long time ago, I waited in line for two hours before seeing
Star Wars The Special Edition. When it was over, I was disappointed at how bored I was and how it seemed to be missing all of the scenes that my memory had amalgamated from different sources (comics, radio adaptations, magazines, etc.) as being part of the film.

A long time ago, I got tickets hours before the midnight showing of
The Phantom Menace. I was less excited to have to see it a second time the next day with the tickets that I secured weeks before (I actually brought a book).

A long time ago, I was excited to hear that
Star Wars would be coming to dvd. I was happier to own it than I was to watch it.

A long time ago, I was even more excited that the original non-special edition trilogy was being released. This too is a purchase that I'm happier to own than watch.

Star Wars
changed my generation in a number of ways. When I was younger a single shot of several bounty hunters fueled my imagination (Zuckuss? Dengar? IG-88? Bossk? Anyone?). With the new trilogy, every character seemed like an action figure. Yet, despite my cynicism (Thanks, George), my disappointment with the newer films (Thanks again, George) and with my overall lack of interest in Star Wars these days; I can't dispute the fact that Star War fueled my imagination for many years, created a common pop culture thread for my generation and overall, touched my life for the better.

Now, when a new film or animated series or special edition comes out, I see it or buy it. Partly out of a weird obligation and partly in an attempt to recapture a bit of the magic and innocence of my childhood.

Now, on it's thirtieth anniversary there is only one caveat that holds true.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away a great adventure took place.