My mother emailed this morning:

I just thought you might be interested in the fact that 30 years ago today Star Wars hit the movie theaters. Oh, by the way, happy birthday!

Love, Mom

Sounds harsh, but don't cry for me just yet, Argentina. There are worse fates than to share your birthday with the release of Star Wars. Raise your hand if your DOB happens to fall on April 20. December 18? July 6? Sorry, folks, my birthday is better than yours.

I can't claim (as so many do-- it's like the Gen-X Woodstock) to have seen Star Wars on its opening weekend. It had probably been out for months before I finally caught it in second run at the Cinerama. As Mr. Jackson pointed out in an earlier post, opening weekend wasn't as big a deal in 1977 as it is now. More importantly, Mom had seen Star Wars early on and decided that "the hairy monster guy that flies the spaceship" would probably scare the beejezus out of her first-grader. She was wrong, of course, but it took a lot of nagging on my part to bring her around.

It's hard to imagine in media saturated 2007 just how hard and how fast Star Wars permeated the zeitgeist. Even without the help of the Internet and with only seven or eight channels of snowy, black-and-white tv, I knew everything about Star Wars long before I saw it on the big screen. Biggs Darklighter, check. Jabba the Hutt, check. Star Wars was everywhere-- in print, on the radio, on the playground-- and every little detail got woven into a larger tapestry of experience. No matter how many sequels, spin-offs, revisions and media tie-ins have followed, the undiluted fun of 1977 is what I still love best about Star Wars.

I can't deny the influence that the film has had on me, from forming the core of my comic book fetish to fueling my love of Japanese culture. My experience isn't particularly unique in these regards. I attended Mr. Blitz's screening of the bootleg VHS copy of Star Wars lo those many years ago. It's safe to say that he and I are in agreement on most points when it come to the Long Ago, Far Away Galaxy.

The bottom line is that it's not so bad to share a birthday with Star Wars. It's practically a holiday and guaranteed to be 100% fun.

Also, Han shot first.


RJackson said...

Happy Birthday, first and foremost; nice article second!