But I Was Going To Go Into Tashi Station And Catch A Film That Will Bury Itself Into Our Collective Consciousness!

Star WarsToday is the 30th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope or as it was simply called on Wednesday, May 25, 1977 — Star Wars. That summer I was 10 and in a close Mormon-family unit. Dad worked a lot and was going to school. Mom was working part-time when my dad was home.

The funny part? I hadn’t even heard of the movie. Honestly. We were that out of touch with the outside world. My parents exposed us to much more music than television. I do remember that a bunch of kids at church were acting out the movie, but I think it was only the commercials and trailers they had seen. It only dawned on me much later that they were talking about Star Wars.

My dad and I were always watching sci-fi and other fantasy type shows on television like “Star Trek” and “Wild, Wild West” — both of which I still love today. The interesting part of this story is that mom and dad had come to me and said that Dad and I were going to see a movie together. Just us. No one else. I thought I was going to burst with excitement. I didn’t care what we saw just that Dad and I were going to do something together.

Dad told me that it was a space movie and that it would be a lot of fun. I was all for it thinking it was going to be like “Star Trek”. We got there early and even though the theater hadn’t filled yet (because it did), I still made Dad sit in the third row. I was in heaven. I’d be able to see a science-fiction movie on a big screen and see every pore on every alien. Yes, even if their skin was latex.

I’ve still never experienced the excitement and anticipation of a theater crowd more than then. People were actually talking to complete strangers about what to expect and poking fun at my dad for letting me force him into that third row seat. He just played it off and allowed me to have my say to where we sat. I’m pretty sure that not only was I hyper as hell, but he was pretty damn excited to see it as well.

The lights dimmed and we had to sit through some previews which were taking far too much time. Then the lights went all the way down and the 20th Century Fox March started. I had heard it before, but that music will always to this day remind me of Star Wars. Silence. And the prologue sentence — in blue — that will forever be itched into the brains of generations of people:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….

And then I about jumped out of my seat when the John Williams’ opening fanfare scared the crap out of me and panicked when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to read the opening scroll. After that, I settled in and discovered how fun cinema could be. My favorite scene? The trash compactor? The moment Darth Vader appeared? When Luke and Leia kissed (EEW!)? The assault on the Death Star?

Nope.

It was the Cantina Band. I fell completely in love with Williams’ freaky jazz music, the unusual musicians and the weird instruments they were playing. That was how much music was — and still is — a part of my life. In fact, I loved everything about that Mos Eisley (“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”) sequence: first meeting Han and Chewy, Luke trying out bravado for the first time, Obi-Wan’s father-like protection of Luke, even the weird drinks they were serving.

And when I got home? I completely geeked out and reenacted the entire movie for my brothers.

…and then he was all like ‘beezzzuuu’ and the bad guy was like ‘I’m all better than you now’ and the lasers were all like ‘Dzoo! Dzoo!’ and then he killed him. It was sad…

So thank you, Mr. George Lucas, for entertaining and inspiring us even today. We may be a little hard on your later career, but it’s only because you made us see how wonderful the images projected on silver screen in darkened theaters could make us cheer, love, think, gasp, cry, laugh and smile. And even though I think The Empire Strikes Back is the superior film, Star Wars will always be the ultimate father/son bonding moment in my life.


Listening to: “Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band” – Meco
Meco - The Best of Meco - Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band

25 thoughts on “But I Was Going To Go Into Tashi Station And Catch A Film That Will Bury Itself Into Our Collective Consciousness!

  1. My poor mother fell asleep in the film….she had just had my little brother, and had had many sleepless nights…it blew me away, and only then did I notice that she had missed most of it. I was at the London premiere of the Empire Strikes back, it was amazing (small brother by then old enough to be there too…)

  2. I wish I was old enough to have seen the Star Wars movies when they originally ran in the theater. The first time I actually sat down and watched them was on TV in high school. The rest is history.

    I think my most memorable movie moment for me was when I was 11 and saw Jurassic Park in the theater when it came out opening weekend. It’s still my favorite movie of all time.

  3. My father had just been in a horrible car accident, and was in a hospital in Denver (4 hours from where we lived). We visited him every weekend, and tried our best to run the farm in his absence. There was stress and pain and fear everywhere in our family’s daily life. Then one weekend, one of my best friends (Greg, thank you) made me leave the hospital and took me to see Star Wars. And the scene that I’ll always remember is exactly your favorite, Howard: The Cantina. That music still lives in my head..

    Thanks for bringing back a good memory from a difficult summer.

  4. Xa

    Star Wars and I came out the same year, so my first in-theater Star Wars experience was seeing “Empire”, and we actually met Darth Vader! Or at least some dude in the costume breathing heavily. I, of course, was terrified. And hooked.

    When I went to see the re-released Star Wars opening weekend at The Continental (I flirted my way to tickets), I was not only sitting in a row with Boba Fett, some jawas and a handful of storm troopers, but half of the theater yelled “STAR” and the other half of the theater roared back “WARS.” It was like a geek pep rally. We were only missing the cantina band.

  5. Khlari:
    Actually, I don’t know the release date in the UK. Ahh, Dec. 27, 1977. It would have been great to see ESB at the London premiere.

    Mr. Fab:
    Wanna touch my boobies?

    Craig:
    You can live vicariously through us old fogies. We don’t mind. JP is an outstanding movie though.

    Hermit:
    Hooray! I made someone feel good!

    Dan:
    You can still enjoy Star Wars, right? RIGHT?

    Xa:
    Hahaha! What a great time!

    Diesel:
    Dude! Did you not read my Ode To Tron poem a few weeks ago? By the time Tron came out I was seeing movies all the time especially anything sci-fi. Yes, I even cried when Spock died. C’mon! Do something!

  6. Me too. Me too. Me too.

    Saw it the day after it opened, cause after my boyfriend and I stood in line for 4 hours on opening day only to have tickets sell out 2 people in front of us.

    While the whole movie was close to a religious experience for me (was a total sci-fi geek growing up) the Cantina scene by far was THE COOLEST part of the movie.

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane, Howard. I wish I had my boyfriends #…I’d call him and remind him of the importance of this day. Yeah, his wife probably wouldn’t like it, but who cares. It’s Star Wars.

  7. My first experience of Star Wars was seeing it as a double feature in a drive-in with the release of Empire Strikes Back. Cinnamon buns would never be seen the same way again…

  8. Okay, I’m probably going to be fried by a bevy of light sabers – or whatever you all call a flock of light sabers – for this, but I was 12 when it came out….and I didn’t see it. For years. Too many people my age were into it, and I’ve always been the type to shun “The Blockbuster,” as it were, so I skipped it. And never really got into the whole Saga as much as I should have…

    …until now. Now I have two little boys who own all 6 Star Wars movies on DVD. And we watch them constantly. So thank you, George Lucas, for providing distraction for my two lovely childre….ur, thank you for making movies that are timeless. And, yes, ESB is the best of the lot.

  9. Kath:
    I wonder what would happened if you called him out of the blue.

    Jason:
    We saw Star Wars at the drive-in (one of several times we saw it) and with all the traveling the reels did, people would cut scenes out of the movie to keep them. We saw one where the kiss between Luke & Leia (EW!) was and everyone there boo’ed at the top of their lungs. It was funny. Tee-hee.

    Jeff:
    WHAT! I don’t even KNOW you anymore. It is a good thing you have kids.

  10. There was a reply from him when I woke up this am!!!

    He also was thinking about Star Wars and remembering back to standing in line all day.

    Howard, you are such a doll for writing this post.

    I’ve now reconnected with a very good friend from back in the day (have remained on great terms with most of my ex’s). I may even share my blog with him!

    Oh, the wondrous powers of the internet! And Howard, of course. Have a great weekend with your Mom!

  11. Actually, I hadn’t seen Star Wars until I started working @ The Wizards Chest. When my boss found out that neat little tid-bit, he sent me home from work with his copy of the trilogy and told me not to come back to work until I had watched them all. This is not a joke.

  12. The Cantina music scene was my favourite too, and remains so. What a fabulous write-up. And Khlari, I was ten too, obviously enough given we’re, er, both the same birth-year, and ‘Star Wars’ hit the UK in the summer of 1977 just four weeks or so, if I recall correctly, after the US release. Because I was waiting for it. And waiting. x

  13. Actually, according to imdb.com, the UK release date was in December of 1977. It’s no wonder you had to wait since it didn’t come out for another 6 months after it did in the US.

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