Happy 44th Anniversary, Star Wars!

Poster art by Greg and Tim Hildenbrandt. (C) 1977 20th Century Fox Film Corporation

Hello, there. It’s late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. It is a sultry late spring day in the Sunshine State; currently, the temperature is 78˚F (26˚C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 31% and a southeasterly breeze blowing at 9 MPH (14 KM/H), the heat index is 76˚F (24˚C). It is going to be a hot day – the forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 93˚F (34˚C). Tonight, we can expect partly cloudy skies and a low of 68˚F (20˚C).

Today marks the 44th Anniversary of the release of writer-director George Lucas’s Star Wars (aka Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope). On Wednesday, May 25, 1977, the space-fantasy that launched a multi-billion dollar, multi-media franchise and became a cultural phenomenon to be reckoned with sneaked into the world’s consciousness without much fanfare.

Per the New York Daily News’ Helen Kennedy’s Star Wars movie opened for the first time 35 years ago today (May 25, 2012):

It’s hard to remember a day when Star Wars wasn’t a towering cultural and marketing event, but on May 25, 1977, it was a smallish movie opening on a Wednesday in just 32 theaters.

There was no premiere.

“Theaters didn’t want the movie. We were lucky to get thirty theaters to open it,” Charles Lippincott, former Lucasfilm promotions chief later said of the troubled and much-delayed production.

And considering how Star Wars is my hands-down favorite movie of all time – I saw it 17 times in theaters and Force knows how many times on home media (starting with VHS tapes in 1984 all the way to digital copies on Movies Anywhere) – it’s ironic that I was originally a Star Wars skeptic and thought, at age 14, that I was too old and mature to watch what was considered by many a movie aimed especially at kids.

As I wrote in my banned-by-Facebook blog A Certain Point of View in a 40th Anniversary retrospective post four years ago:

I … find no small amount of irony that I’m a die-hard Star Wars fan 40 years after its release. After all, I ignored the movie – and the hoopla around it – for almost five months in 1977. I didn’t read comic books and didn’t watch Star Trek then, so I wasn’t as willing to spend my movie-going money on the onscreen adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca the Wookiee, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Darth Vader as many of my friends did. 

Curiosity finally got the best of me in September of 1977 after I watched The Making of Star Wars on ABC, and I ended up seeing Star Wars three or four times (I honestly can’t remember now, but I think I saw it at least three times in theaters) by year’s end. I also bought the novelization by Alan Dean Foster (but credited to George Lucas) and borrowed the comics adaptations by Marvel from a neighbor, Carlos Vega, who was also a Star Wars fan.[1]

(C) 2008 Warner Home Entertainment and Lucasfilm Ltd.

And almost as if the Universe were in harmony with my geekiness, the U.S. Post Office has confirmed that the Blu-ray of 2008’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated film written by Henry Gilroy and directed by Dave Filoni, is currently marked as “Out for Delivery,” fittingly on this 44th Anniversary day.

(In yet another irony of my life as a Star Wars fan, Star Wars: The Clone Wars was the first canonical material to be released on Blu-ray when Warner Bros. released it in November of 2008. I didn’t own a Blu-ray player yet (I bought my first one in 2009, around the same time that I bought my first HDTV set), so I bought the DVD instead. I then dithered about getting the Blu-ray version, but I put it off so many times that by the time I decided to buy it, finding one at its original price of $19.99 was impossible. Amazon – the main store – didn’t have any copies in its inventory, and third-party sellers asked outrageous prices (sometimes as much as $69.99 or more) after the TV series on got some traction on its original Cartoon Network home.[2])

I don’t think I’ll do anything overtly Star Wars-y, such as doing a Star Wars movie marathon or listening to Star Wars scores,today. The most I’ll do, I guess, is put on a Star Wars T-shirt with the rest of today’s ensemble after I take my shower and change into fresh clothes. During my short noon break I might read from one of my many Star Wars books or comics, and if I do decide to watch any visual content, I will probably watch the 1977 version of Star Wars on DVD, even though that’s the non-anamorphic widescreen version ported over from a 1990s laserdisc.

Okay, it’s time to wrap this post up, so I will take my leave of you, Dear Reader. Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things!

Sources:

Star Wars movie opened for the first time 35 years ago today, Helen Kennedy, New York Daily News, May 25, 2012

40 years a Star Wars fan, Alex Diaz-Granados, A Certain Point of View Blogger blog, May 25, 2017


[1] I can’t use the link to 40 years a ‘Star Wars’ fan as a reference here because Facebook will then block this post, but if you want to read the whole thing, go to Blogger and look for a blog called A Certain Point of View: Writing, Film and Stuff, then do a search for the post by its title.

[2] I ended up using over $40 worth of my Amazon Visa Rewards points to get my copy. The third-party seller offered it at a reasonable $39.99 plus shipping from Nashville, TN. I didn’t want to use my credit card to pay for it and add to my already impressive credit card bill (I also bought an expensive laptop this month, so….), but I did have rewards points. I still think I was dumb to not get Star Wars: The Clone Wars when it was less dear, but at least I found it for less than $50.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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