No, I was not alive May 25, 1977 when the original "Star Wars" was released. I don't remember the first time I saw the movie.
I remember seeing it in theaters for the first time. Its an experience everyone needs to experience at least once in their lives. I remember the VHS of "Star Wars" my family had. My parents recorded it off the Sci-Fi Channel in the 1980s. Commercials and all. It never stopped my brother and I watching the movie several times a month. Our VHS copies of "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" were recorded off of Showtime or Cinemax.
Back in 1996 my father took my brother and me to see "Space Jam." Yes, the Michael Jordan Looney Toons movie. The movie wasn't the greatest looking back but being a 9-year-old kid, I loved it. But it wasn't the movie that left the biggest impression on me and my brother. No, it was the trailer for the "Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition." It was the first time I saw any bit of "Star Wars" on the big screen. My brother wanted to pay another 8 bucks after the movie just to watch the trailer again!
January 1997 came around and my family went to the theaters to see "Star Wars." I remember it very well. The theater was packed, it was a rainy day, my father had a cold, and two days before Darth Vader made the front page of the Waterbury Republican-American. I'm pretty sure my brother still has the newspaper hanging up in his room. The theater was so packed the four of us couldn't sit together. My mom and brother found seats and my dad and I sat together.
What more could anyone ask for? Watching the original "Star Wars" movie in theaters with your dad being 10 years old? Of course being 10 years old I didn't really have an opinion on Greedo shooting Han first, looking back now Han shot first. I remember watching the scene where Han Solo was chasing a stormtrooper down the halls of the Death Star yelling. One my my favorite scenes, as well as my father's. We were laughing as if it was our first time watching the movie. Han turns the corner where in the 1977 version he sees four or five stormtroopers. Not in the Special Edition, no no Han is surprised to see 40 or 50 stormtroopers. I remember my dad trying to hold his cough in he was laughing so hard. He did drop a curse word in there too.
The only other time I was able to see the original movie in theaters was last year. The Strande theater in Seymour held a "Star Wars" marathon as a fundraising event for renovations to the theater. Although the theater said they would show the 1977 version of the film, they showed the 2004 version when the film was first released on DVD. Nevertheless, it was an experience. I sat behind a boy no younger than eight with his mother watching the movie for the first time, and I was a bit jealous I wish I could see it for the first time.
I did go see "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" in 3D this year. I'm not a big fan of 3D movies, but seeing any of the "Star Wars" films on the big screen is well worth it. If you ever get a chance to see them in theaters don't miss out. If you have kids who haven't seen the movies, take them. I know I can't wait to go see "Star Wars" in theaters again.