“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….” – It’s amazing to realize that this amazing Space Opera was released forty years ago on this very day. I don’t need to cite how those introductory words brought us to the flourish of the orchestrated soundtrack while the opening crawl began and filled us in about what was going on in this particular galaxy. The ride began here and what a ride it’s been. The film and its subsequent sequels have become one of the biggest selling franchises in cinematic history.
I’m happy to report that I saw this film not long after it opened in the cinema, and it was at the now shuttered Ziegfeld Theater in NYC with my Grandmother. She had taken me as a birthday present as the film opened up a few days before I would be celebrating. I don’t remember how long after it opened that we went but it was not open long for sure. I don’t have the ticket from the show as one wasn’t keeping that sort of stuff way back then, or at least I wasn’t – Yet 🙂 I loved the film and am pretty sure that I convinced Nan to take me again or the parents. I wasn’t seeing movies with my friends yet back in 1977. When did you see this film? Are you old enough to have said you saw it during its original theatrical run like I was fortunate to do? Hopefully you aren’t one of those folks that have never seen the film because I have heard that a few of you are out there. I’ll run down the cast in a moment but first – Behold the Original “Star Wars” Theatrical Poster. Magnificent isn’t it?
I don’t think that I need to explain that the film is an epic Space Western that pits good versus evil by way of the Rebel Alliance and The Galactic Empire and the entire thing is loaded with thrilling moments that were adeptly brought to life by an almost all unknown cast at the time. Now these folks who remain with us on this plane are legendary Science Fiction figures and rule the convention circuit when they make an appearance. Here’s the main casting for the first film. The rest of the finer details you can find on the Wikipedia entry but we bow our heads in respect to the ones that have passed as Peter Cushing, Sir Alec Guinness, David Prowse, Kenny Baker and Carrie Fisher have all since passed away.
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia
Harrison Ford as Han Solo
Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin
Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
Kenny Baker as R2-D2
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca
David Prowse as Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones)
Check out the original Teaser Trailer that showed the folks at home just what to expect if they took a chance on this new film.
The film was a hit and made over $775 million dollars at the box office and remember this is in 1977!!! “Star Wars” is one of my very favorite films of all time and as result I’ve kept certain things for many years that relate to the film. The merchandising for this film was tremendous as there were action figures, and trading cards and comic books and even sheets. I think that I had the sheets and while I still have a lot of the original action figures there are in a box somewhere secured away. The Hasbro company has released an anniversary set of the first “12” figures and I’ve embedded a link to one of the series down at the close of this milestone. Now its time to share some of the stuff that I had easy access to and thought would be fun to show you. When Nan and I saw the film at the Ziegfeld, there was a souvenir program available. It’s in pretty decent shape for forty years old.
These novels are dated back to 1977 and the first one is the full story of “Star Wars” as a bring with you everywhere book and the other is a miniature version of the comic series adaptation by Marvel Comics. I got the novelization not long after seeing the film and I was an avid reader back then and think that I owned a couple of copies of this. While my photographed copy looks brand new, its the sixteenth printing and does have the 1977 date on it. I’ve taken good care of this one. The comics adaptation I didn’t like so much as it was printed in black and white. My original comics of the films adaptation are stocked somewhere in one of my many long boxes and I could go to find them for the purpose of this narrative. The movie ran for six individual monthly issues and once that completed a new series of non-connected adventures would take place. The “Star Wars” comic series ran for about “125” issues if memory serves me and at “12” issues a year that was just over ten years on the stands. Not a bad run at all.
After the comics series finished its serialization of the film, they reprinted them into these two Marvel Treasury Editions. There were giant-sized comic books with a thicker cover paper stock and while I used to have a stack of these types of books, only my “Star Wars” and a “Conan” edition remain. Sadness. I should point out that Dark Horse Comics had the license to the “Star Wars” comics for many years and released a healthy amount of titles and there are some really good ones all collected in trade paperback editions. You should look them up. Nowadays Marvel Comics has the license again since they are owned in full by Disney who owns “Star Wars”.
Now I should stress again that I still had not seen my first concert but I was still a VERY big fan of music and so that led me to owning a copy of the “Star Wars” Original Soundtrack which was the Orchestral Score composed by the great John Williams. One thing I remember doing when this played was doing the conducting. Oh come on don’t tell me you’ve never done that to an orchestra score at some point or another.
The album had some nice photos from the film on the inside so I’ve snapped that as well for you. I don’t remember if there was any kind of booklet inside as well and if there was I no longer have it.
I loved the back cover of the LP as it showcased the insidious Darth Vader, Lord Of The Sith. Brrrr, my favorite villain for sure from the moment I first saw him in action.
This last visual is of my LP of “The Story Of Star Wars” and this was not a musical release but a narration of much of the films overall plot. It was a hoot to listen to and this was in the days before home video recorders being a common thing and would have been the closest way that fans could relive the enjoyment of the film in their home as opposed to going to see it again.
As I’ve noted above, there is a wealth of information on the film’s Official Wikipedia entry and so much of it offers up details that will make you an expert on the topic. I’m planning on watching the film on the recently purchased Blu-ray boxed set at some point today and yes, I will be doing so in a “Star Wars” t-shirt with my little Darth Vader statue standing guard close by. I’d love to know what you think about this particular Movie Milestone, so please leave me your thoughts on it and any special reflections down in the comments below. I’ll see you again soon, and until that time “May The Force Be With You” (oh come on like you didn’t see that one coming…….
Official Film Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_(film)