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Not to make anyone feel old, but what was it like seeing the OT in theaters for the first time?

Discussion in 'Original Trilogy' started by Andrew Waples, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. Rogues1138

    Rogues1138 Crazy Old Wizard
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    For me, I was in the 5th grade and a fellow student approached us and said he saw ESB, so we followed him to a table during break time and he told us the entire story, so even though empire came out when I was a kid I was spoiled at an earl age but yet I still wanted to see it. Knowing Darth Vader was Luke's father did not deter us from watching the film but made us want to see the film more so
     
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  2. Pobody's Nerfect

    Pobody's Nerfect Jedi General

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    Before I launch into what I personally experienced as a ten year old kid in 1977, let me remind everyone what America was like in 1977.

    The war in Viet-Nam ended in 1975, the same year production of Star Wars began. The country was wracked with hippy protests against the military-industrial complex. People - especially young people - were turning to environmentalism to save the planet and ancient religions to find the spirituality that our consumer culture was missing.

    And suddenly here's a space fantasy movie about a bunch of young people, guided by the wisdom of ancient mystics, taking on the planet-killing weapon of the Galaxy's military-industrial complex.

    It's easy to forget today, but Star Wars was very much a political statement in the 1970s.

    But I was only ten, and I didn't understand back then. What I could understand follows -

    • Special effects were absolutely years ahead of their time
    • The Force was the first time a supernatural power was presented in a positive light in a movie. Every other movie I can think of before Star Wars that had a supernatural element in it was a horror movie, and the supernatural power was always scary and bad
    • The music was amazing. I had the Star Wars Soundtrack on LP vinyl, and Leia's Theme made me cry. John Williams was my introduction to the beautiful worlds of orchestral and classical music
    • Before Star Wars we played soccer during recess if the school grounds were clear and we had snowball fights if the school grounds were snowy. After Star Wars we played Star Wars. Like almost every boy in school. Only a few of the jocks didn't, and they generally went on to get atheletic scholarships
    • Everybody had a few of the Kenner action figures. I probably had a dozen. But the really cool thing was when a few friends got together and combined their collections. We used to stand ten feet away from the stormtrooper action figures and try to knock them over with rubber bands we launched from our fingers
    • We didn't realize there would be a sequel to Star Wars. I didn't know Empire was coming until I saw a trailer for it in theaters. Of course, we all knew after Empire there would be a third movie
    • I didn't believe Darth Vader was Luke's father. I refused to believe it until the scene where Luke surrenders himself on Endor and calls Vader "Father". I spent three years in denial. I guess I just couldn't wrap my head around someone as good and loyal as Luke coming from someone as terrifying as Darth Vader
    • Yes, terrifying. When you're ten years old stormtroopers are pretty damn intimidating. When they routed the ambush waiting for them on Leia's ship they were pretty badass. Too bad they got nerfed by Ewoks later. And Darth Vader was just plain scary
    • Carrie Fisher was my first crush
    • Star Wars really was a phenomenon. Not quite Beatle-mania but no other movie or series of movies took over our imaginations like Star Wars did. It was all my schoolmates and I talked about. Our art projects were Star Wars themed, our games at recess were Star Wars reenactments or improvations, our toys and lunch boxes and tee shirts and backpacks were Star Wars themed
    Andrew, thank you for this thread. Young people rarely want to listen to geezers like me, so when you ask what it was like back in the day I consider it a way of showing respect. I hope this post helps you get a sense of just how pervasive Star Wars was back then, and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
     
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  3. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Car'a'Carn

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    Re-title this the Turn that down and keep off the lawn! thread.
     
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  4. Rogues1138

    Rogues1138 Crazy Old Wizard
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    So true, I remember watching The Exorcist 1973, I couldn't sleep for weeks, coupled with moms voodoo stories of her childhood in Haiti. The Force was indeed a positive spiritual element. Star Wars touched us all no matter what race or creed, the only political thing I could remember at the age of 7, was that we were not wanted in some neighborhoods, we finally bought a home in a multicultural neighborhood, I didn't understand what was going on then but I know now why I compared my father to Darth Vader, the 70's, it was all written on his face and his demeanor.

    My sister would ask me why I loved Star Trek so much, simply because our futures looked extremely positive, yet she knew why I loved Star Wars, everyone loved Star Wars.

    We all had the toys, some had more then others, Julio who saw ESB before everyone had all the toys. We would play at his house for hours, reenacting scenes and creating new ones.
     
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  5. CTrent29

    CTrent29 Rebel Official

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    I didn't immediately embrace the movie. It took me several years to appreciate it.
     
  6. Too Gon Onbourbon

    Too Gon Onbourbon Rebel General

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    V holds that honor, truly horrific and lame. Motion Picture was a new level in theatrical sleep aid though.

    I think I was the first to rouse from the 500 person group nap and fortunately just in time for Spock to met up with the crew. I've never heard so much snoring before or since.

    I actually think it is a solid scifi flick but it was shockingly deliberately paced. I can totally make it through now but V remains poisonous. It's just terrible though.
     
  7. Too Gon Onbourbon

    Too Gon Onbourbon Rebel General

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    It was like I had previously only been sleeping and did not actually wake until that first Star Destroyer engulfed the screen.

    It instantly became the biggest thing ever, nothing else came close. My sister and I could only just stay for another show.

    I think at least 5% of my brain has been focused on Star Wars ever since.
     
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  8. Finn is a Jedi

    Finn is a Jedi Rebel Official

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    I don't want to be mistaken. Star Trek V is pretty bad (I don't think its as bad as people say it is though). V had a really solid villain and plenty of really great character moments (and a few not so great ones). The Motion Picture had (in my opinion) a terrible villain and even worse it completely sidelined all the main character with the exception of Kirk and Spock.
     
  9. metadude

    metadude Rebelscum

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    I saw Empire when I was 10 and when I got to the "I am your father" thing, I was like, "Wait. Vader? There's a human man in there?" So while everyone else was reeling from the relationship between Vader and Luke, I was reeling from the thought of there being a human man under the mask. Honestly, I think the most disappointing moment in Star Wars for me (at least, at the time) was when Luke took the helmet off in Jedi and I was just like, "That's Vader?!" But as I look back on it, it's not disappointing. But it was back then.

    The biggest thing I remember about Star Wars (I was 7-13 during the run) was the eternity of waiting three years in between movies. And that was just movie by movie. I remember it being for flipping ever before I got to see Episode 4 a second time. This of course was back when, if you wanted to see a movie, you either went to the theater or you didn't see it at all. And to top it off, even when I did get to see it again, it was in a television aspect ratio for the longest time. I remember when Episode 4 was finally released on DVD with the original aspect ratio and I was like, look at all that beautiful letterbox!
     
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  10. Maximus

    Maximus Reel 2 Dialogue 2

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    yep.. not only was that wait long, but as we had no internet there was practically no movie news of any kind. you needed a local paper or needed to physically visit the theater just to find out what films were on. I think we only had (in the UK) one tv channel that even ran commercials.. so whilst trailers shown on that channel hit millions of people (as we only had like 4 channels) but it also missed millions, so you needed luck sometimes to even know a bloody movie was coming out lol.

    you are right.. the letterbox was a beautiful thing !

    welcome to the Cantina :)
     
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  11. KeithF1138

    KeithF1138 Force Sensitive

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    Well it certainly was different. I was 10 and didnt see Star Wars immediately upon release. I was really into baseball that summer so I didnt see it when the rest of my family did. I saw it a couple weeks after opening. With a friend I went to the first showing of the day. I will also have to say things were different back then as a 10 year old in Chicago us kids were much more on our own. Not that our parents didnt care. They didnt fear. So we walked to the Nortown theater for the movie. We were hooked and since theaters didnt clear between screenings we didnt leave until the last showing of the day. I then saw it several more times in the theater with my dad and sister.

    For Empire it was different because by then I and my family were total fanatics so it was opening showing night. As soon as we got out of school it was head to theater and get in line, my family joined me as they got home from work. No buying tickets in advance. So waited for hours outside and got in. They cleared the theater that night so only saw it once, but was back to see it several times over the weekend.

    For ROTJ I was a senior in high school. It was the 1st movie to sell tickets in advance. Had to to go Ticketmaster which at the time was just in stores like Carson's and JC Penney. Bought tickets for first 2 showings. For that day we chose the most beautiful old fashioned theater near where we lived. We skipped school that day. Our teachers knew why, hey we had like 2 weeks left before graduation. Then saw it again with my family at Golf Mill theater and every Wednesday all summer would ride my bike to that theater to see it again. Was about 20 mile bike ride, but back then it was the best theater around.

    Couple of other things. Back then we were starved for information. We had Starlog magazine, which leaned more towards Star Trek, but it was the best we had. Occasional newpaper articles. I would go to the library all the time to scan through microfiche of newspapers around the country/world looking for information about production etc. Would goto book stores and skim through variety, etc. for nuggets. When ESB and ROTJ came out the reviews were front page news. The Chicago Tribune complete front page was full color shot from space battle at end of ROTJ.

    This is the theater where I saw ROTJ the first time. It isnt a movie theater any longer, but it hasnt changed much. http://s3.amazonaws.com/architecture-org/files/modules/copernicus-center-eric-allix-rogers-05.jpg
     
    #31 KeithF1138, Jun 5, 2018
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  12. Dawn

    Dawn Rebel General

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    I saw it with Tutankhamen back when he was a boy. Those were the times...

    Just kidding, I wasn't born yet. And 1980 doesn't feel that far away. But I imagine it must have been one of the best (if not the best) cinematic experiences ever, I wish I could have been there.
     
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  13. Too Gon Onbourbon

    Too Gon Onbourbon Rebel General

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    Yup, in the day you had to be on Bantha Tracks/maybe hit the convention circuit for scraps or it was sublight interstellar travel just a slog through the void.

    I'm so mad I don't have all that stuff the photos, the newsletters, shoot where are my patches and such?

    The 4:3 was bad news, I gut relief before the DVDs because the silver box VHS were letterbox and so nice I probably wouldn't have jumped on the DVDs nearly so quickly if I didn't have a projector at the time and the the quality difference was staggering.

    I think the laser discs had letterbox too but I never was on that level. I saw Star Wars on one but I can't recall the format though, I've seen Star Wars so many times that other than the first time, a time a the Science Museum stands out, the first time with each iteration of the tapes and discs (more or less), and the first time I saw the SE so I can't differentiate viewings much otherwise.
     
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  14. Matt_T

    Matt_T Rebel General

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    ANH was the first film I ever remember seeing. Parents took us to the drive-in theatre and my young brain kept wondering, "How do they make those people so BIG?" (on the screen). Once the DS was blown I never imagined there'd be a sequel (or two or three or four...). I mean Luke had done it and the bad guys were vanquished. So imagine my surprise when I learned there would be another SW movie! Unfortunately, my best friend ruined the Vader/father surprise before I got to watch ESB in the theatre.

    But yes, seeing all three in the theatres multiple times were just the most magical experiences. Words really cannot describe the feeling of excitement & wonderment. When I walked out of TFA I was a bit bummed bc I expected to like it more than I did ... I just did not have that same feeling of awe like I remember having as a kid. The next morning I came to the realization that I probably never will. I'll never be 7 years old walking out of ESB again. It's not the movies per se; it's me. I grew up. And while I'll always love SW, I'll never see it through the eyes of my seven-year-old self. So now I consciously tell myself prior to walking into the theatre for a new SW movie to suspend belief. Sit back. Relax. Enjoy it for what it is. And for God sakes, don't take any of it too seriously. After all, this is supposed to be fun!
     
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  15. NunbNuts

    NunbNuts Rebel Official

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    I only saw RotJ and I was only 3. The only thing I really remember is crying when the movie was over... because it was over.
     
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  16. deadmanwalkin009

    deadmanwalkin009 Force Sensitive

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    I never had the opportunity to see the OT in theaters. I was born in the late 80s and I wasn't old enough to see the OT in theaters (even the run of the OT release of the special editions). For me, Episode 1 was my first SW experience in theaters. With that said, my first SW introduction was the OT on VHS (pre-special editions). Back then I loved ROTJ and I hated ESB at the time. I was bummed when Disney announce that the 3D SW wasn't going to continue because that was going to be my chance to see the OT in theaters even though it was going to be the Bluray version.
     
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  17. dudebrohomie

    dudebrohomie Rebel Official

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    I was 7 when I first saw ANH on its original run. My parents and grandparents (God love 'em) took me to see it ten times total and my life was never the same after that. In fact, it's hard to remember much of anything before Star Wars.

    I saw ESB in 5th grade on the day it came out and remember the folks in front of us shushing me and my friend. We literally were talking throughout the whole damned thing, and I'm certain we ruined it for others. Oh well.

    By the time ROTJ came out, I was in middle school, and it wasn't as cool to be a SW geek....but I still was. I remember telling a teacher of mine that I didn't like ESB as much because it was too 'mushy'. (It had one romance scene, but to me, that was over the line..........imagine my dismay at the AOTC (which I subsequently liked as well))

    Nothing in my life has affected me like SW has. I still love it to this day and feel lucky to have had it hit me at 7 years old. My youngest son was 7 when TPM came out and it hit him the same way. It's just a great universe to play in.
     
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  18. ATL30223

    ATL30223 Rebel Trooper

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    Fine. You people make me feel old.

    I was 5 when I saw IV in the theater and was blown away by the level of detail throughout the movie. My parents would buy me the Kenner figures. Wish I hadn't opened them...

    Of course, no DVD, VHS etc, so the only connection to the movies were on the kenner figure cards, the story books and the action figures/vehicles. The die cast kenner vehicles were the best thing ever. I would throw my x- and y-wing at the Death Star play set to blow it up.
    Dumb dumb dumb.

    The Droid Factory was amazing.

    Occasionally a dollar theater would show the movie and we could see it again, still blown away by the missed details captured the second time.

    I saw ESB the day after it was released. We were shocked at the reveal and my friend cried.
    The Kenner selection was larger. They released a white AND a black bespin guard figure! High diversity.

    I'm kicking myself to this day over putting the 15" IG-88 back on the shelf, putting the die cast tie bomber on the shelf and getting an armload of snow troopers.

    How the hell was that Star Destroyer playset released? You other collectors *know* what I'm talking about.

    Months before ROTJ was released, Kenner had catalog insets with the vehicles for 'Revenge of the Jedi.' The movie studio released a full synopsis with spoilers weeks before the movie premiered. I was spoiled regarding Luke/Leia thanks to the PR department then to the full movie's plot when we received the ROTJ storybooks as a shipment form Scholastic during class, weeks before the movie.

    The action figures for ROTJ were the best made in the set- I wish I had finished the POTF series while it was on the shelf instead of years later.

    I recall some of the rebel fleet crashing into the Death Star shield and this was ostensibly changed over time.

    All total, I'm missing the Tie Bomber, A-Wing and skiff barge from the entire 1977-2005ish releases and I'm ready to SELL. That's for another forum though.

    The Pan and Scan VHS tapes were horrible. Once I was aware of the feature, I couldn't watch the movie.

    I later had boy/girl twins in 2000. I kept them spoiler free and they saw 1-7 in order. It's considered "anakin's story' and Han is just a side track to the main story of Anakin/his kids.
     
  19. Keri Ford

    Keri Ford Clone Commander

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    The most impressive scene for me, when I saw the original Star Wars movie was the opening shot. Where I see this big spaceship fly over and then the shot of the star destroyed just seemed enormous. That just made me go "wow!"

    I liked watching the movies when they came out, but I just regarded them as enjoyable movies. My appreciation of them has grown over time and the Prequels were a large part of that. I really enjoyed them when they came out. Then having a daughter and watching the Clone Wars with her that raised it up a notch. It is actually only in recent years that I've admitted to myself I'm a big fan, I was generally more of a book person.
     
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  20. FN-3263827

    FN-3263827 First Order CPS
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    if there's one thing i'm glad for in my childhood it's that we played with our toys to pieces.
    while i understand the collector mentality, i could never regret the things we destroyed just by loving them so much. : D
     
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