Sunday, November 16, 2008

50th Post - Star Wars Memories

Star Wars as a movie was a singular joy for the 12 year old me and like everyone from that generation I have a great story to accompany my first (and second and third) viewing of Star Wars.

You have to remember that 1977 was a far different movie landscape than we are used to today. Movies did not open in 2000 theatres and stayed around for months and months. The big opening weekend was not the focus and the multiplex was non-existent. It seems there were less movies back then and less crap just made to fill the tiny multiplex theartes. Theatres were huge and luxurious with actual balconies that you rushed to just to have that front balcony seat. Popcorn and pop are meant to be rested on that ledge in front of me and not beside me or on the floor...I am not a barbarian here. There was little lead up to the movie so it kinda just exploded on the screen and was primed for a twelve year old audience. Never before had we seen such pristine special effects. The movie just seemed CLEAN if that makes any sense. The characters were fresh and dynamic and the whole mythology of the "Jedi" and the "Force". George Lucas famously took less of the profits from the movies themselves in exchange for full control and profits over the toys and merchandising. This kind of mechandising jugernaut was virtually unheard of before Star Wars.

But I digress. I was telling the story of my seeing Star Wars for the first time in 1977. Well I had waited weeks to be taken to Winnipeg with the expressed purpose of seeing Star Wars. I would have been the first of my classmates to get the chance and as a fanboy from birth it was something I couldn't pass up. What was I thinking right? How could the movie possibly live up the hype that I built up in my mind. What in life ever does?

Anyway we arrived in time for the 6 o'clock show but NO ONE in the house would take me. I was totally pissed. My parents and older cousins actually expected my to wait until the next day? I reached for the phone book and found the bus dispatch service and found the correct bus to take to get to the theatre and just left the house. Never told anyone I was leaving and I doubt they even noticed me walking out the door. I was the kind of kid who was never afraid of doing things on my own and I have a kind of insane bravery that comes over me in those moments. So I arrive at the theatre, and some guy in the ticket lane sold me his extra ticket. I Was in and I grab my pop and popcorn and took my seat and for the next 2 hours I experienced something that I hadn't before or since - a transended movie experience. So much was going on that I felt that I couldn't open my eyes wide enough to take it all in.

When the Death Star exploded I felt a wave of panic come over me...I couldn't leave the theatre yet...I had to see the movie again...not tomorrow but right that night...the next showing. In a daze I rushed to the bathroom and using a tecnique I had seen on tv I locked the stall door and sat on the top of the toilet hugging my knees. I waiting for what felt like a hour for the movie crowds to recycle and then snuck into my second showing JUST as the opening credits began. I was giddy with euphoria for not only seeing Star Wars again but for what I just got away with. I, however, was not brave enough to purchase more snacks for fear that I would be recognized. You would think that after the second Death Star of the evening had exploded that I would have had enough but I was always one to push my luck. After all there was one more showing that evening and "in for a penny, in for a pound" was sorta my mantra. I laughed outloud when I resumed my place behind the locked bathroom stall and almost shit myself when someone tried to get into the bathroom stall. To this day I don't know if it was a theatre employee or someone with poopy pants.

 I was so cocky during that third showing that I went for snacks TWICE just to push the envelop somemore. Around midnight I left the theatre and my feet didn't touch the ground once. I don't know how I found the right bus but I eventually made my way back to my Aunt's place. Of course I had been missing 6 hours and they had the police out looking for me. They may have yelled at me but I didn't care. Another example of my passive agressive way to get what I wanted and to this day I have NO regrets. Definately one of the top five adventures in a life full of adventure.

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