IN July of 1977 I had a weekend off from the camp I worked at up in Idylwild and I was kidnapped by my brother because he insisted I had to see a movie, that it was magic and that I would love it. I was tired and ready to fall asleep midafternoon when he dragged me from Glendale over the mountain to West LA to Century City to see a new movie that had been out since May called Star Wars. Cam knew I was a science fiction/fantasy nut and at that point there was very little sci-fi in movies that I liked since most was about a dystopian future and pretty grim. I went under duress.
We went to the Plitt, one of the first theaters with big reclining seats and cup holders. That all by itself was pretty cool and then the lights dimmed and the magical words, “in a galaxy far, far away…” came up and then the wonderful crawling first words appeared and I was in love. I went to opening day after that to every one of the following 5 even the disappointing last 3 prequels.
But that day? The world opened up and there wasn’t just Star Trek in the hopeful universe. It was one of the things that lead me to paganism when I started to find out about the things Joseph Campbell had written. By the time Empire Strikes Back came out I was well on the way to both being a lesbian and a pagan. The summer Empire came out I was working at Singing Pines and starting to say okay, I might be gay. A group of us saw that movie 13 times on our days off anywhere we could from the Egyptian in Hollywood to the teeny tiny theater in the Eagle Rock Plaza. We all had really cool light sabers that they only made that summer which were basically Eveready red flashlights with a white plastic tube for the blade but they came with coloured gels so you could make your light saber any colour you wanted. We all had parts selected by our fellow camp staff and somehow I got elected Yoda. That didn’t bother me a bit, I loved Yoda.
We dressed up for the camp crazy picture as the characters, we dressed that way for alter ego dinners. When the fire danger was too high that summer and the rangers told us no campfires, we made a tipi in the shape of a fire with all the light sabers in the campfire circle and had one that way. All around camp when camp staff had to lead their units somewhere at night, they were led by a staff member carrying their light saber and you knew who it was by the colour of the blade.
I’ve read most of the Expanded Universe books that Disney has said they have now thrown out so I guess Han and Leia’s twins and other son no longer exist and one of the twins is not going to become the new Sith Lord. Those books were wonderfully engaging and it’s a shame that Disney isn’t going to honour Lucas’ vision for where his world went. I’m reserving judgment for the moment , we’ll see if they screw it up, I hope they don’t,
Happy Star Wars Day and May the Fourth be with you!
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