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Remembering Star Wars

The Big Screen

My earliest memories of the Star Wars movies are faint and pleasant. I first saw the film at the Fiesta Drive-In just north of Chillicothe, Ohio. The Fiesta was torn down in the late 1980s. I think there's a mobile home dealership on the site now; what a dismal thought.

The Fiesta

(In case you can't read it, the graffiti reads "Metallica Rules" just to the left of the symbol for Anarchy.)

In May or June of 1977, I was almost 10 years-old and would have just finished the fourth grade. I don't know if I was still in school or if summer vacation had started. Having been raised on a diet of mostly Star Trek and Space: 1999 re-runs, this was going to be fun.

Embarassingly, I'll admit that I was much too eager and excited to follow the plot closely. I even mistook Alderaan and Tatooine for the same planet. I remember thinking how lucky everyone aboard the Millennium Falcon was to escape before their planet was destroyed by the Death Star.

I would go on to see the film several more times during the year. Stuart, an old childhood friend and my cousin Chip and I saw it on separate occasions at the Majestic Theater down on Second Street. Again, I remember how we hooked our feet under the seat in front of us during the Falcon's engagement with the four TIE fighters. This way, we could pivot in the seats (a la Luke and Han) and play along. Man, I must have really been wired in those days. I also recall how I saw both the 7pm and 9pm showings one night while my older brother, who had just graduated high school, was free to cruise the city.

Original Novel

I remember being over at my friend Todd's house and seeing the novel with the original cover artwork. It was sitting on their piano. I don't know if I had seen the film by this time, or if it had even come out yet. Actually, I don't remember what the cover looked like, except that it didn't look like the cover of the paperback I bought.

On the left is the original cover of the novel. Notice how the characters look different and that the title logo is very different. This is from the back of Topps Star Wars Galaxy I, Card #59.

On the right is the cover of the paperback after the movie had been released. This is my original copy - notice the worn appearance.

Original Novel My paperback

Something New

Later on, I got many of the toys and lived it night and day. I remember one time in 1978 or 1979 when another friend, Joe and I were out at somewhere (Rocky Fork Lake?) and it was raining. We were sitting in the car and he told me all about the book he was reading: Splinter of the Mind's Eye. I was certain that he was making the whole thing up. Later, I bought the book and read it and was enthralled. I must go and get the new comic adaptation of it. I recall how some of the readers of the Marvel Star Wars comic were writing in and pleading for Marvel to do an adaptation of Splinter.

Here is the cover of Splinter of the Mind's Eye. This is from the back of Topps Star Wars Galaxy I, Card #60. My own copy is in worse shape.

Splinter Cover

Vader and Kenobi

I remember once going over to my friend Joe's house. He's the same one mentioned above. We talked about lots of things and he told me what he'd heard of Kenobi and Vader's falling out. Here's what I recall . . . .

Vader was Obi-Wan's student and when he turned to the dark side of the force, Obi-Wan became out raged. The two fought a long saber battle and Obi-Wan nearly killed Darth Vader. They were on top of a volcano and Vader was knocked in. This was how he sustained his injuries and was resigned into having to wear all of the breathing gear.

I don't think that we said that Kenobi hurt Vader with his saber or not. Looking back, if kindly old Ben had hacked up Darth, he too would have certainly headed down the path of the dark side.

We may or may not have talked about the possibility of Obi-Wan and Darth being brothers. I don't know if Owen Lars came into the picture either.

Other things to come here

  • Thoughts on Journal of the Whills.
  • What about and what if? - sort of like bloopers.
  • Rumors of stolen photos and set of stormtrooper armor just before the release of Star Wars.
  • "Odd" Sci-Fi magazines of the time that made reference to Star Wars.
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Copyright © 1997, Michael A. & Tammy G. Hendershot