Saturday, May 25, 2013

Thirty Years Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Return of the Jedi came out thirty years ago today. Let me repeat that: thirty years ago. That strikes a chord with me, because it's the first movie I specifically remember seeing in a theater. There are hilarious stories of my family taking me to see Popeye (yes, the one with Robin Williams), and I'm certain I saw The Empire Strikes Back in a theater at least once (I have just one brief flash of memory of seeing AT-ATs in a snowscape through a snowspeeder's cockpit); however, I specifically remember my dad taking me and my buddy Nathan to see Return of the Jedi at the Mayflower Theater in downtown Troy.

I'm sure we didn't go see it on opening night, but I'm equally sure we saw it sometime before July 4, which in 1983 would have been my sixth birthday. To this day, I'm not sure how Dad got roped into taking two five-year-olds to see a movie; the thought of it sort of stuns me, actually. I'm quite sure, though, that once the movie started, he had no issues with us at all as the action on the screen held us in thrall.

The movies were one thing. That was at least a few years before we had a VCR, so the opportunities to see them were few and far between. What really brought Star Wars to life for me as a kid was the toys. I loved 'em, had a bunch of 'em, and really put them through their paces. When I wasn't playing with them, I was thinking about playing with them. To this day, I have a tendency to joke on Christmas Eve that I'll have a hard time sleeping because I'll be wondering which Star Wars men will be under the tree in the morning. It's a joke now; as a kid, man, that was the stone truth. Even as I started getting into other types of toys (G.I. Joe, Voltron, He-Man, Transformers), they generally found themselves integrated into crossover adventures.

Anyway, as it happens, I came across this video yesterday and had to share (I already posted it to Facebook and tagged the childhood friends who shared my obsession). It's a 13-minute preview of an upcoming documentary about Star Wars toys. Watching it and seeing some of those old toys brought back a ton of memories and really kind of took my wind away for a moment. I'm really looking forward to seeing the whole movie when it comes out.

The AT-AT was the one SW toy I really wanted as a kid and never got. When Brandi found out, while we were still dating, she rectified the situation. The AT-AT now stands on my desk, and yes, it carries a holdful of Stormtroopers.
So how did I mark Return of the Jedi's 30th anniversary? I went to the theater, of see Star Trek Into Darkness. That, my friends, is a blog post unto itself.

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