Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Star Wars & Me

My journey with Star Wars began not with the movie, but with the Toys.  The Toys at the time were cool and they began a whole new scale in action figure sizes.  Before there were the 8 inch Mego or the 12 inch sized G.I. Joes and Six Million Dollar Man.  That was in late 1977, the Year the first Star Wars film came out.  Yes, I know it was Episode Four, at the time it was the first movie out.  I did not see it till 1978 and I saw it in a drive in.  I was 10 years old.  Mind you, I had been on a trip to the stars before with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock.  This was different. It was reminiscent of the Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers Serials from the Thirties and Forties.  I loved it; I had some of the toys.  I was not obsessed with it.  It spoke to me, but not as loudly as to others.  Light Sabers, really cool looking alien Races, Special effects that blew me out of the water, were among the things that surprised me in a pleasant way.  As a kid I did not really start going to movies in the theater much till I was 12 or so.  Science Fiction TV shows were more my forte.  I watched Battlestar Galactica at the time and thought that was awesome.  I know in retrospect the Seventies Original version was cheesy.  As a kid I was a mouse, I loved cheese.  I saw the much maligned Star Wars Holiday Special too, once again not my speed, although at 10 I liked it.  I read a few of the Han Solo prequel novels and the Star Wars comic from Marvel.  I did not get too much into the expanded universe.

In 1980, my family was living on Adak, Alaska.  At the time it was a military base.  When Empire Strikes Back came to the island, everyone was at that theater watching.  In order to handle the demand they had multiple showings and even did Weekday and night showings.  It like its predecessor shocked and amazed me.  At the time the special effects were something we really had not seen the like.  Once again we bought the toys, hell we had a Star Wars slot car set.  I made my own Tie Fighter and X-Wing Fighter Models, well I assembled them.  They were the glue kind, previously I only had the snap on types.   I was blown away be the images again.  Lucas used a great deal of Japanese influences to the wardrobe and production design to movies. 

In 1983 I was 15; we were back in Oxnard California.  Return of the Jedi came out and was played at the Ventura Theater in Ventura, California.  The Ventura went through a major renovation.  It tried to hearken to the days it was a Movie Palace in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Not only was it a great film it was in an amazing theater.  This was also the first time I realized I was no longer the target audience of the film.  The Ewoks, I did not care for them I knew they were fodder for the younger crowd.  Even my 11 year old brother did not care for them.  This was supposed to be a family movie so, I let it go.  Once again I was spellbound by the scope, the effects and the production design. 

During the hiatus between the original series and the prequels, I did not really get into any of the Expanded Universe novels or comics.  I was a young adult in my twenties when they started to arrive.  I was not that interested.  To be fair I was not into the novels for Star Trek either.  I tried to play the Star Wars table top RPG from West End Games.  It was not for me.  Star Wars informed my creativity, but it was never the big thing for me.  When the prequels came out I was in my thirties.  The first one definitely was geared for a younger crowd.  I was not it; I still understood where they were coming from.  The next two were good.  I felt disconnected from Star Wars by this time.  Mind you, my brother, Mike, loved Star Wars.  He was more the Star Wars guy than the Star Trek Guy.  I was the opposite.  We work that way.  This just was not my Science Fiction franchise.  I do not hate Star Wars, I love it.  I have my issues with certain tenants in Jedi Philosophy.  It is just not the one that permeates my every fiber.  I am not sure if there is something that does that completely for me.  That Is My Not So Humble Opinion.

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