Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Even I Write a Star Wars Reminiscence!

I haven't seen the (X-3) or (X-2) entries in the Star Wars Cinemultiplextacular, and my memories of the original releases of (X+1) and (X+2) are limited to images of Mark Hamill's suddenly-developed biceps and some catchy music that I think was in the "Cantina Scene" in (X+n). Oh, and I have a complete set of the Burger King glasses, four per movie.

I do, however, have fun memories of the original release of X. For one thing, there were those nearly-eternal closing credits during which they played the main Star Wars theme over and over and then again and then over again and then again. I marched away from the theater singing out "bum-ba-baaa BUM bababa BAAAA ba..." and at some level I haven't stopped singing it since. It's as if I met John Williams and shook his hand and found there was superglue on his palm.

I don't think the effect would have been so strong, or possibly even existed, had I seen the film on a television set rather than in a huge old theater.

The movie itself was also fun. You've got to remember that a phrase like "that R2 unit" when heard for the very very first time ever is just a hoot. Try saying it out loud, as if you have never heard the words spoken before, in a mock-solemnic tone, and that will give you an idea of the sort of fun that the original film held.

The real fun, though, came a few weeks later. The movie opened when I was in college, when each summer my friends from the Brown Band would meet up at Tanglewood for a happy camping and concert weekend. I hadn't considered that everyone would also have recently seen the same movie, but of course they had -- it was a genuine cultural phenomenon -- and it became a general reference for the weekend.

For example: "We needed to make time on the Mass Pike so we put the Volkswagen into HYPERDRIVE." At this point, particularly for those younger than I for whom the movie is part of a general consciousness, hyperdrive is no funnier of a concept than, say, fifth gear. But in the summer of 1977 it was a completely new word and concept, and a spectacularly stupid one at that. Let's go into HYPERDRIVE!

See? It was fun.

Or even better: There is a scene in the movie when Han Solo says something about an unexpected moon and Alec Guinness takes on a look of Shakespearean intensity and intones "That's no moon ... it's a space station." This became a weekend's catchphrase:

-Hey look, it's Bill!
-That's not Bill ... it's a space station!

-I think the Koussevitzky Music Shed is over there.
-That's no music shed ... it's a space station.

-Seiji Ozawa is conducting the orchestra tonight.
-That's no Seiji Ozawa ... it's a space station.

-Can I have one of your beers?
-That's no beer ... it's a space station.

The whole movie was best summed up for me at the time by my friend Billy, who said that when the movie began with its scrolling explanatory text his eyes followed the text as it moved off into the distance ... and then kept following until he couldn't read it any longer and he was never able to get back into the film itself. That's kind of how I feel in a larger sense about the whole series.

But remember: This isn't a livejournal entry ... it's a space station.
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