May the 4th Be With You?
When did May the 4th become an "unofficial" holiday? We all get the joke, right? May the 4th be with you! It's "Star Wars" day!
I don't know when the joke/day started. I know it's been around for several years. Probably longer than I might have noticed. I have no idea when it first hit and became a phenomenon (Wikipedia claims 1979 was when it was first used) but its here and it's not going anywhere.
Many people probably cannot remember a time when Star Wars was not part of our culture. I know I'm old because I remember when the movie first came out. (Way back in the dark ages when were used to go to a local theater to see a movie and there was only a single theater and it showed only one movie for a LONG time.)
The movie came out in May of 1977. It didn't hold much interest for me. It was a "space" movie. I wasn't into that. But eventually I came around, though I don't think I saw the movie until late summer or early fall. ("Back in the day" movies could play in a single theater for months on end!) Once I did see it, I (like most everyone else) was hooked.
I don't know how many times I saw it in at Cinema 23. This was just one of two theaters that were in walking distance from my house. It was a simpler time when a kid/tween/teen could walk to a movie and stay for an entire afternoon. Sadly, both theaters are gone now. One is an office building (a total crime in my book). The other was divided into a multiplex (it wasn't a large theater in the first place!) and then was shut down and is now being integrated into a strip mall. The fact that both are gone makes me old AND sad.
I sat in that theater and watched over and over again. I was in love with Luke Skywalker. I was in love with Han Solo. I wrote my very first (VERY BAD) fan fiction story. I listened to the soundtrack (A LOT).
I think what grabbed me about Star Wars was that it was transcended what I considered "Science Fiction." (Something I thought I didn't like.) It was good story telling. It may have taken place in a galaxy far, far away, but it was easy for me to understand the Luke's "outsider" feelings. His loneliness and isolation are easily understood by any tween/teen. Didn't I want to be as strong and brave as Princess Leia? (Who, in hindsight, could mouth off to her father with no fear.) How could you not love Han Solo; the "mercenary" with a heart of gold? This was classic story telling. You didn't have to like science fiction to love this movie.
There have been sequels, as we all know. Some have been good (perhaps even better than the original film) and some not so good (you KNOW what I'm talking about). But for me, it all comes down to the first. The one that told a story that we could all relate to and understand.
So, today, May the 4th be with you! (Always!)