Monday, May 4, 2020


I'm feeling contemplative today so please bear with me as I share my Star Wars story for May 4th. A few who know me may have heard this before, but I have a vivid memory of the first time I saw Star Wars (before "A New Hope" was added to the title). In fact, I have a vivid memory of the entire day. It was a Saturday (no. I don't recall the exact date) and the 85 Drive In (right next to where Spaghetti Junction is now for those of you who live in Atlanta) was showing a double feature for the kids and families. First off, The Jungle Book with Star Wars following. My parents have never been big on going to the movies so this was a rare treat for me and a big deal. We made a day of it. 
The drive in housed a flea market during the day and we went to that. I bought a copy of Marvel Super Action #22, which reprinted a story featuring characters I was not familiar with... The Avengers (Hawkeye, Doctor Strange, Vision, Black Panther, and Black Knight - a peek into the MCU decades to come). After that, we had lunch then came back for the double feature. I had seen The Jungle book before on TV and it was a fun movie to watch, but like so many of the other kids, I watched it from the swing sets.

When Star Wars started, we were back in my parent's van to watch the movie. From the opening crawl, I was hooked. I already liked Star Trek, which aired after school in reruns and The Six Million Dollar Man was a favorite as well. As soon as the fanfare started and the crawl began scrolling by and then that big star destroyer did its flyby, I was a sci-fi fan. I devoured anything Star Wars I could find, getting some action figures and play sets and the treasury edition of the Marvel Comic to name a few. I was hooked. Now, all these 40 years later, I still get a chill when I hear that 20th Century Fox fanfare (which is a thing of the past now) and would always be disappointed if the fanfare was not immediately followed by the words "A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away..."

I took this photo
In the intervening years, my love for this universe has never wavered. There have been things I like better than others, but Star Wars has remained an important part of my life. I have friends who are Star Wars cosplayers and fan-film creators (I even got to appear in one of them, which was a ton of fun). I have met actors, writers, artists, and directors who have crafted these amazing adventures. I have a great memory of seeing an X-Wing as a small child on a trailer in a parking lot and my mom taking a Polaroid of me standing next to it. I wish I knew where that photo was these days. Sadly, I fear it is lost to time. The first autograph I got at a convention was from Darth Vader himself, David Prowse. He was a rather surly man, but Vader had been a long-time favorite character of mine and meeting the man inside the suit was special. I have bumped into Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Anthony Daniels at cons. I also had a short, but wonderful conversation with Irvin Kershner, who not only directed my favorite star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back, but also the pilot episode of seaQuest DSV, which was a show I adored.

My brother, Wes and I shared a love of Star Wars. We often watched the movies and shows together and have great discussions about them. One of my regrets is that he did not get to see the end of The Clone Wars before he passed away. He was a fan. I plan to finish up the season very soon, but it won't be the same without him.

Thanks for letting me ramble. I remain excited for the future of Star Wars. Whatever happens next, I'll be ready for a return visit to a Galaxy Far, Far Away...


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