Star Wars, 35th Anniversary: How Did I Get This Old?

27 May

35th Anniversary

This weekend marks the 35th Anniversary of the premiere of Star Wars.  I was relaying this fact to some friends at my internship and realized that none of them were even alive when the movie was released.  Oy!  A moment in time that does not seem too distant suddenly made me feel ready for the old Jedi home–I think I’m starting to look like Yoda.

While the story of good v. evil is eternal, Star Wars provided a futuristic back drop the likes of which we had never seen before.  Space creatures, “light speed”, and Darth Vader were so incredibly captivating and seemed so real.

This was a time when movies used to stay at theaters for months at a time, even in some cases years.  Star Wars was one of those movies that stayed in the theater for well over a year and my brothers and I probably saw it at least 30 times, when movies cost .75 to see.

Looking back 35 years ago, I also reflect that “Gee, I think I must have been gay,” for I had a kind of crush on Mark Hamill and was fascinated by Princess Leia with the bagels attached to her head.  I also reflect back and think about Star Wars as somewhat of a feminist film.  Princess Leia was a strong and independent woman who controlled her own destiny.

Star Wars also changed the world of special effects forever more, much as the world we live in has changed so dramatically since the Carter administration.  Star Wars was made toward the end of the Second Wave Women’s Movement and when American politicians were working toward peace, such as President Carter working with Prime Minister Menahem Begin of Israel and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt to sign a Peace Accord.

The 35th Anniversary of the premiere of Star Wars has also made me reflect on politics and how far backward we seem to have gone in many ways.  The Reagan/Bush years coupled with the W.Bush years have been far more damaging than most of us would like to think.

I shall conclude this post with an encouragement to review history and learn from our mistakes, especially as we move closer to election time.  Do we want a person that takes a strong stand for civil rights and has earned the respect of global leaders to lead the United States, or do we want someone from a dynasty of wealth and power that explicitly says he will work against civil rights and has a tarnished reputation around the world?

28 Responses to “Star Wars, 35th Anniversary: How Did I Get This Old?”

  1. Didion May 27, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    Sing it, brother! I think Star Wars was the first film I ever saw twice in the theater. Damn, 35 years ago …..

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 27, 2012 at 9:49 am #

      How did 35 years go by so fast?

      • Didion May 27, 2012 at 9:51 am #

        I find it depressing to think how much of that time I spent in school and/or making poverty-level wages.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 27, 2012 at 9:52 am #

        Amen to that!

  2. prideinmadness May 27, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    I’m watching Star Wars right now on Spike!

  3. James Queale May 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    I love Star Wars and was obsessed for many years. My father got the trilogy on VHS in ’95, when it said, “Get it now, because this is the last time.” Little did we know that another trilogy was coming. I used to have an encyclopedia of knowledge about all of the characters and the “force” and so on. The same goes for Lord of the Rings. I am a proud nerd. 🙂

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 27, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      Yes, I had no idea another trilogy was in production.

      • James Queale May 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

        I enjoyed the prequels 1) The Phantom Menace ’99 2)The Clone Wars ’02 3) Revenge of the Sith ’05 but the “originals” 4, 5, and 6 will always be the best. I wonder if someday George Lucas won’t end up doing 7,8 and 9 with a new cast to play the characters done by Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill? Time will tell. Hollywood always loves to capitalize on a successful franchise. 🙂

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

        Robert and I tried one of the prequals, I can’t remember which one, but boy howdy, we did not like it.

  4. James Queale May 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Also, one of my favourite games of all time was Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for XBOX. Great prequel story to go along with amazing game-play.

  5. James Queale May 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    Correction: #2 is called “Attack of the Clones” not “The Clone Wars.” The Clone Wars was a cartoon spin-off series. I guess I am getting rusty with my Star Wars knowledge. 😉

  6. nevercontrary May 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    Do you even own any technology besides your computer? Or do you go to the library to use the computer. Goodness me. Don’t get an x box, get a wii.
    I love all six star wars. I must say I am big fan of the prequel trilogy because it has natalie portman and she is beautiful.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

      How could you hurt me so and betray my love? 🙂 I know how to use the computer, but honestly, Robert has to turn on the tv because I don’t know how to. I know I have a blog, but boy howdy I am not a fan of the technology. I really think the computer is just a fad!

      • nevercontrary May 27, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

        It is ok. There are technology recovery lessons at apple everyday. But to let you in a little secret. Technology is totally overrated. Except my i phone.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

        The iphone scares me!

      • nevercontrary May 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

        It is so awesome. Plus you are supporting a company with an openly gay ceo. win win.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

        Very cool!

  7. Christine Noble May 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    First movie I ever saw in the theaters! I was five and my aunt took me to see it. George Lucas took me for a ride, and I haven’t gotten off since!

  8. this positive life May 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    all this Star Wars talk takes me back to a summer evening when my step father and brother drove up to me riding my bike in the neighborhood and asked if I would like to go to the drive-in to see Star Wars. I had no idea what it was, but, seeing as the two of them wanted to see it, I knew it ‘was not for me.’ Flash-forward however many years watching it on HBO or something for the first time…I was like ‘Wow, this is the movie they were talking about…’ I of course wished I would have went…

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 28, 2012 at 7:56 am #

      What a sweet comment! I’m glad you get to enjoy the Star Wars trilogy now and hope it brings back good memories of your step dad and your brother.

  9. Jay May 27, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    What a charming article, Michael. And given the flurry of activity in the comments section, it is clear you struck a nerve! I sometimes think of ours as the Star Wars generation–it is hard to think of a pop culture touchstone that reverberates with us more (the US Festival didn’t quite make it as our Woodstock, did it?).

    I was such a nerd, and in such a small town, that I read the novelization of Star Wars two or three times before I saw the movie. It didn’t make the only theater in Boone, Iowa–a second-run theater–until the summer of 1978, and I guess I didn’t have the wheedling and whining skills necessary to merit a trip to Des Moines to see it in its year of release. I played with Star Wars toys from Xmas 1977–including a TIE fighter (X-Wings were sold out)–without even having seen the movie!

    Less happy was my response to the prequels. I should have had trepidations after the original trilogy was digitally spiffed up by Lucas (almost all of those ‘enhancements’ were a mistake in my opinion), but I went into The Phantom Menace with foolishly mammoth expectations, and my mood became increasingly foul after Jar-Jar Binks hit the screen (about ten minutes in, or so).

    The subsequent prequels were a little better, but Phantom Menace is in the unhappy company of The Godfather Part III as the two most crushingly disappointing cinematic experiences of my life. I saw both films on their respective opening days, and was frankly devastated on both occasions (the lesson I learned–ALWAYS be prepared to be disappointed when viewing ANY movie for the first time).

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 28, 2012 at 8:01 am #

      You are obviously in the same camp as Robert and me regarding Star Wars. Yes, I do believe it was a defining moment for our generation. I must confess, I had no interest in the prequals and continue to try to preserve my memory of the original trilogy.


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