These days, it’s easy to take the original Star Wars film for granted. Nearly 40 years after its release, it seems like it’s just always been there in the background, doesn’t it? We’ve all seen it a hundred (or more) times and we’ve all got it memorized, and there have been five other films and three animated TV spin-offs (so far), not to mention countless books, comics, videogames, toys, posters, and god only knows what else. By my count, three generations of kids have grown up with the saga of a galaxy far, far away as their personal mythology, and it’s very hard now to remember what it was like when it was all new and fresh. Hell, I’ve even heard the Damn Kids™ of today think the first film in the saga — I will not call it A New Hope, sorry — is kind of boring and slow-paced. (Terrible to be so jaded at such a young age!) But that’s not how it used to be.
Here’s a fun little reminder of what it was like when Star Wars was the most exciting, mind-blowing movie-going experience we’d ever had, courtesy of YouTube user William Forsche. It’s an audio recording he made inside a crowded theater on a summer day in 1977. It’s pretty fun to hear the audience grow quieter during Luke’s Death Star trench run… then absolutely silent when “the Death Star has cleared the planet…” and Artoo gets taken out, followed by a spontaneous eruption of joyous applause (and even some tension-relieving laughter) as Han Solo and the Falcon arrive in the nick of time, and again when the DS explodes, and again as the closing credits begin. And check out William’s “pew! pew! pew!” sounds at the very end of the recording, as he and his mom are walking to the car. We all did that, didn’t we? That’s what the experience of the original Star Wars was like. When was the last time you applauded at the end of a big summertime action movie? (I think I did at Godzilla last summer, but you take my point…)
Nice montage of vintage photos, too. As much as I still love the Star Wars franchise and all the imagery associated with it, my very favorite iconography remains the stuff that came out in those very earliest years between Star Wars and Empire, 1977-80…
I found this on Boing Boing, of course.