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My Summer of Star Wars

[Editor's Note: I invited happyzinny to come play in the stuph™ sandbox because, quite honestly, I find her writing to be extremely entertaining and quite humorous.  I enjoy every post of hers and I wanted to help her gain a following being as I think that she's quite talented.  So your mission, Stuph Maphia™, is to head on over to happyzinny's blog after reading this masterpiece and click on the follow button because, well, reading entertaining blogs is what we're all here for, right?  In that department, zinny doesn't disappoint.]

Hello, happyzinny here! Twindaddy asked me if I’d come visit the Stuphblog universe for a bit, and I was thrilled to accept his kind offer. As you know, he’s a real Star Wars geek, so I hope he likes these memories of…

My Summer of Star Wars

I was lucky enough to see Star Wars on the big screen back in 1977, when it first came out. No one knew at that time what a worldwide phenomenon it would become. All I knew was that within minutes of being immersed in George Lucas’ beat-up world of dusty heroes, strangely-coiffed princesses, and metal droids, I was sure it was the best movie I’d seen in all my 12 years.

My big sister Lisa sat next to me in the darkened theater. Every seat was filled, yet the audience sat silent in tense anticipation. Someone was on Princess Leia’s ship. Something bad was going to happen, you could tell. Even those soldiers in white looked a little nervous, or was that my imagination?

Deep rhythmic breathing. A huge humanoid shape approached. Sudden blackness against the stark white walls of the ship. Black cape, black mask, and that ominous, eerie breathing. Enter the most sinister figure I’d ever seen.

My sister leaned over and whispered in my ear. “He’s the bad guy.”

She said later that the look I gave her was very eloquent. In today’s parlance, it might be translated as, WTF??? But we didn’t have that handy acronym back then. I think it was more along the lines of duh! I gave her my most withering duh! look, because obviously Darth Vader was the bad guy. I was a kid and I knew he was the bad guy. A deaf man watching the movie would have seen that he was the bad guy, and a blind guy would have heard that he was the bad guy. Had my pet gerbil been there, he would’ve sensed the pure, evil badness, too.

My sister and I still joke about it. When we go to a movie, we stage whisper to each other about the goodness or badness of characters. For example, Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln? “Psst! He’s the good guy!”

But that summer was also memorable for a different reason. Not only did I learn to separate the good guys from the bad, I also learned to separate the boys from the men. I’d had a huge crush on Luke, that golden-haired youth with the sort of Karate-style outfit. I could definitely see us having a future together.


I mean, remember how sensitive he looked in front of that famous double sunset? If he could gaze at those blazing orbs, then surely he could see past my glasses and braces and lackluster hair and knee-socks and pimples and really ugly plaid school uniform and see me for who I really was- a princess from the far end of the galaxy, a mousy Princess Leia without the goofy bunhair.

I saved whatever money I could scrounge up and returned as often as I could to see my Luke. The special effects were amazing, but as far as I was concerned, it was a basically a one-man movie.

Then one day, maybe it was my third or fourth time back, something changed. I came out of the darkened matinee and stood in the blazing afternoon sun, blinking like one who had been underground for too long.




Had he been in the movie this whole time? What had I been watching? How had I missed seeing him? Luke who?


How on Tatooine had I missed even noticing Harrison Ford the first few times I’d seen this movie?

I felt a bit guilty abandoning Luke, but it was never going to work out. He was from a planet in some far distant galaxy, after all. Harrison and I were both from Chicago. Much better odds of things working out. And Luke was a nice enough guy, he was learning to use a lightsaber and all, but Harrison Ford was a skilled carpenter and could build a house with his bare hands. But most important, his character had a smirk. Han Solo had a sense of humor, a thing poor Luke was sadly lacking. I don’t think Luke had ever told a joke in his life. Han Solo was so sardonic, he didn’t even take the Force seriously. He cracked me up.

Some strange internal change was germinating in me that summer. A humor hormone must have sprouted as I sat in the dark watching Star Wars. Carefully tended, fed with Raisinettes, with roots that grew down to the sticky floor of the theater, it grew.

That was definitely a turning point for me. Since then, every guy I’ve ever liked or admired has had a sense of humor. (And no, watching Three Stooges marathons doesn’t count.) I guess I have Star Wars to thank for that. Funny that such a realization should come to me from such a long time ago, from a galaxy far, far away, back when I was twelve.
Thank you so much, twindaddy, for inviting me to play in your marvelous blog! Though he wears the dreaded armor of the Empire, twindaddy is truly a generous, caring, and hilarious guy at heart. The Force really is with him. I mean, you’ve read Stuphblog, you’ve seen how cool he is, I mean, duh!

[twindaddy, please feel free to add a Star Wars graphic anywhere you want, I don't know how to grab images off the internet and don't want to do anything stupid! Hope this is ok!]


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39 thoughts on “My Summer of Star Wars

  1. Deadly Nightshades,
    Thank you for this… Star Wars are my pivotal and seminal movies, the ones I remember the most from my childhood. A few years back, when I watched the original trilogy with my son, when Luke gazes out to the twin suns of Tatooine in A New Hope, I sighed and had tears, and my son asked me why I was teary… Man, I was reliving it with my own son, it was magical.

    Today, my son knows anecdotes about Star Wars: Papa, did you know that Luke Skywalker was in an accident, and that’s why he was attacked by a wampa in Empire Strikes back?, or Papa, did you know Jabba’s monster is called a Rancor? Priceless.


    Posted by Le Clown | March 5, 2013, 7:16 am
    • It must be amazing to share a favorite movie with your child, especially when the child loves it, too! There were a couple movies my dad tried to share with me- The Quiet Man is one- that I just couldn’t get into, and I know he was disappointed.
      I bet Pixel Boy could go head to head with you in a Star Wars trivia contest!


      Posted by happyzinny | March 5, 2013, 2:24 pm
  2. I saw ‘Star Wars’ in 1977 also. I fell in love with the movie itself and couldn’t wait for the next movie. I’m still a big ‘Star Wars’ fan.


    Posted by dmauldin53 | March 5, 2013, 7:27 am
  3. I wasn’t born yet, but when I was 5 or 6 (roughly ’85 or ’86) I was being babysat by a friend from school’s mother. And this friend was huge into Star Wars. His family spoiled him with all of the toys, in most cases multiple of the toys (you had to have more than one storm trooper, there’s hundreds in the movies) and we played with them all the time, even though I was lost. Finally we watched the movie together over and over and over. I loved it. That’s also where I saw Ghostbusters and I think an Indiana Jones flick for the first time. Ah, memories…


    Posted by beefybooyawn | March 5, 2013, 8:17 am
  4. Dearest zinny,

    I was born the year Star Wars came out, so I obviously wan’t able to see it in theater. I, however, watched the movies many, many times growing up. I had all the toys. I used to go into the basement, turn off the lights and turn on a flashlight and that was my lightsaber.

    When I’m sick I camp out on the couch and watch all of the movies in succession. I love me some Star Wars.


    Posted by twindaddy | March 5, 2013, 8:32 am
  5. Hey, Spoiler Warning much? Now that I know that Darth Vader is the bad guy, I won’t be able to truly appreciate this movie.


    Posted by The Cutter | March 5, 2013, 8:33 am
  6. I started off the same way (except I was 7 when the movie came out) – It was all about Luke…then by the 2nd movie, I’d discovered a man with a wookie is much more sexy.
    I loved those movies – they were amazing…


    Posted by Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher | March 5, 2013, 9:05 am
  7. Ha, I was born in ’76, but I definitely remember seeing Return of the Jedi in the theater and being totally fascinated. Han Solo with the smirk – oh, heck yes. I LOVE that smirk. And all the girls wanted to look like Leia stuck in that steel bikini. I’m told the boys liked that bikini for a different reason. We would play Star Wars, but it kind of sucked because there was only one girl part. One girl in the whole universe. But she rocked.


    Posted by aliceatwonderland | March 5, 2013, 9:07 am
    • She sure did! I wonder what Carrie Fisher thought when the costumers showed her that bikini? She was probably just happy they weren’t bringing back the bun hair.
      By the way, why isn’t there a band named Steel Bikini? That’s a great name for a band!


      Posted by happyzinny | March 5, 2013, 2:58 pm
      • I watched a documentary on the making of it, and Carrie said she was like, crap, I can’t gain an ounce in that thing. She said she played herself – snide and sarcastic, lol. Oh, and did you know they sent her to a fat camp to lose her “chubby cheeks”? Like the fat would only come from the cheeks? Good grief.


        Posted by aliceatwonderland | March 5, 2013, 3:33 pm
  8. VADER WAS THE BAD GUY?? This changes everything.

    I, too, saw it when it first came out. I remember taking my grandfather and letting him know that I’d warn him when the scary parts were coming, like the Tusken Raider popping up in Luke’s binoculars.

    Last night – no lie – I had a dream that Lucas and JJ Abrams were asking me to be in the new Star Wars. I was going to play a sort of “Han Solo character.” I felt that offer was acceptable.


    Posted by The Byronic Man | March 5, 2013, 9:19 am
  9. My mom was pretty hip, and knew about Star Wars before I did. (We kids didn’t have iPods, Kindles or other cerebral crutches back then.) As I stood in line as an 11-year-old, I had no idea what was in store for me, and how everything I knew about storytelling, movies and soundtracks was going to change. Granted, there were signs, such as the 14-year-oldish “Princess Leigh” in front of us who gave a high-five to a five-foot-tall “Darth Vader,” or the fact that all four “Now Playing” slots were filled by Star Wars posters as we snaked around the building toward the ticket booth. But it wasn’t until the first four notes from John Williams’ score (DAAAA! daa daa daa…) and the screen filled with the movie title against a starry universe did I begin to realize that MY universe was about to change. Taking my kids to see the originals on the big screen during the re-release — and seeing the looks on their faces when those first four notes enveloped the theater — is one of my life’s best moments. I know it didn’t have the same impact as it did on me; nowadays, those kinds of effects are commonplace for this generation. However, it did open a common language that I know will exist forever. We may not always agree on things, but we will never argue about who shot first in the cantina in a galaxy far, far away…


    Posted by Ned's Blog | March 5, 2013, 1:22 pm
    • You are so right to mention that iconic music! Still one of my favorite soundtracks.
      I remember hearing that George Lucas had actually wanted to make a movie about Flash Gordon, but couldn’t get the rights. So glad he created his own characters and universe, and that John Williams was able to complement it with that amazing music!
      I’m glad your kids like it, too. I hope these movies will endure for many generations to come!


      Posted by happyzinny | March 5, 2013, 3:16 pm
  10. I loved Star Wars as a kid and I’m also loving re-discovering it with my own children. We just bought a new craft book called “Star Wars Origami”, we tried a trooper last night. It didn’t go so well. Never mind, on to the Death Star!


    Posted by stephrogers | March 5, 2013, 8:11 pm
    • I’ve seen cute craft books all about making geeky items such as a knitted R2D2 hat for kids. I love the idea of Star Wars origami! Hope the Death Star goes well- otherwise you’ll have the fun of crushing it like a ball of,,,well, paper. But a deadly ball of paper!


      Posted by happyzinny | March 6, 2013, 12:11 am
  11. So interesting to hear a female perspective on Star Wars crushes. I saw the film 42 times in ’77, and it was all about Princess Leia. A friend of mine would pay me to kiss a picture I had of her in one of my fan magazines. Thank God I got over that crush–have you seen Carrie Fischer lately?


    Posted by Kozo | March 5, 2013, 9:58 pm
    • 42 times! It can’t be a coincidence that 42 is also the meaning of life, the universe, and everything (at least according to Douglas Adams!) Seriously, you deserve a medal for being such a Star Wars superfan. By the way, I hope you made a bundle kissing that magazine photo!


      Posted by happyzinny | March 6, 2013, 12:24 am
  12. Who doesn’t love Star Wars?
    Great post, filled with childlike wonder and joy!


    Posted by The Hook | March 7, 2013, 11:06 am

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