Images by John 'K'

Life as seen through my lens…

May The Fourth Be With You, Always

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35 years ago today I was in my first year of teenage life, and having been brought up on a diet of Doctor Who (yes, it’s been going that long), Star Trek (original series), and stories by Issac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, I watched with interest as news of a new epic science fiction movie, soon to be released, made its way over the Atlantic Ocean to the UK. I quickly latched onto the seemingly simple yet compelling story of “farm hand discovers his inner strength and saves the galaxy” and went out and got the comic books of the story, the photo novel, all the “special behind the scenes” magazines about the film and even without seeing the film became a huge fan.

Move forward a few months to September of 1977 and my mother and I traveled to the west coast of America for a three week coach tour of the western states, taking in many sights that went on to shape my desire to live here as an adult. During that trip I was to turn 14, and on the day of my 14th birthday we had a “free day” in San Francisco with no scheduled activities, so my mum asked me what I wanted to do. My first thought was to see if Star Wars was still playing anywhere, as it had yet to open in the UK (that wouldn’t come until later – this was in the days before digital projection and world-wide simultaneous releases). Sure enough it was still showing at the Coronet Theater (where it had opened in San Francisco back on May 25th) so I almost begged her to let me go see it.

I got my birthday wish, so we walked down Geary Boulevard from our hotel to where the theater stood (it’s not there any more), got tickets for the next showing, and we had some lunch while I eagerly waited to see “THE movie”. As we drew close to the show time, I couldn’t get back to the Coronet quick enough. I handed over “the ticket” at the kiosk and rushed in to pick a seat. Now keep in mind that by now the movie had been showing for 4 months, so the theater that could seat almost 1,500 people was pretty much empty – there were three other people in the place to share this experience with me!

So I took position in what I thought to be the best seat, towards the front and in the center of the row so the screen filled my field of view, and waited for the show to start while my mum went off to kill a couple of hours (as she didn’t want to watch the film – it wasn’t ‘her thing’!).

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The lights dimmed, the curtains opened, the screen burst into life, and that now instantly recognizable music started booming through the many speakers. The preface to the story scrolled across the screen, faded to a spectacular view of stars that panned to pick up a beautiful alien planet, and then WOOSH – sounding like they were flying over the tops of our heads the space ships almost had us ducking in our seats. I was immediately sucked into the story, and sat riveted for the next two hours, not wanting to move as the final notes of the closing music faded to silence.

Thus began my love for the Star Wars story, which may have faded a little over the years (helped in no small part by the appearance of Jar Jar Binks in Episode 1) but has never gone away.

So, on the day that has become known internationally as “Star Wars Day” through a fun play on words, may the Force be with you, always!

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