May the 4th Be With You…Always

Star Wars is not what it once was, at least for me. There was a time when it was everything to me. Like most pre-teen kids in the late 70s, I was well and truly obsessed.

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Turn back the clock forty years  and Star Wars was almost a year old. Marvel was knee deep into the comics and really hitting their stride. That run of issues throughout 1978 was a real highlight for me and now, in the order of my ranking all-things Star Wars, it is those comics that come in second only to the first film.

1978 also was the beginning salvo of Kenner toys.While I really waish MEGO would have gotten the license, my love and affection for those toys was boundless. Unfortunately they came just I was nearing the age when I would be too cool to play with them, but there was a brief window there when they were the subject of countless hours of fun for me and my kid brother.

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And then, there was the Holiday Special.

The Star Wars Holiday Special aired on November 17, 1978 and, somewhat blissfully for me, tv reception on CBS that night was abysmal. We lived in the country and received our television via a thirty foot tv antennae with a rotor attached. Often times tv reception was pretty bad and this night, at least as far as CBS was concerned, was about as bad as it got. But my little brother and I still watched. Even through the crackle and snow and rolling picture, I could tell this show was a disaster. Its one saving grace was the introduction of Boba Fett.

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The animated segment, during which was the clearest the tv got that night, thankfully, was pretty solid. While I didn’t love the animation style (it’s grown on me through subsequent viewings) it did feel like a continuation of the movie universe and was akin to the comics I was reading.

The rest of the program was ridiculous. I don’t know what CBS was thinking. I can only hope that Lucas was paid well for allowing his characters to be so soundly abused.

Star Wars turns 41 this year. It’s been a bumpy ride. Like I said at the beginning, Star Wars as a whole doesn’t mean the same to me as it once did, but I have never lost the sense of wonder and excitement that I felt when the opening scrawl debuted back in 1977.

No matter where the franchise goes, the Star Wars of my childhood remains firmly entrenched in my mind, untouched and unsullied…

MAY4TH

 

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