The date was May 25, 1983, "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" was opening at the Oakmont theater just outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was 5 years old when my Brothers Mark and Doug took me to see what would inevitably be my indoctrination to the Star Wars universe.
I remember the smell of popcorn filling my nose. the green and blue carpet as we walked up the ramp to the concession stand. Snowcaps, Peanut M&M's, a popcorn and a Pepsi later, and we entered the theater. We found our seats and sat. The light's dimmed. I don't recall any previews, but I do remember seeing the large, bold yellow letters on the big screen for the first time. The blare of John Williams' masterful opus resonating in my ears. It was religious!
Opening day for one of the greatest film sagas in human history. There is nothing else like it. Although I wasn't a huge fan of George Lucas' Episodes 1,2,3; I still made a point to be at the opening of each. I even took leave when I was in the military just to see Episode II, "Attack of the Clones". It was tradition.
Today, December 18th 2015. I got to take my six year old son to experience his first silver screen Star Wars viewing. I picked him up from school at 3 pm, having purchased the 5 pm showing tickets earlier on. The joy, and light and excitement on his face was epic. A picture couldn't have captured the anticipation and elated feeling that was smeared across my sons face.
Unlike most of us Star Wars fans, my son got to do what most of us have never done. That is to watch all 6 episodes of Star Wars, in "time line order" for the first time. Starting with Episode 1(#JarJarSucks) and working our way to Episode 6. (side note: 5 minutes into Jar Jar's appearance on screen and my son said, and I quote; "...what is up with Jar Jar Daddy? He doesn't need to be in this movie...he's annoying...")
So when I told him that we were going to see Episode VII, the unsurpassed look of surprise made my heart soar. We grabbed an early dinner, and then headed to the theater. The doorways opened into the grand mezzanine of the AMC theater and his eyes grew larger and larger and larger.
We purchased our snacks and headed to our seats. It felt good to be among other fans. The demeanor of the crowd all around us was that of mutual geek/fan-dom. Star wars shirts and hats were in no short supply, including us. A few people were Cos-Playing their favorite characters from all different aspects of the saga. We sat through 30 minutes of promotional videos, and then close to 30 minutes of previews; and then there it is.
The large, bold yellow letters on the big screen for the first time. The blare of John Williams' masterful opus resonating in our ears. It was religious!
The crowd erupts into applause, cheers and whistles resonate through the theater! I feel the tug on my sleeve. "Daddy, this is awesome! Everyone here loves the same movies we do!"
People spend their whole lives trying to find immortality. I have found mine through what I pass onto my Son. The love of something as legendary as a film saga called "Star Wars"; something that was one of my most cherished memories growing up that is being continued in an amazing way;...well. That's my immortality. I can see the same wonder and awe in my sons eyes as I had when I was just a bit younger than he. The joy, passion, love and inspiration of imagination in his eyes is something this world is desperately lacking.
Then, after the epic film was over; we spent the rest of the night talking about the film. Our favorite parts, the awesome battles and who our new favorite characters were. Aside from meeting my wife, getting married, having my son; this is hands down one of my all time favorite, Top 5 days in my life.
We get home and get ready for bed, my son leans into me. Hugs me. Then says, " Daddy, I really like Star Wars! Thank you for taking me, I won't forget it."
"Star Wars" is more than just a film series. It is a family tradition. One I intend to pass on.
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This nice Cos-Player dressed as Han Solo took the time to pose with my Son.
CEO Spike Bowan is the Pittsburgh based Actor/Director/ Author/ Creator of the Alternate History Genre/Fiction saga "War in the Backyard".
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