May the Fourth Be With You
Indian Hills Theatre, Omaha, NE c. 1977
It is May 1977. It is hot and sticky in Omaha and we are lined up outside of the Indian Hills Theatre. It was big and round and pink and imposing and we were in line to see the newly released “Star Wars”. The line is long and the crowd is antsy and energized. I was 13, my brother was 6, and my Dad was not excited. We did not often go to the movies and we had never been to the Indian Hills before. It was imposing, it was huge, seating almost a thousand people and it was buzzing with excitement for the premiere of this genre changing space movie.
I thought it was a cool enough movie with Han Solo looking so dashing and Princess Leia kicking ass and taking names. But for my 6 year old brother “Star Wars” opened up his mind and world to a whole new way of being. For the first time ever, outer space and the galaxy looked so real and so believable. Gone were the days of playing “Emergency” and being Johnny or Roy (depending on the day) fighting fires and saving cats from trees and we ushered in the days of Han Solo, Luke, Obiwan Kenobi, R2D2, C3PO, Chewbacca and Princess Leia (although she was not a favorite of the 6 year old boy scene). Our house was taken over with Star Wars figures, lots of them. Landspeeders and XWing Fighters were heard zooming around at all hours of the day and night as my brother fought to save the galaxy.
To this day, my brother (much older than 6) still speaks fondly of the magic that George Lucas created on the screen with “Star Wars” of the “galaxy far, far away” that transported us all for a little while. If you ask him nicely, he will show you all of his Star Wars figures well-loved and a little worse for the wear. Just look at the screw in Obiwan Kenobi’s head repaired by Dad when head and body parted company in a galaxy shaking skirmish (or after having been chewed on by the dog). I know that many of you have experienced the expansion of the “Star Wars” franchise, but those of us who were there at the very beginning when “Star Wars” was the first May the Fourth never passes without a nostalgic nod and fond memories of the wonder of outer space on the big screen unlike anything that we had seen before.