I’ve tried nd tried, but I can’t find the original review of STAR WARS that was published in Newsday, a Long Island newspaper that once had a fairly hefty circulation in Manhattan. The critic gave it 2 out of 4 stars and approached the picture from what I considered a realistic angle. This was on opening weekend, before the mania went off the hook. About a month later Newsday re-reviewed the film, gave it 4 stars and a rave. Bowing to pressure… or perhaps payola from Fox!
this is probably a tedious story for anyone who is not me, but what the hell: one of the clearest memories i have from childhood is standing in the queue for ‘star wars’, back in the olden days of the single-screen cinema when you had to queue outside on the footpath come rain or shine; i remember it was a lovely, balmy evening and the line extended out around the block (maybe it was the second weekend or such after WOM got humming? can’t remember) and we were about half-way along in the queue and had been waiting for a couple hours – my two besties and i, around 11yrs old – when out of the blue my older cousin and his three big idiot teen friends turned up and cut into the queue with us (without asking if it was cool first, of course) and this couple right behind us got annoyed and took exception to the blatant cut in, so words were spoken and my cousin’s friend was being a real dick to the man, which led to them coming to blows right there on the footpath – the first real life punch-up i’d ever seen – until my cousin and some other guys from the queue sort of broke it up, and then some official guy from the cinema came out and told us we ALL had to leave — but us wee girls were like, “hey, we didn’t do anything, we’ve been waiting here for ages!” and some of the others in the queue backed us up, so after pleading our case my cousin and his friends and the man from the couple were told they had to leave and weren’t allowed to go to that showing (she left, too), leaving us girls weirdly right back where we started, waiting patiently but in quiet embarrassment and shock as it were, v. bizarre.
but then line started moving and we slowly made our way into the darkened cathedral and worshiped googly-eyed at the alter of ‘star wars’ for the first time and that, of course, made it all better! (and so it turns out that i saw ‘star wars’ BEFORE my cuz, much to his chagrin, which i gloated about and lorded over his head for all time, really)
My experience was archetypal: went with my friend Phil and his dad and we waited in one of those famous lines at the Century Dome theatres (yes, domes) for a few hours, the best part being the Burger King cheeseburger and shakes and the paltable excitement and goodwill among the late spring crowd.
And sitting in the cool darkened theater as the audience cheered the Fox logo and then the opening moments of STAR WARS…well, you know the rest of the story.
ha, funny how just about everybody’s ‘star wars’ experience – or those of us who were lucky enough to see it on its original release in the 70’s anyway – includes a “waiting for hours in a long line” component (i couldn’t bear to use the word ‘queue’ again after repeating it aprox. 84 times in my comment above, bah, i really need to proofread better before posting). glad your ‘pre-wars’ experience was far more pleasant than mine; i can honestly say it’s the one and only time i’ve seen fisticuffs at the cinema! (thank goodness)
I have fond memories of seeing a double bill of STAR WARS and EMPIRE STRIKES back on 70mm in Toronto before JEDI came out and inbetween the film they had a teaser trailer back when it was still called REVENGE. I think my brain pretty much shorted-out at the excitement of seeing new SW imagery. And yes, I do remember waiting in long lines but it wasn’t so bad because you were either with friends or started talking to others near you. The comradery I do remember.