May the 4th Be With You!

It’s Star Wars Day! Time to celebrate all things one with the Force!

Our family loves Star Wars. We have had multiple Star Wars-themed parties, complete with Wookie Cookies, Yoda Soda, Aunt Beru’s Brew, and Jabba’s Delight. That one was a combination of green Jello and gummy worms. It looked nasty, but tasted pretty good. We served all sorts of galactic goodies.

When we began our Star Wars parties, we usually included a trilogy marathon. These days a marathon would require a whole weekend.

My love for the Franchise began in 1977. I remember the night my family waited in line for tickets. We watched Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope at the ABC Cinema. That particular theatre had restrooms at the back of the auditorium, and every time Darth Vader appeared on screen, my younger sister had to visit the ladies’ room. My little brother hid behind the seat in front of him. I don’t remember hiding, but I remember being very impressed at the fear Vader evoked. I was nine and a half.

Of all the movies I’ve ever seen, that first installment holds the title for most-watched. I have lost count of how many times I’ve seen it. The special effects, which were breath taking in their day, triggered my imagination like nothing before.

The effects embellished the story, without overshadowing it. The multiple moons on Tatooine silently sprinkled awe into a scene of a young man dreaming about his future. The cantina band added that perfect quirky musical vibe to a powerfully sweeping score. The characters have flaws and strengths. Mystery and majesty. Wonder. The cast was composed of Hollywood freshmen, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher, as well as legends like Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, and James Earl Jones. It was anchored with the masked talents of Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker.

This movie was a gamble. George Lucas experimented with a story, and it worked. A universe was born. An Empire was created. A new species of humans evolved. They are the ones celebrating today.

My son asked me if I thought his teachers would be upset if he wore his Darth Vader helmet to school today. I asked him if his school (he’s a junior in high school) recognized “Star Wars Day.” He said that he didn’t think so, but he argued that it was “International Star Wars Day,” and that should count for something. I suggested that he save the helmet for after school. His light saber is ready for action as well.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. May the Force be with you!

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