I’d written about this before, but I felt it was time to revisit this story, for this site. The day of my first memory, the one that set me down this path of geeky awesomeness, a seminal day in my life, and I didn’t even know it yet. 5/25/1983, the day Return of the Jedi opened in theaters, and I was there.
I was three years old at the time, in San Diego, California. It was a really hot day, and the line for the theater was wrapped around the block. This was in the days before every theater was a multiplex, so theaters weren’t equipped to handle the large amounts of people that would go see these big movies, the lines wrapped around the block, busting it some would say, hence why these movies became known as blockbuster hits.
I was present also for Empire Strikes Back in the theaters I’m told, but I was only recently born at the time, and therefore don’t recall it, but perhaps I was subliminally influenced by greatness that day as well. I remember my Mom volunteering to wait in line for us so my Dad could take me into the nearby department store to use the bathroom and get a drink, since it was so hot out that day, and we’d be waiting a while longer yet, before getting into the theater for that sweet, sweet air conditioning.
I remember passing a Star Wars merchandise display, all sorts of action figures and t-shirts and such, and my Dad telling me I can get one if I wanted. (I was three, and it’s Star Wars so of course I wanted something, hell same answer you’ll get from me at 36 if I want some Star Wars merch) Yes. So, looking over everything, three year old me was drawn to this t-shirt, and this action figure of Admiral Ackbar.
My dad asked me if he was a good guy, or a bad guy, to which I replied, he was a good guy. No clue how I knew that, but I did. I was a hipster in the making, an Ackbar fan before it was cool to meme his famous catchphrase “It’s a Trap!”
We went back to my mom in line after that, and I was already wearing the shirt, so excited for this movie I was. Eventually we got in, and while I don’t recall actually seeing the film that day, though I know I did, my life was forever changed that day. While some people lament the direction the Star Wars franchise has gone over the years, to it’s recent, we’re getting a Star Wars movie every year from now until they stop making money (so…never then, really) I’m excited for this, because not only do I get to see Star Wars every year for the rest of my life, I can one day pass on to my children the gift that I did that day, of seeing a Star Wars movie opening day, and may the force be with them as it was with me that day.