We are fast approaching a geek milestone: May 25, 2007 will mark the thirtieth anniversary of the release of "Star Wars" - the first one - episode four - "A New Hope" - you know what I mean. That is, you know if you more than thirty years old, and Star Wars wasn't a defense strategy, or a series, merchandising, or a punchline. It was a movie to stand in line for. Before video tapes and DVDs, the only way to see a movie over and over was to pay the price in tickets and time.
That's what I did the summer before my sophomore year in high school. I didn't see it opening night, and I didn't make the pilgrimage to the Cooper theater in Denver to see it in wide-screen for several months, but I made up for it in repeat visits. For three months, if there was a momentary lack of something to do, one of us would say, "Hey, wanna go see 'Star Wars'?" Then we would beg a ride, or get on our bikes and hustle up to the Flatirons theater where we would be assured of one hundred and twenty-one minutes of giddy good time.
The side effects of this experience were a pasty white complexion in the middle of summer, a mild addiction to Junior Mints, and a completely annoying habit of repeating the lines from the movie moments before the characters on the scree would utter them. I wasn't much for "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," but this was nerd-vana. During one particular showing, my friend Susie and I were holding forth somewhere near the middle of the theater. I had just acquired my third bit of swag from the machine, a poster depicting X and Y-wing fighters swarming over the surface of the Death Star, and I was feeling my oats. Sometime during the second reel, just after R2-D2 made good his escape after Luke had foolishly removed his restraining bolt, a guy two rows ahead of us turned around and hissed, "I'll give you a dollar to shut up."
I looked at Susie, then back at the offended patron. "Each?"
"Yes!" He fumbled for his wallet and pulled out a pair of singles. Susie took the cash and went straight up the aisle for another round of Junior Mints and a Coke (this was 1977,when two bucks could get you a "King Size" box of cool, refreshing mints and a cup of watery soda). We suffered through the rest of the film in satisfied, bloated silence.
Tonight the galaxy exacts its revenge as I pay for my family to attend Charles Ross' "One Man Star Wars." For an hour, we will be entertained as one man does all the voices, sounds and music from the first (or is that second?) three Star Wars movies. I wonder if I'll be able to afford the Junior Mints.