Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A Most Fitting Closure to the Saga...

Last Friday, the 10th of June, I finally had my opportunity to see Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith on the big screen. As luck would have it, I was able to do so in a fashion that uniquely celebrated the completion of the story cycle that George Lucas began back in 1977.

When Star Wars came out, I was just about to graduate high school. I was an instant fan the first time I saw the movie. During its original release, I saw it a total of ten times. I faithfully attended each of the subsequent movies when they came out, even being the first person in line in Syracuse, NY to see Return of the Jedi.

This past Friday, I looked at the sign outside the movie theatre next door and was thrilled to see that Dennis (owner of the theater) had booked Star Wars E3. I hadn't been to see it yet, and this was so convenient. Plus, I had heard rumors about the Wilton Town Hall Theatre and the original Star Wars that I hoped to confirm...

I bought my ticket early, and I didn't even have to pry the information out of Dennis. He told me the story about what happened back in 1977, about how, contrary to any evidence you will find elsewhere on the web and in Star Wars trivia, the world premiere of the original Star Wars took place at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre on May 17th, 1977, in the tiny town of Wilton, New Hampshire.

Go anywhere else, ask the most devoted and knowledgable Star Wars fan, and you'll be told that the first movie premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on May 25th, 1977. Why the discrepancy?

As Dennis told it to me, one of the producers of the film had children who attended a notable boarding school here in Wilton. He really, really wanted his kids to be the first to see the movie. So a special day of showings of Star Wars was arranged as a fundraising event for the school.

It's that simple. Since this wasn't an official, for profit showing, and wasn't an event that got national attention at all (after all, Star Wars at the time of release was predicted to be a B-movie dud with no box office power and no lasting value), in all official records the first showing that counts was at Grauman's.

But I know different, and now you do, too. And what I consider more special, I got to see the movie that brought the story full circle in the place where it really all began.

How cool is that?