I will always remember the summer of 1977 and the coming of Star Wars. It is difficult for me to reckon that it happened forty long years ago.
Where has the time gone?
I was in second grade in 1977, and a friend who lived up the block from me in Glen Ridge, N.J. came to school one morning clutching a Star Wars movie booklet; one that featured imagery of Dewbacks, Banthas, Tusken Raiders, Jawas, C3PO, Chewbacca, Darth Vader and other characters of seemingly impossible and unbelievable imagination.
So sue me. I was seven.
That's how I felt too.
That night -- before I went to bed -- my mother asked me if I had liked the movie. My mind was still reeling, and I said that I did. But I suppose I was a little reserved in my answer.
My façade cracked quickly at that point and I was glad and relieved to admit the truth.
But at that point, I could not imagine what Star Wars would one day become, or how it would change our world.
I did not imagine, at age seven, that the film would open up the floodgates for other space movies that I would come to love and cherish, like Alien (1979), The Black Hole (1979), and Moonraker (1979).
I did not imagine that George Lucas's vision would change the shape of television, a medium which would soon bring us Battlestar Galactica (1978-1981), and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-1982).
I did not understand that Star Wars' success would be the impetus to finally bring back the long-on-hiatus Star Trek franchise.
Nor did I understand that the film would shape science fiction and fantasy cinema for decades to come.
And finally, I could not imagine that one day I would be taking my very own nine year old son out of school early to catch an afternoon show of a Star Wars sequel (The Force Awakens) or prequel (Rogue One).
Star Wars has, finally, become something that I share with a different family; with my wife and son.
At seven -- way back in 1977 -- I suppose, I was just thinking about my favorite character, Han Solo, and how cool it would be to play Star Wars (1977) on the playground at school with my friends.
But Star Wars endures, evergreen, -- a veritable cinematic fountain of youth.
It is a story, and represents a kind of storytelling that -- across the generations -- possesses the power to make each one of us feel young again. It is a call to adventure of an innocent and joyful type. It evokes childhood, and yet is not childish.
Where were you, and how old were you, when you first saw Star Wars?
Let me know in the comments section below. And happy fortieth birthday to Star Wars.