The year was 1977 and I was 8 years old when Star Wars was released. Star Wars fans are unrivaled in their knowledge & passion only by Disney fans and those are the ones, perhaps only with the exception of me, that will recall that the Disney movie “The Rescuers” was in theaters at the same time during that disco era summer.
My parents packed me & my two sisters into our station wagon and headed to the theater with a plan of my mother taking me & my siblings to “The Rescuers” while my father went (Han) solo to “Star Wars”. I was SO excited to see “The Rescuers” as I loved mice and going to the theater was a rare & special treat for us so you can imagine my dismay when we pulled up in front of the dual screen theater to discover a line that appeared to go on for MILES. No, not for Star Wars but for MY movie, “The Rescuers”! Star Wars had only been out for one month at that point and was still gaining steam, exposure and hype not available to the masses the way it is today in a pre-internet era. It was quickly determined that the showing we were there for was already sold out and the line was for the *next* screening, resulting in the ultimate and dastardly decision for us to all go to Star Wars instead. THE HORROR! Truly, I’d been robbed!
Now…..imagine if you first saw Star Wars knowing absolutely *nothing* about it and not only did you NOT want to see it, you were MAD that you “had to”. And so was my introduction to the uncontestably magical world where, instead of buffalo, wookiez & droids roam.
As with everyone, I had never seen anything like it and I was completely blown away. It consumed thoughts and conversations and, at my age at the time, playtime and debates over who was cuter, Luke or Han Solo. For the record, I’ve always been a Han Solo girl, apparently drawn to bad boys since I was old enough to like boys at all. But I digress. It was due to both my personal, and the public’s, obsession with Star Wars that my artistic self met my tiny entrepreneur self and I began cranking out hand drawings of Star Wars characters, R2-D2 being my specialty. Once I had compiled an impressive portfolio I began going door to door in my neighborhood selling my masterpieces to those lucky enough to have the opportunity and wherewithal to make such a sound investment. The market for eight year old pencil drawings of Star Wars characters was HOT! Okay, well, shocking as it may seem, that wasn’t exactly the case but I do recall selling at least two, maybe three, of my drawings, obviously to kind hearted, encouraging souls who were probably also family friends.
Decades later I ran into Han Solo (aka: Harrison Ford) on South Beach, Miami. Like, LITERALLY, ran into him – we roughly bumped shoulders walking down the sidewalk as we passed. O….M….G! That’s another story for another day but, I’ll tell you what, he was still one handsome devil! While I can’t promise you’ll meet Han Solo or that you’ll make riches selling handmade art if you are a die-hard fan you can still travel to a galaxy not so far, far away and relive your own Star Wars memories. Perhaps pass the lightsaber and introduce it all to a new generation, though may I recommend renting “The Rescuers” for them too. 😉