Fine, May 4th, Star Wars Day, whatever. Let’s do this thing.
A running theme of this series is that you kids these days have no idea how good you have it. If your favorite movie is The Avengers or Wall-E or The Remains of the Day you can just own a DVD and watch it whenever you damn well please. When I was growing up, VCRs were barely even a thing, so once a movie left theaters, you were out of luck, unless it made it on to network TV. So if, for example, you were nine years old and nuts for Star Wars, reliving the movie wasn’t as easy.
Fortunately, we had several options, but the most direct ones were these two. The Star Wars Storybook was an easy-reading adaptation of the movie, complete with bunches of photos. That boring car ride could now include a close-enough experience of Star Wars! And what’s more, it included scenes and stills not in the actual movie. Many a kid convinced himself he had seen the legendary Biggs scenes on the big screen based on their inclusion in this storybook.
The Story of Star Wars, however, was a little more exciting. It was a record album that contained the actual dialogue, music, an sound effects from (most of) the movie, joined together with narration by Roscoe Lee Browne (a detail I didn’t know until I just looked it up and man, that guy led an impressive life!) I had a record player in my room and could therefore enjoy the album whenever I wanted, and I wanted to often. In fact, here’s a bit of trivia regarding it that I know. What lines from the movie end side one and are then repeated at the beginning of side two? The answer is at the bottom of this post.
The album actually pre-dated the storybook, coming out in 1977, when Star Wars was still white-hot for me, which could be the other reason it looms larger in my memories. The book came out in 1978.
There were also Marvel’s comics adaptations of the movie, and believe me, I had those and read the hell out of them, but again, they weren’t as big as these two.
Eventually these would be supplanted by an actual bootleg copy of the movie on videotape, which of course was the best thing ever at the time. But that would be several years later.
When did I get it? As soon as it was possible to, I imagine.
Do I still have it? I don’t have either one anymore. We do have a copy of The Star Wars Storybook, but I think it might actually be Becky’s old copy, not mine.
ANSWER: “Clear bay 327. We’re opening the magnetic field.”