The Obligatory “Star Wars” Post

star-wars_jung_sm“A long time ago, in 1977…”

by Paula Bosse

The relentless Star Wars promotional onslaught has been upon us for a while now. I have no idea what episode we’re up to at this point, but let’s look back to overlooked tidbits about that first movie. My favorite is this wire-service blurblet which appeared newspapers in April, 1976 — a full year before the movie was released.


“Luke Starkiller” is a great name. Too bad Lucas changed it. Gene Siskel asked him about it in 1983.


The movie played exclusively at the late, lamented NorthPark I & II; it opened on Friday, May 27, 1977. Lines were around the block. For weeks.


star-wars_dmn_052677May 26, 1977 (click for larger image)

(Did you keep your “free Star Wars buttons”?)

Moviegoers were stunned that the ticket price had been boosted to a then-unheard-of $3.75 (the equivalent of about $14.50 today). As one article explained, “Twentieth-Century Fox takes 90 percent of the gross receipts after deduction of expenses” in exchange for allowing theaters to show the movie. (I wonder how much popcorn was!)

Lastly, a fairly enthusiastic social commentary piece about the movie can be found in an article written by Dallas Morning News editor and editorial-page mainstay William Murchison (in fact, the article appeared on the editorial page of the DMN). The moneyed Mr. Murchison likens the exhilaration felt in finally getting into a showing that hadn’t been sold out to “crashing the Astor Ball” and is shocked at the “ungodly” ticket price — “a price that would buy a good Cabernet Sauvignon.”  Even so, he and Lovey apparently were quite taken with the exploits of Mr. Starkiller Skywalker, et al.) (Check the Dallas Morning News archives for the article “Movies to Make You Feel Good” by William Murchison, DMN, Aug. 30, 1977.)


Sources & Notes

“Star Wars” poster by Tom Jung found here.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.