Happy birthday, Star Wars

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: A Darth Vader and other Star Wars characters attending opening ceremonies stand for the national anthem before the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 16, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Happy 35th birthday to Star Wars, which was released 35 years ago today. Just reading that makes me feel old.

I still remember going to see Star Wars in the theater in 1977, and coming out of there thinking it was the coolest thing I had ever seen in my (admittedly very short) life. I can remember six year old me being sad at the end because it was over, and wanting to immediately watch it again.

And of course, I ended up having to have the various and sundry Star Wars toys, including the incredibly novel and high-tech Luke Skywalker figure with the lightsaber (a plastic stick) that extended from his hand by pushing a handle and sliding it up from a recess in Luke's arm.

One of the childhood memories that particularly sticks in my mind was being at school right when Empire Strikes Back was released (Empire came out on my brother Sam's sixth birthday), and having Swen Richter tell us in our third grade class that Han Solo dies in the end as a result of being frozen in carbonite. It was my first experience with the "spoiler" phenomenon, even though the spoiler wasn't exactly accurate.

Anyway, the first Star Wars trilogy was something I thought was awesome as a kid and still enjoy seeing now, and even the suckiness of the second "prequel" trilogy can't change that for me.

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