Happy 40th Anniversary, 'Star Wars'! - NBC Southern California

Happy 40th Anniversary, 'Star Wars'!

The space-major phenomenon premiered on May 25, 1977.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Happy 40th Anniversary, 'Star Wars'!
    TCL Chinese Theatre
    Pictured: The "Star Wars" opening engagement at Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The film opened on May 25, 1977.

    There was once a day, long ago, in the hazy, gauzy past, in this galaxy, on this planet, when "Star Wars" didn't yet exist in the minds, hearts, and toy collections of millions of devoted fans.

    That day was May 24, 1977.

    Then, on May 25, everything changed, and nothing went back to the way it was, and soon all people, or at least an astounding number of people, were doing Wookiee impressions, and sporting side buns, and fighting with invisible light sabers, and adopting the ways of the Force.

    "Episode IV: A New Hope" premiered on that fabled date, and lines grew longer than a trash compactor monster, and blocks were busted, and some dialogue-memorizing fans returned to see it, daily, or nearly every day, throughout the summer of '77.

    Whether you throw around the word "phenomenon" a lot, or not, or stick with the catchier "phenom," you can agree that, in the cinematic universe, "Star Wars" is certainly the most phenomenal of all phenomenons, thanks to a successful spate of films, books, cartoons, action figures, theme park experiences, and Yoda backpacks, which is, let's be frank, one of the greatest of all of this universe's plentiful gifts.

    The four decades since the movie's debut have flown faster than the Millennium Falcon making the Kessel Run, or seemingly so, and fresh "Star Wars" stories keep moving in our general direction, with a speed set to hyperdrive.

    Perhaps you've heard there's a new flick coming up? "The Last Jedi"? Surely you have. (We josh; we know there's a countdown calendar on your phone.)

    But modern-day Jedis aren't waiting for December 15 to show their devotion to the Rebel Alliance. LiningUp.net, the fan group that traditionally queues at the TCL Chinese Theatre ahead of another "Star Wars" film opening, all to raise money for the Starlight Children's Foundation, will join Nuke the Fridge in front of the Hollywood landmark on Thursday, May 25 to mark the 40th anniversary. 

    The celebration is on from 7:30 p.m. to 8 o'clock. If you join in rocking your best Leia or Finn get-up, note that the fans plan on sticking around for the 8:30 p.m. projection show in the theater's famous forecourt.

    By the by, here's one for your "Star Wars" trivia bag, though surely you already know it: May 25, 1977 was a Wednesday, not a Friday, giving early word-of-mouthers two days to tell all of their friends to go see the space epic over Memorial Day Weekend.

    This was pre-social media and texting, of course, so kitchen wall phones, the kind with the curly cords, surely lit up like the two suns of Tatooine.

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