The blog of Richard Thompson, caricaturist, creator of "Cul de Sac," and winner of the 2011 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May the Fourth Again

Today, for those of you who care about such stuff, is May the Fourth Be With You Day. Back in 1977 I went to see Star Wars (the first, real, one) on its opening night at the Uptown Theater with a bunch of friends, which establishes my geek cred if there was any doubt. All the shows were sold out, there was a line around the block, and we ended up seeing the added-on midnight show, and some of us appeared in a photo in the Wash Post the next morning of all the geeks in line to see a movie. Somehow we all knew it was an event and the line was the place to be. The Uptown is still the best theater in DC; it's got a huge screen and a balcony and the blockbusters open there. I've stood on that sidewalk out on Connecticut Avenue for dozens of movies since and nowadays I drag my daughters along, or vice versa.

The above cartoon is one of a few Star Wars Poor Almanacs I drew, the others having now been lost. One was about the Star Wars exhibit at the Air & Space Museum back in the mid-90s and the only bit of it I remember is something about them discovering a colony of midgets still living in the giant rubber Jabba the Hutt. There was another, unfinished cartoon about the new characters in some of the prequel movies; one was a robot that was just a dangling boom microphone named Oopsie Boomshot, ha ha.

Each of the subsequent movies in the SW franchise were, for me, another big step down from the fun of the original. When the last one came out I was ready to throw something big and wet at the screen. The above was drawn before I saw it, but I'd already figured it wasn't going to be much fun. George Lucas will likely spend the rest of his career tinkering with his Star Wars oeuvre, reworking CGI effects and monkeying with the explosions and stuff. And I'll likely keep recycling old blog posts, sometimes adding a little bit here and there. Like this one.


Chuck said...

I saw Star Wars for the first time in a mall theater outside Hollywood, FL in June of 1977. My parents had just divorced and my Mom hauled all five of us kids down there from Union Station in DC on the Auto Train to see her family and try to regroup, so to speak. We stayed two weeks, during which she realized that even as an unemployed, divorced mother of five she was in better shape than the rest of her family. We also saw Star Wars three times in 10 days. Then we went back to Maryland and I saw it another 15 times. It's all I remember about the trip or that summer really.

Neil J Murphy said...

Interesting how, so long ago, Jar-Jar seems to be channeling Sarah Palin. ("...blah, blah and how you betcha!"

Jo said...

I remember going to see Star Wars over and over again that summer, because it was so totally different from any of the other movies that were out, and just... so exciting! My friends and I would race to sit in the front row, because we'd discovered that during the Death Star battle scenes, whenever a fighter would drop into one of the "canyons," we'd all feel a brief moment of weightlessness and motion, as if we were riding in the cockpit, too! I wonder how many engineers of modern 3-D rides were kids that summer, too?

Mike Rhode said...

Richard - you're a cartoonist. You don't need any more geek cred.