Star Wars, Directed by George Lucas
20th Century Fox, May 25, 1977 (US)
Screenplay: George Lucas
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, and Alec Guiness
The advent of summer blockbusters forever infested the box office deep with the release of Jaws in 1975. From that moment forward, ambitions jumped up and out of the water; high concepts sprung on the horizon. Matthew Gresko, a Midwestern kid barely ten years old, sensed the change. Accordingly, when the time came to rocket himself into the intergalactic space battles of 1977, he chose his shoes wisely for a night at the movies.
The black slip-on platform ankle boots came to Matthew as a hand-me-down. An older neighborhood friend had already taken the shoes through their inaugural paces. Despite a dislike for second hand clothing, Matthew relished the giveaway as the lucky break needed to put his feet into the styles worn by hipsters—the in-crowd—who he imitated from a distance. Blending with cool people posed a particular challenge because the footwear purchased at his home trended toward the supremely terrestrial.
Unlike a used T-shirt, worn shoes have trouble pairing with a perfect match. Good fortune had it that Matthew’s feet were the only ones on the block approaching a comfortable fit. Once on, the thick heels and soles boosted him higher than the inch of decking upon which he balanced. Matthew was decisively all the rage in the boots and owned bell-bottom jeans to complete a groovy look worthy the era. His next obstacle was distinguishing an appropriate opportunity to step out.
Platforms were impractical for riding a bike, playing ball or an afternoon beeline to the local pool. Cutting edge fashion was reserved for grander occasions. Thus, Matthew quartered his prized possession in a prominent spot on his closet floor, knowing they would be safe until required.
The movie arrived out of nowhere but appeared everywhere. Word spread fast. Audiences lined up around the block at cinemas across the country, and it did not take long for Matthew to make the connection. An occasion to scrounge the bottom of his closet finally hit town.
He and a group of friends, led by the same guy who bestowed the boots, drove to the York Theatre, a historic single screen auditorium built in 1924 with a majestic Art Deco marquee that shined thousands of twinkling lights in the heart of Elmhurst, Illinois. The building was retro. The modern played inside.
The lights dimmed, the curtain retracted, and there was no forgetting the first moments of getting lost in space.
The journey began with a black screen. Blue text appeared.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. . . .
A brief fade back to black was followed by continued silence. Then, the title burst onscreen in an all-capital yellow outline superimposed over a starry cosmos, perfectly punctuated by the imperial horns of John Williams’s score. The title quickly pulled back and shrank past the center of the universe.
A summary crawl rolled up from the bottom of the frame, detailing important backstory, and narrowed in diminishing perspective the further away it drifted. Paragraphs about rebels and war slowly got sucked into the same black hole that ingested the title awhile before. Words gone, the camera panned down past several planets to a laser firing spaceship in flight.
The start was sensational. The rest got better.
In a matter of hours, Matthew left the York standing taller than ever. The boots, however, contributed a minimal portion of the lift, as his head graced the remote reaches of outer space.