DAVE: Where Were You with R2D2

In 1977, a youthful me was piloting a canoe down the scenic Delaware river. I was on a two week summer camp trip. We’d paddle all day, look for a riverside campsite, cook out and camp out and do it again the next day. We were roughing it. About 20 adolescent boys working out our Lord of the Flies stuff under the supervision of two camp counselors.

In a canoe with R2D2I don’t recall a lot about the trip, but I do remember one particular day clearly. It was several days into our journey, and we were approaching the small town of Port Jervis, NY when our counselors motioned for us to head to the shore. We figured we were stopping for supplies or an early lunch. After stowing our gear, we all marched up Main Street. We stopped at the town theater. The marquee prominently displayed Star Wars.

The small town theater was just that—squeaky seats, stale popcorn and a flickering projector—not exactly an IMAX experience, but that dark cool theater transported us to a galaxy far, far away. Sitting there transfixed, I knew I was experiencing something special, a classic story of good versus evil, featuring creatures like we had never seen before—and of course, amazing special effects (for 1977).

Over the years, there have been plenty of films etched into my memory—like Jaws, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now—but I couldn’t tell you when or where I saw them. My introduction to Star Wars was a unique experience. That night as I slept under a sky full of stars, I had a whole new perspective of the universe.

Then some kid belched really loud and I gave him a wedgie. Hey, I was only 14. 

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