A celluloid love affair begins, November 1977.

A celluloid love affair begins, November 1977.

“Come On Bro – It’s The Wars!!”
— A Guest Blog by Dean Mayes, Part 2

(Read Part 1 here)

The ubiquitous Star Wars logo erupting onto the screen against the twinkling star field. That opening crawl – though I couldn’t read it then. And of course, there is that Star Destroyer passing overhead. I can clearly remember that. I was jumping up and down in my seat – blown away at this brilliant piece of celluloid – one of the most amazing cinema moments of all time!

Things that make you go - WHOOOOOO!!!

Things that make you go – WHOOOOOO!!!

The first appearance of Darth Vader when he boards the crippled blockade runner. The odd-bod Jawas and their towering Sandcrawler, the planet sized Death Star. All of these moments passed into my consciousness and have never left.

There are other significant memories. Scenes that I swear I saw in that original release that I haven’t seen in any other since. One example is a scene just after Ben Kenobi appears, having scared the Sand People away from a subdued Luke Skywalker. Kenobi and Skywalker have a conversation about Artoo then Luke is reminded that C-3PO still lies at the bottom of the ravine – the “Where am I? I must have taken a bad step” scene.

Obi-Wan and Luke are then seen helping 3PO to his feet. Now, I always remember seeing Obi-Wan, Luke and 3PO standing and stepping down from where he has fallen in the film. However I have only ever seen that moment as a still since. I stand to be corrected but, I definitely remember a much longer scene of 3PO, Ben and Luke standing together just after they help the stricken droid to his feet.

In all versions I have seen since, there is a wipe transition that crawls up the screen as they lift 3PO to his feet – a transition used to hide the fact that the film makers were using just a torso of 3PO at that point – before the scene shifts to Ben Kenobi’s dwelling.

For me, there was only one 'Falcon.'

For me, there was only one ‘Falcon.’

The last scene that I can recall with clarity was the Millennium Falcon knifing through space, just after they escape from the Death Star. It was a brief moment of visual pleasure just watching that beautiful “piece of junk” in full flight before the four TIE fighters rocket in after them while Luke and Han blast their pursuers away with the Falcon’s quad canons.

Dad tells me often that I wouldn’t shut up through large chunks of the movie. I was babbling away excitedly. I guess it was the excitement of my first movie experience. I went on to live and breathe Star Wars throughout most of my youth and adolescence – taking a break from it during those dark years between ’86 and ’95 – and now as a supposedly responsible adult, I can happily declare that I’m still the biggest kid on the block – with the coolest Star Wars collection going around.

“Come on Bro – It’s The Wars!”

Yallourn’s destruction was inevitable. By the early 1970’s the SEC had begun the process of dismantling the town, moving houses out on trucks in pieces so that they could be rebuilt elsewhere. The lure of the rich brown coal seam underneath the town ship was just too overpowering. The irony of that is that today the State Electricity Commission itself is now extinct – having passed into private/foreign hands in the mid 90’s by a government hell-bent on privatizing anything it could get its hands on.

You can still find many examples of Yallourn’s architecture in existence today around the Latrobe Valley. By the mid 1970’s Yallourn early spirit had been routed. Though many held out, continuing to live and work there, the writing was on the wall. My family had moved by late ’77 to the nearby township of Yallourn North.

Today, though the vista of the township is gone, I have discovered that the land upon which my first house was situated is actually still there – it hasn’t been swallowed by the Cut. In places evidence of the town’s streets still exist, complete with lines of trees.

The screen that opened the door onto that galaxy far, far away is bulldozed.

The screen that opened the door onto that galaxy far, far away is bulldozed.

Following the final film presentation – Gone With The Wind – the cinema was demolished in 1979. A 40-year-old cinematic era was ground to dust. The Yallourn Theater lives on in a comprehensive collection of stories, photographs and images that are shared by former residents of Yallourn among whom I count myself. I cherish that first movie experience with my father. Because in a small way it influenced the person who I am today. I love story telling, I love the escapism of cinema and I love the toys! I can’t allow myself to give up on them, as much as my serioso would like me to I am sure. Fortunately, my love of all things Star Wars lives on…and my son is now getting in the action too.

My serioso doesn’t really approve but – to quote the character of Chaz Bottler in Kyle Newman’s 2008 love letter to Star Wars fans (aka Fanboys)…

“Come On Bro – It’s The Wars!”

Contact Dean on Twitter @Hambledown_Road

This blog was originally published on deanfromaustralia.com. Thank you to Dean for sharing it with us!

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