Monday, May 07, 2007
Star Wars 30th Anniversary Special - part 7
When "Star Wars" hit theaters in 1977, there were no multiplexes, and no VCRs. Movies also did not see the wide releasing that they receive now where they appear in pretty much every single movie house across the country on opening day. In 1977, they would hit the major cities first, then start migrating out the the rest of the country, often taking months to hit the smaller towns. "Star Wars" did not reach where I lived until July, if I remember correctly.
Conversely, if a movie was a hit it would often play in the same theater for months on end, occassionally disappearing for a few weeks while a previously booked movie came along, only to reappear again periodically after that. I'm pretty certain that "Star Wars" played in some theaters for a year straight, perhaps longer, though it was often rereleased those initial years, so I can't say for sure. This made seeing it repeatedly pretty easy.
But was there an alternative? What if you wanted to watch it at home? This Kmart from the November26, 1977 TV Guide provides the only real possibility. $22.88 was a pretty hefty amount of money back in 1977, and "Star Wars" was condensed from a 2-hour movie to an 8 minute movie. I wouldn't have cared, but I never owned the 8mm version. I still wonder if it was a condensed version of the whole movie, or just one or two entire scenes, like other 8mm versions of Hollywood movies were.