Thursday, May 17, 2007
Star Wars 30th Anniversary Special - part 17
I keep going back to pre-VCR ways of reliving the "Star Wars" experience at home. Here's another one. The Star Wars movie viewer was a hand cranked device where you'd attach a rectangular cassette which contained a loop of super-8 film, hold up the viewer so that a light source shone through the clear plastic knob on the top, and then turn the crank while looking into the viewer. Now you could watch silent clips from the movie, forward, backward, in fast or slow motion, and you could also freeze frame.
Each cassette ran about 90 seeconds, which doesn't sound like much, but sure seemed like a decent amount of time, especially since each cartridge seemed pretty packed with a variety of exciting clips from the movies.
There were 5 "Star Wars" cassettes made, including the one titled "May the Force Be With You" which came with the viewer. There were also cassettes for "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman." These I never had. I also never got the casette titled "Battle In Hyperspace."
Of the set, "Danger at the Cantina" was my favorite. At the time, there were almost no images of the Cantina scene available. As a kid who grew up at the tail end of the monster boom, the Cantina scene was my favorite sequence from the movie, and now, I had in my hands, a way to watch a condensed version of it again and again. Even better, because I controlled the speed of the film, I could stop and look at the various aliens for as long as I wanted, really getting a good look at them, since most of them had mere seconds of screen time in the actual movie.