Hey, Everyone--This is my first post.
STAR WARS...It was 1983. I was living in Hagerstown, Maryland and 3 years old. Our neighbors had a VCR and let us borrow it and their copy of STAR WARS. (I remember the neighbor, an older kid, was a big fan and had, I think, all the action figures, in the Darth Vader and C-3PO cases.) All I remember from that first viewing was Vader boarding the Blockade Runner. That is an iconic image, particularly because the tableau is overwhelmingly white and he is clad in black.
It was the first movie I ever saw.
RETURN OF THE JEDI...I saw the trilogy out of order. In the fall of '87, we had just got our first VCR. It was a free-preview weekend of HBO. I was all geared up for ROTJ and was ready to record with our sole blank tape (!). Just before it aired, I got confused by the TV/VCR switch and channel settings on the VCR (I think I set the VCR for channel 5 (HBO's number) when I should have set it for channel 3 (the Sylvania's number)).
Anyway, the recording started as the shuttle entered the Death Star. So I missed the opening crawl. I cried and cried and cried. Even then I was a completist and hated to miss anything of a movie. And for those of you too young to remember those halcyon VCR days, when a big movie was broadcast, you had to be ready to record, because it could be years before it might be on again, and your only recourse would be to buy the pre-recorded tape, and sometimes they cost $100!
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK...It was February of '88. It was a Sunday night, and I was wrapping up a week out of 2nd grade for chicken pox. NBC broadcast TESB and I was better prepared this time, starting the recording right on time. I remember being a bit confused why Leia was so mad at Han at the beginning of the movie, like a lot had transpired since STAR WARS. Regardless, it was a thrilling ride, and Vader's revelation left me dumbfounded. (However, I never thought he wasn't telling the truth).
As the credits started, my father, who was a stickler for maximizing VCR-tape usage and never cared about credits, told me to stop the tape. I said 'no,' and he proceeded to chase me around the room, trying to grab the VCR remote I was fleeing with. I remember thinking that I had to keep him off of me for as long as possible, because this was my one chance to get the movie.
Well, he caught me, so for years TESB ended with Peter Suschitzky's credit and "Yoda's Theme."
As for the prequels, I saw TPM in the theater 3 times and AOTC and ROTS 2 times each, respectively. But those memories are not nearly so near and dear to my heart.