Star Wars was basically all I cared about in terms of Sci-Fi and toys from age three until age eleven or twelve. I had Star Wars wallpaper when I was eight or nine and Star Wars themed birthday parties. I saw Star Wars at age 4 in 1978 but I don't really remember that first experience. My parents went first to check it out because they thought Chewbacca might be too frightening. One of my earliest memories is from 1980, I had seen Star Wars several times by then and I remember seeing it almost back to back with The Empire Strikes Back when it came out. The line for tickets went literally around the block and I have not seen anything like it since. I still remember the brand of chips my Dad ate and my brother and I wearing our favourite Star Wars t-shirts.
After the movie I was so excited I got my Dad to go and ask the usher if there would be another Star Wars movie and what it would be called. My Dad came back and said "Revenge of the Jedi". It was one of the best moments of my childhood. Though I remember seeing Jedi three years later it was more just the film that I remembered, whereas with Empire at six years old it was the entire experience that stayed with me. I also saw Raiders of the Lost Ark at a drive-in movie theatre with my family, the first time I had ever been to a drive-in. My parents made us all close our eyes at the end, but I peeked and had face-melty nightmares.
My entire Christmas list was always Star Wars stuff and I still have most of it today. You can almost tell how old I was looking at the figures. The 1977 figures are trashed and missing weapons, the 1980 figures are a bit dinged up but reasonable and the 1983 figures are almost perfect. By the time I was nine I just stood them on my shelf instead of ruining them in the dirt. I remember playing with Luke Hoth and my Tauntaun in my parents' freezer and drawing Sarlacc pits on cardboard and cutting them out for dioramas. Playing on the weekend was usually outside, often roaming the neighborhood at a young age with no need for supervision. We rode our bikes or dressed up to play Star Wars with plastic masks, capes and lightsabers. Later it was Indiana Jones, sometimes Ghostbusters. We went adventuring in the nearby pine forest, collected toads from the swamp and made our own bows and arrows.
My Dad was kind of an early adopter, we had a video camera and VCR when I was eight or nine and an aunt who owned a "video library" We soon had our own copies of the trilogy, which were watched religiously every weekend. Our aunt lived interstate though and I remember it cost $300 just to join the local video library when it first opened. Movies were about $20 to hire. We also had an Atari 2600 and games like Combat, Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Defender. I did not like putting money in arcade machines like most of my friends. I remember Dragon's Lair was insanely expensive when it came out. It would charge a dollar to kill you before you made it inside the castle when most games were still twenty or forty cents. I played it once. Our first computer was an Apple IIE and it seems there is no trace of my first computer game on the internet (Wizard I). Other games I played were Karateka, Montezuma's Revenge, Mask of the Sun, Alpine Adventure and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? The computer at my school required a whole room and we learned DOS working on terminals.
I was ten in 1984 - one of my favourite years for movies. I was a bit young to see some of them until later but it was still very memorable seeing Gremlins, Ghostbusters, Temple of Doom, Star Trek III, The Karate Kid, The Neverending Story and The Last Starfighter all on the big screen in such a short period. I got a digital watch, an early model Walkman and the Nintendo Game & Watch "Lion" when my parents went to Hong Kong and bought a bunch of duty free stuff. Later I got a few double-screen Game & Watches like Donkey Kong and Oil Panic. I could clock my Donkey Kong Game & Watch several times but could never even beat the first screen at the arcade.
I started skateboarding at age 12 after seeing Back to the Future and have a scar on my stomach from a skitching accident. I wore a denim jacket with the sleeves rolled up and mirrored sunglasses for at least a couple of weeks. My denim jacket had no pattern inside the sleeves so I wore a flannel shirt underneath and it was boiling hot. I made my first skateboard from a plank of wood and a roller skate when my parents wouldn't buy me one. They realized my home-made job was far more dangerous and ended up buying me a real skateboard. I broke my arm within the first year.
My favourite TV shows were The Incredible Hulk, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Knight Rider and The Greatest American Hero. My parents wouldn't let me watch The A-Team so I used to spend my pocket money on A-Team paperback novels. I collected the novelisations of my favourite movies or movies that I wasn't allowed to watch and bought every issue of Mad Magazine, mostly for Mort Drucker's artwork. I remember going into a Hi-Fi store with my Dad to look at the first Compact Discs when they came out. I wrote letters to my friends. A Mars bar cost forty cents. You see, back in those days, rich men would ride around in Zeppelins, dropping coins on people, and one day I seen J.D. Rockefeller flying by. So I run of the house with a big washtub and... hey! Where are you going?