For various reasons, I never got to see the original Star Wars (or ESB or Jedi) in the theater, even though I was 7 in 77 and soon became the biggest Star Wars fan in my school (no hyperbole either, I was actually known for this, and not always kindly!). It wasn’t until the movies came out on video that I finally saw the actual films for the first time…but in pan and scan, cropped and crappy, likely with mono sound. Obviously I was still dying to see them in the theater, but they weren’t showing anymore.
In the early 1990s (1991 or 1992 I think?) an opportunity arose to see the original Star Wars at a one-time charity showing in my town of Portland, Oregon. I was overjoyed, but there were weird specifications for the tickets where they were $50 but you had to have five people. Believe it or not, I could not find 4 other people to go with me to see Star Wars at this point…“oh, I’ve seen that 100 times before”, etc. from every person I asked. I managed to find ONE other person who wanted to go, but that wasn’t enough. “Oh well,” I thought, “there will be other opportunities.” How wrong I was!
Obviously I went to see the movies in 1997 when they were released as Special Editions. But it was pretty apparent that I’d missed out on something, and when it was announced that this would be the end of the original editions going forward, my heart sank. In the years that followed, numerous theaters around the US announced they were going to show the “original” Star Wars, but in the end they were either mistaken or could not get permission. I vowed I would move mountains and go anywhere to see the original Star Wars. Of course, my ultimate dream was to see it in 70mm…but that idea just seemed preposterous.
So when I first heard about this showing at the Academy, I scoffed and said there was no way they were getting the original, because no one ever got the original. At the time I didn’t know about the 70mm factor. I watched the live stream video of the panel and enjoyed it. But then…then I heard that the print shown not only WAS the original edition, but it was also in 70mm! And I completely missed out on the opportunity.
Some day, universe. Some day.