Happy Birthday, Chewie
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Happy Birthday, Chewie

2007_05_25_starwars.jpgIf you are of blog-reading age there is a good chance you either didn’t see Star Wars in its initial theatrical release or were taken by your parents not too long after kicking that whole toilet-training thing.
At the time George Lucas wasn’t even sure he had anything good on his hands but, of course, it has since turned into a cultural touchstone and a source of even more money than Han Solo could imagine (and he can imagine quite a bit).
On May 25, Star Wars is celebrating its 30th anniversary, though, because the movie was rolled out slowly, it did not actually open in Canadian theatres until June 24. As this vintage ad shows, by then Time magazine had already declared it “the year’s best movie,” and the Toronto Star‘s clairvoyant Clyde Gilmour opined that it “leaves the audience panting for a sequel.”
If nothing else, the ad might make you pine for the days when movies stayed in the theatres longer than a month, when they had screenings at 10 a.m. and even when you had the opportunity to head out to the 400 Drive-In for a show.
The Rivest’s site is an amazing source for information on theatres that have long since gone off to cinema heaven and their archive of vintage Star Wars ads is a treat.
The now-defunct Famous Players chain was celebrating 60 years in business when it hosted continuous 70mm screenings of The Empire Strikes Back at the now-defunct-but-once-stunning University Theatre. And midnight showings were finally in vogue by the time Return of the Jedi opened at the University, Cedabrae and Runnymede theatres in 1983. For a wallet-busting $6 you could even use the “La Réserve” service and have a pre-booked seat at the Cumberland.
Only time will tell if those popular pirates will be able to boast the same kind of pop culture caché 30 years from now…

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