Thursday, May 03, 2007

AUGUST 24, 1977

On August 24, 1977 in the movie listings of our newspaper was an ad for Star Wars and it announced that it was now showing at the Four Seasons Cinema.

This was the moment I had been waiting for all summer and on that evening the family piled into the station wagon and we were off to see the 7:00 showing of Star Wars.

Luckily, we got there early and stood in the already growing line for tickets. I’m sure I was pretty antsy, just like everyone else in line, as the Star Wars hype was at full-force.

After our tickets were torn, we found our seats and the small cinema rapidly filled up until every seat was taken. The demand was so high, they continued to sell tickets for standing room only. People were sitting on the aisle floor and standing wherever they could. The room buzzed with loud chitter-chatter until the lights went out and the 20th Century Fox logo appeared on the screen. (I can’t remember if there were any previews or not. I don’t think so.)

Once I saw the spaceships zoom overhead, I was in a trance for the next two hours as was everyone in that cinema. It seemed we were all connected and that we were actually part of this movie. Not one person talked and I doubt if anyone left for the restroom or for more popcorn.

After it ended, everyone just sat there reading the credits and listening to the music. I had only been to a handful of movies before Star Wars and we always ended up leaving the moment the credits started rolling. This time we just stayed put and tried to shake our spaced-out trance we were in.

It was even exciting walking out of the theater and to our station wagon. My brother and I were running around the parking lot playing Star Wars. And I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid walking with stiff bent arms like C-3PO or breathing like Darth Vader.

Seeing Star Wars for the first time will always be one of my favorite memories!

The Four Seasons Cinema is located in the Lodge of the Four Seasons, a large luxury resort complex located at the Lake of the Ozarks.

The Lodge of the Four Seasons opened in 1965 and I’m assuming the Four Seasons Cinema opened sometime just a few years later as a Jerry Lewis Cinema. The cinema is small, probably not more than 400 seats. One feature that everyone liked was the little folding table that was attached to the seat.

The days are over for this cinema showing first run movies, but it still exists and is used for special events and the showing of free kids movies for the resort’s guests. You can find some photos from 1998 over at CinemaTour of the cinema and it hadn’t really changed all that much from 1977. It finally was remodeled a few years ago.

The next batch of photos are ones that I took, just a few weeks ago.


John Rozum said...

Very nicely documented. I'm enjoying your reminiscences, and the card countdown to boot.

Mike Middleton said...

Great post! That ticket stub isn't from 1977 is it?

Todd Franklin said...

John - Thanks, I've been enjoying all of your Star Wars posts too!

Mike - Thanks! I think it's one that I saved from the 1980's.

Anonymous said...

I also saw Star Wars there in 1977. Only big-time movie that I ever saw when I wasn't at home, so I'll always remember it.