Friday, March 14, 2014

Article - My first "Star Wars" magazine - TIME, May 30, 1977

As a 7 year old, "Star Wars" was still something that wasn't really known to me.  

There was no Internet, no smart phones, no personal computers (they were coming).  I really hadn't heard or seen any hype about the movie, even by May of 1977 when the movie was actually released.  You'll think that strange, reading this today, but back then information traveled at the speed of print and by word of mouth.  The only phone you had was the one on the wall in your house (and you probably leased that unit from the telephone company).

I remember going on vacation to Chattanooga, TN to visit my grandmother's brother and while I was there I saw my first "Star Wars" television commercial and I knew this was something that was going to be amazing.   The next day we went to the local mall and while my father got a haircut I saw a current issue of TIME with an article on "Star Wars".  As far as I can tell, this was the first magazine to have an article on "Star Wars" and it was my first view of some of the pictures from the movie.

My seven year old mind was blown.

While my father and my grandmother's brother had their hair cut at the barbershop I flipped through the magazine, mesmerized.  I remember leaving the barbershop and seeing "Star Wars" playing at the big cinemaplex across the street.  I begged my father to take me to see "Star Wars" because there was a huge line to buy tickets to see the movie and I really wanted to see this movie, now more than ever.  My father said that we would wait and see it when it came to Hattiesburg, MS where we lived.  I asked him how long that would be and he told me a few weeks.

"Star Wars" didn't reach Hattiesburg, MS until late October or early November.  So much for my dad's estimate of "a few weeks."

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Estes "Star Wars" Flying Model Rockets

With the success of "Star Wars" it was only natural that Estes would want to get in on the huge cash pie.  

Enter the Estes flying models in the "Star Wars" flavor.  

I'd long been a fan of model rocketry and the Estes catalogs held the same kind of fascination with me that the Dinky diecast toy catalogs held ... they were filled with things that as a child I thought were neat beyond belief but which I didn't seem to ever be a part of.  Estes catalogs featuring that impressive camo German V2 rocket and the "Star Trek" versions of the "USS Enterprise" and the "Klingon Battlecruiser" drew my child-like fascination.  

Oh, I saw a few model rocketry shows in my childhood but my attempts to build model rockets always met with failure.   I was much better with models of rockets rather than model rocketry and it remains that way even today.  While interesting, model rocketry just isn't a hobby that I think I would get very much enjoyment out of ... 

I digress.

In the late 1970's Estes produced several flying rocket models under the "Star Wars" license; the Proton Torpedo, the X-Wing Fighter, the TIE Fighter, and IIRC, a flying R2D2 rocket (yeah, where was that in the movie?).  I always wanted the X-Wing and the TIE Fighter because the X-Wing looked really cool (better than the MPC kit IMHO) and since MPC never made a model of the basic Imperial TIE Fighter I wanted the flying model rocket just to put together as a static, non-flying model.  Never did that, either, but it was a wish, a hope and a dream of mine back in that special time that was 1977 to 1979.

The Estes Proton Torpedo ruined me as a child and as a "Star Wars" fan because it looked so plausible ... then whoever it was that finally designed and drew the canon proton torpedo made it look like a snow cone sitting on top of a fire extinguisher and ... well, I like the simplicity of the Estes Proton Torpedo better.   I mean, what happens to the casing after the torpedo is fired?

Discussion for another time, I guess.  Given that, here's three 1978 period advertisements for the Estes products ... the X-Wing Fighter, the TIE Fighter and the Proton Torpedo.  I really, really wanted the X-wing and TIE simply because MPC didn't make a TIE Fighter model (not a regular TIE Fighter) and the X-wing looked better than the MPC model did (at least to me).