The other day I was busy getting ready for work when I felt a tremor…in the Force…one that I haven’t felt since the last time we comic book and movie fans were summoned together to celebrate those things that are are precious to us. It could only mean that my old allies of the Super-Blog Team Up were being summoned to join up once again!
Since this is the 7th gathering of such like-minded blogs and The Force Awakens is set to hit theaters on Thursday it was felt the appropriate subject matter to cover would naturally be that of Star Wars. For myself I am going to be talking about those absolutely vital 33 1/3 Book and Records telling an abbreviated version of the Star Wars saga as well as the longer and more complete The Story of Star Wars offerings.
When I saw Star Wars in 1977, as I’ve mentioned on this site before, I was totally hooked. Truly nothing in my young life had prepared me for this movie. When I left the Razorback Theater that afternoon…and it totally wasn’t a full auditorium when my Father and I first saw it…my brain would replay the film over and over again. I would literally eat, breathe, and sleep Star Wars and I could never seem to quench the desire to go see Star Wars again and again and again.
Thankfully for my Family’s sanity…to get me to shut up about Star Wars for about 13 minutes…Buena Vista Records released this 1977 Book and Record/Cassette adaptation for the first Star Wars. It’s selection of photos and wonderful pairing of sound effects and music from the film even if it was sadly missing the voices of the actors of the film, really gave my five year-old self complete fulfillment on a daily basis.
I cannot stress how important these books and record were in my youth, a time before VCR’s would allow me to watch that film to my hearts content. So here for your viewing and listening pleasure is the story of Star Wars by way of the 33 1/3 record, graciously uploaded by Jon Knutson.
Now as I mentioned just a moment ago, the book and record offerings didn’t include the original voice actors. I really didn’t mind. But there came the afternoon when my Father returned home from work and passed me a brown paper bag, I looked inside it and freaked out, it was an 8-Track version of the story that included narration by Roscoe Lee Brown (Oliver and Company, Babe) as well as abbreviated clips from film. I’ve actually posted this before, when Tom Berges was kind enough to share it over at I Grew Up Star Wars.Com Facebook Page.
I listened to the 8-Track tape so much that it broke and sadly was never able to get my hands on another copy. Thanks to Bryan Youngwho uploaded this to his YouTube channel you too can experience the thrill of the audio adventure with The Story of Star Wars like I did when Superscope released this back in 1977.
When the Empire Strikes Back was released in 1980, the days of the half full theater auditorium were long gone. Lines formed early in the morning at the Razorback, so much so that my Father decided to not to try and see it…this was a devastating announcement to me. But the day wasn’t totally ruined as my Father explained the film was playing at the 112 Drive-In, so I could dry those tears, I would just have to wait a couple of more hours.
At the Drive-In they had someone dressed up as Darth Vader standing near the concession stand, passing out candy to the kids in attendance. I won’t lie. I was too intimidated to approach the Dark Lord of the Sith and get a sweet. It would be many years later before the temptation to join the Dark Side would win me over with the promise of cookies.
It’s not like my love of Star Wars was altered after seeing The Empire Strikes Back and one day when we visited our local Wal-Mart I was delighted to find the Book and Record version, and just like with the original version I would spend hours listening to it on the record player. Thanks to Jon Knutson once again you can listen to the Buena Vista Records 1980 adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back.
Now I sadly never got my hands on another of the “Story of” series but Buena Vista Records also released The Story of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, this time the narration was handled by Malachi Throne (Star Trek/Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp). Thanks to Runmaster Supreme you can enjoy the story for yourself.
The first time I saw the trailer for Return of the Jedi was in front of 1982’s Academy Award behemoth Ghandi. I am pretty sure I’ve shared this personal story before but I went into the Razorback Auditorium ahead of my Father, we were uncharacteristically running late and the previews were already playing…I walked in on it at the halfway point, my heart stopped and I ran back to yell for my Father to get into the auditorium quickly…which looking back on it I am sure that the other theater goers were please with. Ahem.
I received the Return of the Jedi Buena Vista Book and Cassette (33 1/3? Did anyone listen to those anymore?!) thanks to my Grandmother. It was waiting for me one afternooon when I came home from school…and while it is true that most of my attention was now focused on my Commodore 64 I still had this adaptation playing on my portable stereo. Luis Alfredo Gallardo Contreras has uploaded this in two parts on his YouTube channel.
Naturally Buena Vista Records released The Story of Return of the Jedi in 1983 and thanks again to Runmaster Supreme you too can travel back to the days when the fate of the Rebel Alliance was on a tipping point and we fans of the films continuously offered our theories on if Darth Vader could indeed be Luke Skywalker’s Father. The Narration duties for this release was handled by Chuck Riley (A well known narrator for numerous film trailers and even worked on Disney Read-Along records!)
Now as with all of the great Super-Blog Team Up’s, throughout the day the links will go live below to the other blogs participating in the celebration of Star Wars. So be sure to check back regularly to share in the memories and fun of those films that took us…and continue to do so…to a Galaxy Far, Far Away…
The Super-Hero Satellite: The Toys Awaken
The Crapbox of Son Of Cthulhu: Growing Up Star Wars
Between The Pages: A long time ago in a bookstore far, far away…
Mystery V-Log: My Personal Star Wars History
Bronze Age Babies: Star Wars: Season of the Force
Longbox Graveyard: Star Wars Card Trader