I was six years old when Star Wars came out. My parents took my younger brother and I to see it one evening not too long after its release. From the opening sequence where Princess Leia's little space Prius was being chased by Darth Vader's gargantuan star destroyer -- resplendent in gun metal gray like a Hummer in a chop shop -- I knew, knew it was the greatest thing that had ever been or would ever be. From that moment on Star Wars was stitched into every fiber of my being. I remember watching the local PBS station, which was barely recognizable through the static on the poorly-aimed antenna that perched on our roof, because it was airing some segment on some show brought to you by the Chubb Group that was showing footage of the escape from the Death Star and the subsequent space battle. Great shot kid! Don't get cocky.
He even bought C-3PO's.
The next several years would be dedicated to getting every Star Wars related toy in the universe. Between my brother and I, we came as close to accomplishing that goal as anyone who wouldn't serve as inspiration for Comic Book Guy ever did.
Years later we outgrew the toys of course. We later staged grand battles in the back yard, setting up the models and ships and playsets and action figures in vast battle lines and pitting plucky rebellion against evil empire. Casualties were counted and victors declared. The rules of engagement were simple: if you got knocked over by the pellets we were firing from the back porch you were dead. Sorry Luke. Later stormtrooper #4. How desperate is the rebellion? The medical droid from The Empire Strikes Back just took a slug to the sternum. Why is he on the front line?
I know what you're thinking. In our defense we had no idea how much this stuff would be worth today. I could have retired ten years ago if I had had the foresight to keep this stuff in good condition. Oh well. At least I don't have to go to work until Wednesday.
The last remnants of a once-mighty empire.
So there I was at Christmastime, watching my nephew play with... a rescued box of figures my brother had found in the attic. It was apparently the only thing to survive from our formerly formidable empire. Of all the playsets, ships, guns, costumes, lightsabers, helmets, and comic books all that remains is a partially filled case of action figures. My nephew was enthralled. He set them up and knocked them down and set them all up again. In the coming years I'm sure they'll still be there and he'll still be playing with them. And if the time comes when he seems to bore of them, and if he's very good, I'll whisper two words to him that will rekindle, if only briefly, his love affair with toys his dad and uncle played with 35 years ago. Two words I hope will light up his eyes the way mine lit up when that star destroyer thundered across the screen in 1977.