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Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Date With Han Solo



Really truly sorry...

But this is no time

For Han Solo

To break a hip...

Or to suffer some similar senior oldie osteo disaster of epic proportions. Han Solo, we need you and we need you NOW!

 I have a light saber tucked away in the basement and can fashion a cape with a bath towel and two safety pins, but we are not little kids anymore, and this is not some video game where the protagonist falls, then leaps back up after a touch of the reset button.

Han...Han...can you hear me Han...???

I have the recipe for world peace. Bowls of freshly popped popcorn. prepared on the stove, slide, slide, slide, shake, shake, shake, pop pop pop until the lid lifts off. Butter melting in the still warm pan, then drizzled sensuously, and a final light sprinkling of salt. Eight ounce glass bottles of ice cold soda, the frost cold to the touch in one hand, the popcorn bowl warm in the other. Boxes of Junior Mints and oversized bags of Twizzlers tossed randomly across the coffee table in front of the TV.

The whole world, the global community of nations, cuddled and huddled on sofas, splayed out on the floor, legs hanging over the arms of plump and comfy overstuffed chairs. Laughing and whispering and giggling in anticipation of the Main Event. A few over zealous fans clad in Boba Fett and Stormtrooper bathrobes hushing the crowd as lights dim. The screen fades to black, then fills with the scrolling and iconic introduction.

“Long ago in a galaxy far far away.”

Yes, yes it was or that is how it seems. Long long ago and not so far away, actually only a few miles across town, we arrive ahead of the moving van, all our worldly possessions and one psychotic dog squeezed into the back seat on the trek to our new home. We land in the midst of a once in a century snowstorm, stranded in a motel with a rabid claustrophobic dog, a less than double, slightly more than single bed and a five minute hike through the tundra to the only vending machine on the premises. Which is...empty.

Null and void.

On that dark and proverbially stormy night, inching out into the drifts to clear a bare spot for Floppy to flop without sinking over his head in a snow bank, I squint into the darkness at a brilliant marquee.

Evening stars. Ah, no.

Light bulbed festooned movie marquee illuminating the facade of a grand majestic theater mere steps from our door.

The majestic theater marquee lit up with four foot tall letters spelling out two words.


Never heard of it. Have no idea. A premiere opening and not a soul in line. Just us two. It is the smell of the popcorn in the lobby that lures us in. Not just food. But popcorn, the homemade kind, with real butter and boxes of snacks. And the theater, well, they just don’t make them the same way anymore and it’s a shame. For as the usher, yes I said, the USHER, opens the door, row after row of red velvet covered rock back and forth seats facing not one, but three screens, draped in regal velvet curtains tied back with golden woven loops. We sit right in the center, juggling drinks and munching treats, until the lights dim, the curtains roll back and the story a galaxy far far away.

Over the next three days, we watched STAR WARS,
fourteen times.

Over the next fourteen years, and the birth of two boys, and the release of the Empire Strikes Back and Return Of the Jedi, the Star Wars Saga played out across generational lines.

Our basement is filled with memorabilia. Action figures, light sabers, X-Wing fighters and more. None are collectibles as they are no longer in mint condition. No, these are well played and well worn pieces of fiction that I stepped on, fished out of the toilet, and packed in lunch boxes for car trips to visit family far away.

The Rancor Monster terrified one son.

The AT-AT Walkers frightened the other.

But even behind peek-a-boo hands, we watched.

The Force is strong with this family.

The Force Of Goodness for goodness sake.

We need you Han and Luke and Leia.

 But before you dismiss this idea of mine, this preview party, this Saturday night popcorn party, let’s go behind the scenes for a minute.

Star Wars is more than a simple moral tale. Our galaxy is definitely infinitely closer these days. We are not so easily impressed by the next big thing. But how did we get here from there. The secret is in the details. Watch it again. Look carefully. For there, in the magic, is a wonder of creativity so powerful, so ahead of its time, that it bears a second look.

The Trilogy.

Some day in a galaxy far far away, I wish upon a star. I want to spend just one afternoon in the company of the geniuses who imagined the telling of a tale, in a format so remarkable, so fantastic, that in order to flesh out their fantasies, they not only had to dream, but they had to build an entirely new set of pencils and pens.

In order to animate, they needed new technology, the invention of animatronics.

Virtual worlds built with CGI, computer generated images.

 Robots, spy droids, cinematic illusions and computer generated languages.

Mind bending, life altering creativity expanding our universe.

Think of it. Please do.

The quantum leaps and bounds in technology and computing,
graphics and artistry.

Digital storytelling that changed the landscape here on Earth, in the Ewok Village and on less than twenty years.

The resonance of Star Wars lies in the tale.

The Moral Tale.

For without a good story, the popcorn is stale, the ice melts and the movie goers exit the theater before the third act.

Good Versus Evil...and the Good Guys Win

We need a leap. A human chain of steps across the canyon.

Some inspiration to write a new story, while Han is laid up.

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do...”

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

We are...”A Shining City On A Hill”

Don’t let the Rancor Monster scare you, or the AT AT Walkers...

We can do it...

The Force Is With Us...

Chapter 26... The Yard Yetis A Gardeners Tale...continues

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