The Day I Fell in Love with Star Wars
11/15/2015 01:17 PM Filed in: Blog
Okay…. I don't know the DATE - but I do know the DAY.
I was six years old. My big brother's friend David came to our house to pick up my brother for a jam session or something (they were both budding musicians) and took us back to his house because I'm assuming that's where the drums were… Evidently I was along for the ride this time. When we got there, I met Michael - David's younger brother. He was closer to my age and wanted to show me some "cool stuff" in his room.
Michael showed me his room and I remember seeing the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. A magical 3.75" piece of white and black molded plastic that burned an impression in my mind that I remember to this day.
He called it a "Stormtrooper". I had never heard that word before but it didn't matter.
I knew that I'd never forget it.
He then began to show me how he had made an imperial base out of packing foam and showed me a few other figures, Chewbacca, Luke Skywaker - LUKE FREAKING SKYWALKER!!! For the FIRST TIME!!!
I still couldn't get over that Stormtrooper.
When we got home, I remember grilling my brother Mark all about this thing called Star Wars. I was three when the first one came out so I missed it. Remember - this was 1980 - VHS wasn't common. DVDs, BluRays or the internet didn't even exist yet….
Shortly after that, The Empire Strikes Back came out. I had seen commercials.
I began grilling my brother pretty hard on the matter.
The conversation went something like this:
6-Year-Old me: "Who is this Luke Skywalker?"
Mark: "He's a Jedi that uses a lightsaber. They're swords that cut through anything. They're made out of light"
6YOme: "In real life?"
Mark: "No, in the movie. Remember he's an actor."
6YOme: "What's the actor that plays Luke Skywalker?"
Mark: "Mark Hammill."
6YOme: "Do you think he got to keep it?"
Mark: "Keep what?"
6YOme: "The lifesaver."
Mark: "Light Saber."
Mark: "It's called a Light Saber. Saber means sword. It's a sword made out of light."
6YOme: "Well, do you think he got to keep it?"
Mark: "I don't know."
6YOme: "Well I'll bet he has one. I'll bet it looks cool. Do you think he has an extra one that he gets to keep for himself? Does it make that sound in real life? Does it glow like that in real life?"
Mark: "JESUS CHRIST, Chris! I don't know! He may have the prop lightsaber from the movie in a trunk in his house at the foot of his bed for all I know!"
6YOme: (thinks to myself - God I want to open Mark Hammill's trunk at the foot of his bed and see if there's a lightsaber in there).
Side note - I actually still want to ask Mark Hammill if there's a lightsaber in his trunk…. if he even has a trunk… If he says yes - I'll suggest to him that he display it on a bookshelf instead.
6YOme: "Do they make a stormtrooper costume you can wear?"
Mark: "I don't know. I guess you could get it somewhere."
6YOme: "Do you think they make it in my size?"
Mark: "Probably not. You're not tall enough."
6YOme: "Man, I want to own a stormtrooper costume one day!"
Fast forward 20 years from that conversation…. I own a fully armed and operational Stormtrooper Costume.
I couldn't stop thinking about Stormtroopers. They've always been one of my favorite. Ironically, I don't remember owning an original stormtrooper figure until just recently. Just missed it as a kid at our TG&Y and Playland (in the Statesboro Mall). For Christmas 1984 I got a carded figure and saw Han and Luke in the stormtrooper disguise as available figures.
I looked every shelf, behind every toy, on every isle forever and never found one.
That was a long time ago…. in a galaxy far, far away when the shelves looked like this!
The elusive Han Solo and Luke Skywalker in Stormtrooper disguise!
When the new figures came out again in 1995 the first one I bought was an exclusive Han Solo in Stormtrooper disguise from a Froot Loops mail-in. I was FLOORED!!! I ate EIGHT boxes of Froot Loops to get four of them. One of them never shipped and I wrote Kellogg's (I was in college at the time and very good at writing form letters - Thanks Donna Purcell….and typing class at CHS!). The kind folks at Kellogg's were good people and sent me my missing 4th figure!
I've owned many Stormtroopers since. I even have the rare George Lucas in Stormtrooper disguise figure.
And when I saw the new Stormtroopers in the new Star Wars trailer?
It was all new again.
Look at that black and white molded plastic!
What's not to love?
And oh yeah…. My company - Pladd Dot Toys - sells Stormtroopers now.