My fellow Blogging.la contributor David Markland is psyched for the Star Wars Celebration beginning this Friday at the L.A. Convention Center, and wrote that he can track his desire to be a filmmaker back to when he saw the film and then the landmark “Making of Star Wars” special that aired on CBS back in 1977.

Which reminded me of the 2005 posts I wrote during the frenzy building for the release of the series’ much-anticipated final chapter about me actually being in that TV special. So climb aboard my flashback machine and let’s relive that glory:

April 7, 2005

With all the overblown obsession of all the people in line at the Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood planning to wait the 43 days until the next “Star Wars” film opens (but at the Arclight, not the Chinese), it got me kinda nostalgic for those good old days back in the summer of 1977 when my friend Luis DeJesus and I cut summer school at Le Conte Junior High to go see C3P0, R2D2, and Darth Vader get their feetprints enshrined in concrete in the famed theater’s forecourt.

And wouldn’t you know, the website of those geeks who are currently lined up there has an image posted of that very same event:

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I kid you not, Luis and I were standing in the area indicated by the arrow, perhaps 12 feet or so from where the coolest droids and the bestest villian ever showed up to smoosh their tootsies in the Ready-Mix. We were in 13-year-old heaven!

The cool thing was Luis’ mom was working at 20th Century Fox at the time and had scored us each an authentic film crew tee with the distinctive logo on the front — which of course we both wore.

Later, after the ceremony was over and the crowd had dispersed Luis and I were trying to figure out a way to sneak in to see the film when a guy near the box office with a video camera called to us as we stood beneath one of the posters on the right side of the courtyard. We both looked over at him and he held the camera on us for a few seconds before saying thanks and moving on.

We thought it was just a local cameraman grabbing footage, but we later found out it was much bigger than the six o’clock news. Shortly thereafter, to capitalize on the fever the film induced, we heard of a “The Making of ‘Star Wars,'” a documentary that aired about a month later on TV — just after 8th grade had begun.

Of course I watched it, having no idea that near the end when the doc was wrapping up with an exploration of the merchandizing phenomenon the movie had become, all of a sudden there I was with Luis onscreen standing under the poster in our matching “Star Wars” t-shirts. In a blink we were gone, but it was enough for me to come to school (in the shirt, of course) and wallow in some short-lived celebrity from a steady stream of schoolmates who throughout the day would yell at me, “Hey! I saw you on TV last night!”

Man it would be so cool if I could get my hands on a copy of that old doc… but maybe I already have it. I should dive into the special features discs of the “Star Wars Trilogy” that Susan got me for Christmas… perhaps it’s in there. How cool would that be!?

Turns out four days later, bad back not withstanding,
it would be very cool, after the jump.

April 11, 2005

Oh but I threw my back out but good this morning. Did it while getting out of bed around Pumpkin who lay between me and the matress edge demonstrating no intentions of making it easy for me or getting out of my way.

So I did this twisting thing as I rose as I climbed out over and around him and when my feet hit the floor I felt that familiar twinge way down in my lower back where my spine connects to my assbone. Ten minutes later the pain told me I knew I was in no position to go to work or go for Verdugo Ride No. 6, or anything productive.

So I called and left a message for my boss and then tried some old therapy exercises on the carpet before Susan went to work.

A vicodin that I took a couple hours later finally kicked in, and I was good to do some overdue laundry and tidying up… but by late afternoon, I just had a seat in front of the TV and made my program of choice the bonus disc from the “Star Wars” DVD set Susan got me for Christmas.

Among the extra features is a 2.5-hour doc about the making of the film, and I figured if me and Luis were anywhere, we would be there.

To refresh, last Thursday I wrote about how the people currently waiting (however in vain) for the next “Star Wars” at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater got me all reminiscent about my claim to fame of me and my buddy Luis being filmed at the theater in August of 1977 when C3P0, R2D2 and Darth Vader all had their footprints enshrined — and of that footage of the two of us in our authentic t-shirts being included on a “The Making of Star Wars” show that aired on ABC a couple months later.

In the post last week I waxed nostalgic about how nice it would be to get copy of that broadcast, and then the light bulb went off:

“I should dive into the special features discs of the “Star Wars Trilogy” that Susan got me for Christmas… perhaps it’s in there. How cool would that be!?”

Sure enough, just after Susan got home from work I was about an hour and 20 minutes into the show and it was beginning to discuss the phenomenon of the fans. All of a sudden, there we were with Luis on the left and me on the right…

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…almost exactly as I remembered it.

“Later, after the ceremony was over and the crowd had dispersed Luis and I were trying to figure out a way to sneak in to see the film when a guy near the box office with a video camera called to us as we stood beneath one of the posters on the right side of the courtyard. We both looked over at him and he held the camera on us for a few seconds before saying thanks and moving on.”

 

Of course, I grabbed a little Quicktime clip of us, but don’t blink!

 

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(click image to play)

 

How triple-dang cool it that? Not only did I find what I’d presumed was an always-to-be-lost fragment of my youth, but we made the cut and ended up in the big trilogy package.

My back’s feeling better all ready!