Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

This is Me in ’83 – Return of the Jedi, Opening Night

Truly a high point of 1983.

GeekDad has published my two-part recollection of seeing the final chapter in the original Star Wars trilogy on opening night – 30 years ago this weekend.

What You Take With You: Return of the Jedi, Opening Night ’83 – Part One 

What You Take With You: Return of the Jedi, Opening Night ’83 – Part Two

Lapti Nek and Yub  Nub forever.

May 24, 2013 Posted by | 1980s, geek, Ohio, science fiction | , , , | Leave a comment

More Len Peralta! More Star Wars! More Nerditry! And Airwolf!

Mythbuster Grant Imahara's Geek A Week card by Len Peralta

Two weeks ago, I posted Part One of a Super Geeky Star Wars Nostalgia Podcast with Cleveland artist Len Peralta, creator of Geek A Week and the new 50 vs. 50 Heroes & Villains Mission. Quest. Thing.

Here’s Part Two, in which we discuss not only the merits of Kenner’s Return of the Jedi toy line, but the art and craft of boombox television recording, reliving Star Wars before you could watch it on TV any darn time you wanted, and lame Halloween costumes. Also, it turns out Len does an impressive Artoo-Detoo impersonation.


April 4, 2011 Posted by | 1980s, Books, eighties, Film, geek, Ohio, science fiction, Weblogs | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tatooine and the western terminus

Knowing I was facing a relatively short drive of between six and seven hours yesterday, I had a nice breakfast with my kind friends and hosts near Phoenix and didn’t start logging highway time until just after 9 a.m.

Just before reaching Yuma via Interstate 8, I passed a cluster of what looked like distant fires – I don’t know if they were brushfires or controlled burns or something else entirely, but for a minute or so, the dark smoke at the core of one of them was caught in a swirl that took on that creepy life-of-its-own serpentine movement like the Wizard of Oz tornado.

Naturally, as soon as I’d roughed out my journey’s map and saw that it would take me through Yuma, I decided that if it was at all possible, I’d visit the area where the Sarlacc pit scenes were filmed for Return of the Jedi. I was thrilled to find that the place – a recreational area for off-road enthusiasts in particular – had its own dedicated exit right off the highway just inside the California border, so it became a must-see stop.

Before I got there, I stopped in Yuma to make a sandwich. And knowing that the Star Wars saga has sometimes drawn names and words from real-world inspirations, I couldn’t help but have my lunch here:

(Yes, I know that “fortuna” is a word that exists in several languages and had a long history well before it became Jabba the Hutt’s majordomo’s surname. Still.)

After about 15 more minutes of freeway driving, I got off at the Grays Well Road exit and parked myself on Tatooine.

There are, of course, fences and power lines and restrooms dotting the base of the dunes, and the highway’s right there, and parking lots and maintenance equipment, but even with all those real-world intrusions, it’s ridiculously easy to look at this stretch of sand and sky and feel like you’re on that made-up planet and imagine a Krayt dragon skeleton just over the horizon, or a jawa sandcrawler cresting the next dune.

Wait? Did I really bring an old Star Wars toy all the way across the country for a five-minute stop? Why yes. YES. I. DID. And I love the way this picture turned out, first try. (And yes, I am well aware that the dewback is a Star Wars toy and didn’t make a Jedi desert appearance. I chose it anyway.)

The trip finished up with a surprisingly fun drive 4000-plus feet up into the mountains –

and then down into the greater San Diego area, where i pulled into my friends’ driveway midafternoon, some 2,500 miles after leaving my own.

June 19, 2010 Posted by | Film, geek, science fiction, Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

These cakes are no lie.

I have projects to tackle and a presentation to finish up for tomorrow, so I’ll just hand over the cake and get back to work:

First, my brother Nick’s second Star Wars birthday cake – the sequel to this one, and, in true SW tradition, you’ll notice it comes three years later:

Give in to your sugar rush, Luke.

Just LOOKING at all that icing makes me hyper.

Next on the dessert cart is this cake, which I mention briefly in Collect All 21 as the only one I ever got which came close to making me as giddy as my 1978 Star Wars cake:

Nostalgia, cake-ified.

Cars, cartoon and cake. Trifecta.

Yes, it’s goofy, but this picture just unleashes a torrent of memories for several reasons.

First, it’s from my 1989 high school graduation, and I wrote a few essays last year looking at various aspects of why that year still holds meaning for me more than two decades later.

Second, that’s me behind the wheel of my Dad’s 1982 Corvette, and right this second I realize how surpisingly easy it is to remember exactly how it felt to settle into that driver’s seat, and what the car smelled like and how it felt when the engine revved, and the grip of the steering wheel. I’m glad I haven’t lost that. The two-tone-gray paint scheme on the cake is even accurate, and I’ll forgive the error of the cartoon ‘Vette being a full convertible. I can appreciate the need for artistic license, after all, especially in this case, because –

third, that’s a cartoon drawn by my old buddy Transformers / G.I. Joe / Gumbo creator extraordinaire Aaron Archer, back when he was still in high school. I’m pretty sure this photo is one of just two surviving Archer “portraits” of teenage me.

May 14, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, eighties, Film, Food and Drink, geek, Ohio | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Star Wars nostalgiarchaeology – delicious find!

So I’m waiting for the primer on the walls to dry, and I’m looking for a little bit of flashback to post, and I happen upon … this:

Yub Nub! Icecreamandfudgenub!

Happy 7th Birthday, Nicky! (click for larger versions)

My friends, if my analysis is correct … that is an EWOK on that ice cream cake.

Here’s a zoomed shot:

Let 'em eat cake. And then they can topple a highly superior army.

Short help's better than no help, but ice cream cake beats all.

Now, I remember Nick’s Return of the Jedi Throne Room Duel cake, but this one had completely eluded memory. If I had to guess, I’d figure this was in the Dairy Queen adjacent to the Gold Circle department store on Everhard Road in Canton, in the same shopping center as the four-house movie theater and the Funway Freeway arcade where Aaron and I fought Golden Axe to the death.

Given the amount of time and energy I’ve spent digging up pretty much every corner of my Star Wars Memory Yard, it’s fun to find something like this.

May 8, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, eighties, Family history, geek, science fiction | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Harry Potter and the Catoblepas of Anticipation

A few weeks back, I had to log off the computer and go downstairs to deliver some news to my daughter.

“Well,” I said, “I tried to get us tickets to the 12:01 a.m. showing of Half-Blood Prince – and it was sold out.”

I couldn’t bear to let the look of disappointment and shock sit on her face too long before adding “So I got us tickets to the 12:02.”

So, ten-odd hours from now, we’ll be gearing up for the midnight(ish) premiere of the sixth Harry Potter movie. I’m excited, but even though I love the movies, the anticpation is more about the opening night experience. I realized over the weekend that while I’ve seen my share of opening night movies – seeing Return of the Jedi (archived on an old Field’s Edge page) the day it was released remains my all-time favorite cinematic memory – I don’t think I’ve ever gone to one of these overnight shows, so it will be a first for both of us.

Double-checking the ticket confirmation online yesterday, I noticed there are now five just-after-midnight showings at the theatre we’re visiting, and they’re all sold out, which should make for a pretty buzzy atmosphere.

July 14, 2009 Posted by | 1980s, Books, Current Affairs, Fiction, Film, geek | , , , , , | 2 Comments


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