Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

TMT: The Empire Strikes at the Crack of Dawn

This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. It was pointed out that today is a) not the end of the world, and b) the 31st anniversary for a film that should, and will, be spotlighted. Certainly, it’s worthy on its own for this. Let alone that the film was a sequel, which somehow surpassed the original in ways totally unexpected. One being that it caused me and mine to get up at some ungodly hour.

Han Solo: “Afraid I was gonna leave without giving you a goodbye kiss?”

Princess Leia: “I’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee.”

Han Solo: “I can arrange that. You could use a good kiss.”


The Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre:



May 27, 1980: What a difference three years make. Catching the first Star Wars film back in 1977 just up the street was almost breathtaking. Giddily so. What came after that, just a year later, definitely not. Few things prepare you, or mark you, better than this mystery. “Life in all her wonder.”1 You now know why I really hate surprises.

When the sequel to Star Wars finally arrived in this Presidential election year, which was a Wednesday in fact, it would take almost an entire week before I’d get to see the sequel to the American epic space opera. Since it was one of the most anticipated films… like ever… the studio and filmmakers did something heretofore unheard of. And fans as an entity bought into it without qualm.

The distributors had some of the designated flagship theaters run Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back on a 24-hour schedule here in Los Angeles. Round the clock. From opening day and all the way through the elongated Memorial Day weekend, there were showtimes galore. The pre-sales and lines were ridiculous, to say the least. So much so, I and my girlfriend at the time held off until almost the very end.

We, she-whose-name-is-not-to-be-uttered (or mentioned) and I were now living together. We’d awake at 4 AM the day after the Monday holiday. Dressing quickly (me for work), we arrived at the Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre a bare half-hour before the 5:30 AM screening. Like its sister cinema, the Chinese Theatre, this movie palace was famed for so many historic Hollywood premieres. A fitting location, if there ever was one.

You’ve have thought we’d be fairly alone that early in the AM. Far from it as the 2-something screening let out a large number of gobsmacked Star Wars wars. Some of them going right back to the box office to buy a ticket for the next showing, believe it or not. Afterward, the she I brought to this returned back to bed, while I delivered myself to work that Tuesday morning — a changed man.

Now waiting for the next three years to pass quickly.

The entire series can be found here. If you’re interested how it’s put together, click here.

  1. Paraphrasing singer-songwriter Michael Franks. 

10 Responses to “TMT: The Empire Strikes at the Crack of Dawn”

  1. Naomi Johnson

    I like this series. I remember the theater where I first saw TESB, and it no longer exists. I went there because it was the only theater in town that was showing the film in 70mm. This one is still my favorite of the Star Wars series.


    • le0pard13

      Yeah, TESB is one film that draws out people’s memories. That’s great you saw it in 70mm, Naomi. But, it’s too bad many of the grand movie halls continue to disappear. Thanks for putting up with me for downloading my cinematic remembrances ;-).


  2. Pop Culture Nerd

    You are hardcore, my friend, for getting up that early to see this. TESB is one of my favorite movies of all time but I saw it at a normal hour when most humans are awake.

    What a grand theater to see it in.


    • le0pard13

      Moi? Well… maybe a little ;-).

      But, if there ever was a movie to get up a o’dark thirty for, this was one of the few. Thanks, Elyse



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