recess radio program

05/12/05
Star Wars II Had Landed
    by Stephanie Sullivan Lytle

Brief Sound Clip:

A long time ago "in a galaxy far, far away" specifically the '70's, my most prized possession was an autographed photo of Princess Leia, complements of the Star Wars Kids Fan Club, signed "Galactically yours, Carrie Fisher." I carried a Star Wars lunchbox to school, slept in Princess Leia pj's, soaked in R2D2 bubble bath and then dried off with the Star Wars gang on my towel. I gulped my chocolate milk out of Burger King collector's cups, spent my afternoons playing Star Wars with my older brother (whining if I couldn't be the good guys because I was secretly in love with Chewbacca), and pumped out Skywalker Shrinky Dinks in my off-time. Although my bedspread and canopy boasted pink and red Holly Hobbies, the sheets and pillowcases underneath spoke of my true love, light saber duels, good versus evil, sketchy bounty hunters, and galactic romance. At Halloween I dressed up routinely as one of my Rebel friends: Princess Leia, then R2D2, and finally Han Solo. My brother was Darth Vader annually.

We were not unique. As part of the Star Wars generation, receiving action figures and underoos under the Christmas tree for years, our numbers are infinite. We are older now; teachers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, veterinarians-you would never recognize us, unless, perhaps, you noticed that little Star Wars quote-of-the-day calendar, or the random flash of a Darth Vader screensaver, a faded Yoda mug lurking in the corner, or maybe the occasional Google search at starwars.com. But what is unrepeatably unique about the Star Wars phenomenon is the way it became woven into our lives. Star Wars references are so commonplace in American culture today that even the GRE study guide likens one strategy of guesstimating an answer with using "the Force." With over seven thousand pages on the official website, and over 13 million unofficial websites devoted to the Star Wars Saga in the English language alone, its global impact is startling.

The hoopla broke loose in 1977 with the release of Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope, which broke all previous box office records, single-handedly transporting the genre of science fiction to the masses. All critics agree Star Wars redefined the marriage of special effects, light, and sound on the silver screen-and took home the Oscars to prove it. To date, the man who gave birth to Star Wars-George Lucas-has collected 16 Oscars. Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith premieres today in ten cities, and then nationwide, and around the globe, one week from today.

Copyright 2005 Stephanie Sullivan Lytle

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Wednesday, 27-Apr-2005 13:57:23 EDT


"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."