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"You're all clear, kid..."

This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the opening of Star Wars. Okay, now that there are five other movies, you have to tack on Episode IV: A New Hope to the end of it. But in 1977, it was just "Starwars," mashed together into one word by my excitable four-year-old brain.

I saw Star Wars sometime in the summer of 1977, and yes, I remember it. It's the first movie I remember seeing, actually. It was at the Hi-Lite 30 drive-in theatre at the intersection of US 30 and Douglas Road in Aurora, IL. Me and my dad went; Mom wasn't interested and Zach was still a baby. SO Dad and I sat, in his beige '69 Beetle, munching popcorn and listening to the sounds of blaster fire and R2-D2's odd whistles emanate from the speaker hanging in the window.

You can complain about Jar-Jar all you want. You can whine about "Mannequin Skywalker" and midi-chlorian MacGuffins. You can even rag on Ewoks, for all I care. None of that will ever wipe the memory of the Millennium Falcon's first jump to hyperspace from my mind, or the white-knuckle excitement of that ride through the trench to destroy the Death Star.

And despite Lucas's best efforts to ruin the story in later years, despite it being rammed down the culture's throat for three decades, that first film actually holds up pretty well. As does Empire. We still quote it, we still like to watch it, and we still clamor for more.

So let's have a big thumbs-up for Lucas letting us play with it a little. That's what I call fair use, and you'd better believe I'll be there mashing up this bit of my childhood. Thanks for the memories, George.

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