This week's podcast discovery is Missing Frames, a show where the host is joined by guests who haven't seen a particular film (sometimes they'll have one guest who has seen it, one who hasn't), they have a short discussion beforehand, go away and watch the film then come back to discuss further. I'm currently listening to episode 74: Return of the Jedi which includes two guests, one has seen it, one hasn't and there's a brief discussion around the memories of those who did grow up with it and it triggered something in me so I felt compelled to write it down.
I've loved Star Wars for as long as I can remember and my first memory of it is Return of the Jedi. We had it on VHS tape recorded from the TV and for a number of years, it was the only Star Wars film I'd seen, or even knew existed!
If I were to guess, I'd place my earliest memories of Star Wars at around '88/'89. I remember the house we lived in and I most definitely remember going to a nursery/pre-school type place at a local church where not only did I meet two of my best friends, I remember random scenarios like the time where I wanted to wear just one glove like Luke Skywalker and was told I had to let my Mum take the glove home.
I watched that VHS tape over and over again. So much so, now some 34-ish years later, I have very clear memories of some of the adverts I used to sit through and even where the ad-breaks dropped. I still expect them to happen when I'm watching the film, it's that deeply ingrained in my head.
I remember loving watching the film but I can't imagine at 3 or 4 years old, I really had any comprehension of what was actually going on. I most certainly had no context around who the characters were or how they got to where they are at the start of the film. I don't really recall when I realised there was more than just this one film but I guess it must have been around '93 when the original Star Wars trilogy was released as a VHS boxset, the ones which featured an interview with George Lucas with Leonard Maltin before each film. I remember my brother getting that boxset and from that point on. I was obsessed. I would watch them all over and over again, including the interviews.
A few years later, the Special Editions dropped which spurred on the obsession for a few more years, then the prequels started coming out - the excitement of new Star Wars stories masked the fact the films were pretty terrible, at least for a little while.
As I've grown older, I've gravitated more towards The Empire Strikes Back as my favourite of the original trilogy, there's just a lot more going on in that film but Return of the Jedi still has the best Death Star run and the most emotional lightsaber fight of the series so it will always claim a spot in my heart. It's certainly claimed a spot in my permanent memory.