🌌 Weird Wednesdays: Remembering Star Wars in Stumptown

That’s no moon — it’s a Weird Wednesday article. 

And that means we’re getting weird with you today.

Every week, we celebrate elements of Portland’s wonderful weirdness in collaboration with Weird Portland United.

If you haven’t read any features in this series yet, you can find our archive of Weird Wednesdays here, featuring The Unipiper, the Portland Sleestak, Spencer Sprocket, Carlos the Rollerblader, Strawberry Pickle, and many more.

We are currently interviewing the board members of Weird Portland United (pssst — be sure to read our first interview with VP Michelle Jones here), but today we’re taking a quick breather to highlight the joy of National Star Wars Day (which was yesterday) and its sister celebration day, Revenge of the Fifth. We asked Portlanders to share their stories of seeing Star Wars for the first time, and they didn’t disappoint — you can read more about these cherished memories below.

Scroll on for more delightful weirdness — but “in a galaxy far, far away.”

Yesterday we asked Portlanders about their first time seeing Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope in 1977. And you came through with the memories! Although May the Fourth, erm, may be over, it’s still Weird Wednesday and Revenge of the Fifth, and only the most cynical of Siths wouldn’t want to read these — we don’t deal in absolutes here at Bridgeliner. 😉

The force is strong with this city, and you can find a shocking amount of Star Wars love all around Portland!

💞 There are the fine folks at Star Wars Oregon who frequent local events to bring the joy of this classic space odyssey to adults and kids alike throughout the Pacific Northwest.

🛍️ There’s also the Star Wars Store: This not-so wretched hive of swag and geekery was created by lovers of the saga in 1999 to house, collect, and sell vintage merch from the film series to fellow Jedis. The shop can transport its wares in less than 12 parsecs and delivers across the Portland metro area, the galaxy, and beyond.

🌃 And of course, there’s no forgetting about the President of Weird Portland United, Brian Kidd AKA The Unipiper, and his propensity to sport a Darth Vader mask when bringing the weirdness of PDX to its citizens. Also, if you want to dive into Portland nostalgia, this video will hit a type of way.

Without further ado, let’s prepare to make the jump to lightspeed and check out what you remember about seeing Star Wars for the first time. 

Portlanders reminisce on seeing Star Wars for the first time. (🎨: Bridgeliner illustration)

😮 “I was living in Bend when Star Wars came out. The movie didn’t come to our fair city on its national release day, but a couple weeks later it debuted at the Bend Tri-Cinemas, which was also opening for the first time. I had just graduated from high school a few days earlier and I went with several friends.  We waited in line for several hours, even though Star Wars was showing on all three screens. When we finally got to the entry, we were advised that the theater was almost full and the only remaining seats were in the front row.  We were given a choice of those seats or waiting another hour for the next showing on another screen.

“We chose to take the front row seats, which felt like they were just inches away from that giant screen.  Watching that movie with all the special effects was an amazing experience — especially when it was right in our face.  We had such a great time that we came back the next night for another viewing.” – Greg H. 

✨ “It was playing at the small theater in Estacada, the owner of the theater was quite a character and had the foresight to book it for many weeks. I went to see it and returned week after week fascinated by this movie so different from what else I had seen.” – Nancy H.

🎬 “(I was) in between jobs in 1977. I had been a sci-fi fan for years and had liked American Graffiti and THX 1138, so I knew about George Lucas’ work as a director. Hardly anyone was at the theatre west gate since this was before word of mouth brought the movie to the people’s attention. I loved the film. Didn’t go back for a long time since the crowds descended on the location (and it got busier). Still an enjoyable film.” – Sam B. 

💖 “I remember when the first Star Wars came out. I went with my family to watch it and we were blown away. I remember my father saying ‘Well, movies have made a giant leap forward.’ The special effects blew our minds, the music was epic and the worlds were so different from anything we had ever seen. I remember watching it multiple times and thinking, ‘how can I possibly wait for the next episode?’” – Suzanne V. 

🌌 “I was four-years-old when Star Wars came out in 1977. The biggest thing I remember, besides how utterly amazing the movie (especially Princess Leia!) was, is all the movie theater carpets. My dad took me almost every single weekend for that whole year, and well, at four I was pretty low to the ground still. So all those fabulous movie carpets became an integral part of my memories of Star Wars. And the nerdery didn’t end there, I’ve seen every single Star Wars movie with my dad since!” – Rachel B. 

To everyone who wrote in to share their memories — from the bottom of our hearts (and from one end of the galaxy to the other), thank you.

Thank you to our Bridgeliner Unabridged members. Stories like these are made possible with your membership and support.