Thursday, March 03, 2011


Nothing to do with anything happening today but I thought I'd just take a short trip down memory lane. Because.

Nineteen seventy-seven was the Queen's Silver Jubilee year, the year when the first personal computer - and the Atari 2600, my first (and probably still the "best") video games console - were introduced, the year when the comic 2000AD started, the year when I won a family bet on the Grand National (Red Rum won for the third time), and apparently the year when snow fell in Miami for the only time in its history. :-/

But it was also a good year for films.

I turned 7 years old in 1977 and, up until then, I don't really remember going to see films at the cinema. I'm sure I had done before then but, given the fact that my sister is 3 years younger than me, I doubt we had been going for long. And when we did we would have gone only to see Disney animations and the like.

But in 1977 quite a few big films came out and these are the first I remember (I realise I may have seen some, or all, of these films in 1978 and not '77 because it took a few months for them to appear in UK cinemas).

Star Wars: A New Hope was probably the biggest of these. I think it is the earliest space-based film I saw and certainly the most fondly remembered. For years after I would collect several hundred Star Wars figures and toys whilst desperately looking forward to the sequels (I had to wait an even longer time to see the slightly disappointing prequels). The one thing I remember - mainly because my Dad would always reminds us - is that just as the film was starting my sister needed to go to the toilet. I remained behind and so, for many years, I was the only one in my family to see that spectacular opening sequence.

I also remember being slightly disturbed and somewhat bemused by Close Encounters of the Third Kind. To be honest, it's not really a film for young kids. I think I liked it, especially the iconic (and colourful) musical greeting, and I certainly remember it. For years after I would shape my mashed potato into a flat-topped mountain.

Those two films, together with Superman a year later (a film I neck-achingly watched whilst sitting right at the front of the cinema. Watch out for that falling helicopter!), kick started the sci-fi movie craze with both me and the general cinema-going public.

Then there was Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger which was probably my introduction to Harryhausen's wonderful stop-motion effects. At heart, I've actually always been a bigger fan of fantasy than sci-fi, and I like this genre more than my Dad, so this was a great treat for me. A pity then that fantasy films didn't get the same interest that sci-fi films did - not until Lord of the Rings anyway.

Of course, there were some kids films I enjoyed during this year - such as Pete's Dragon and the Rescuers (the latter, together with the aforementioned Superman, may have been one of only two or three films I saw with my Mum). The Spy Who Loved Me may also have been the first Bond movie I saw, though I probably only watched that when it appeared on TV years later.

All in all, 1977 was certainly an interesting year.

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