Thursday, 30 October 2014

Star Wars Letraset transfers: The fun that never wore off

There's the rub: the front of the first Star Wars set from
Letraset Action Transfers, 'Battle at Mos Eisley'

Letraset.  If you're a first generation Star Wars fan, you might be tempted to say "Now that's a name I haven't heard in a long time ... a long time."

But it's a brand name that, for British fans in 1977-78, meant Star Wars – as surely as did the names Del Ray or Kenner in the US or Sphere and Palitoy in the UK.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Looking back at Star Wars Weekly – issue 7

Trapped in the Tentacles of Doom:
the cover of Star Wars Weekly issue 7

My occasional, issue-by-issue look at the UK's Star Wars Weekly (yes, I'm still doing that) reaches issue 7  the edition which introduced us to Star Wars fandom.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Laughing at Star Wars: the Top 10 funniest jokes in the original movie - part two

In part one of this post, I argued that people often forget something important about Star Wars: It was funny.   

It wasn't a comedy, and it never made the mistake of knowingly sending up the genre, but a few well-judged jokes helped make the film the bright and lively experience that it was.

For part two, here is the rest of my chronological list of the film's best comic moments.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Laughing at Star Wars: the Top 10 funniest jokes in the original movie - part one

Big laughs: the original Star Wars had more jokes than people think

Here's a fact that's sometimes forgotten about the original Star Wars: It had some very good jokes.

I don't just mean in-jokes, i.e. references to other films and literature that made critics and movie buffs feel clever when they spotted them.  (I wrote about some of those references here.) No, I mean genuine jokes which prompted audiences to laugh out loud.  I remember some of the laughter quite vividly from that first viewing all those years ago.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Star Wars comes home: The history of the 1977 film on VHS and Beta

Star Wars at home: the original US
VHS version from 1982

The history of Star Wars on home entertainment formats is long and complicated, but for a long time it could be boiled down to one simple rule:

Every time you bought the film in what you confidently believed to be the ultimate, definitive edition, Lucasfilm would release another one.

That was the rule of thumb for a long time, but later it became clear that a rider had been added, which was this:

While George Lucas was happy to release all kinds of enhanced deluxe versions of the film, he was never again going to release the movie as seen by the original audiences in 1977-78.