Science Fiction has been a part of my life for a long time. On December 31, 1979, my grandmother took me to the movie theater in downtown Liberty, NY to see a new movie that had come out ten days earlier. She’d had noticed how interested I had become in several 1950’s and 60’s science fiction movies (Planet of the Apes, Forbidden Planet, Colossus: The Forbin Project, etc.) and gotten me a late Christmas present – tickets to see The Black Hole. This was the official beginning of my love affair with Science Fiction.
Science Fiction ‘Like’ to Science Fiction ‘Love’
Eleven months later, on my eighth birthday, my neighbors invited me over to their home to give me a special birthday present. I entered their home and took my boots and coat off in the foyer – it was snowing pretty heavily that day and my grandmother bundled me up pretty good. They took me into their living room and told me to sit in the big comfy chair nearest their giant, floor model TV. I did as instructed and got comfortable. They brought me a bowl of popcorn and a glass of Cocoa Cola and took out this big, thin black box. It looked like a thick record album. Inside was a golden disc about the size of a 33 record.
“What’s that,” I asked?
Richard looked over at me, “It’s called a Laserdisc. It’s a new way to record and play movies.”
He slipped it into the Laserdisc player, stood back, and pressed play on the remote. I sat watching the black screen, the 20th Century Fox logo, and then it happened…
Science Fiction was in My Heart Now
For 2 hours I sat there with my eyes glued to the TV, eating popcorn and drinking Coke. I was hooked; I loved it! Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was now in a long-term relationship with Science Fiction! I asked them if I could watch it again and they said, “Yes.” They cooked me dinner – I think it was hot dogs, potato chips, and pork and beans – let me eat in the living room sitting on the floor at the coffee table and watch it again. When it was over it was after 7 pm and dark out. I only lived across the road so that wasn’t a problem. I hugged them and thanked them for everything and walked… No! I ran home.
When I got inside and undressed I could not stop talking to my grandparents about the movie. I went to bed dreaming of TIE Fighters and X-Wings, great space battles, and becoming a Jedi!
An on-going Love Affair
I think I saw Star Wars at their house on Laserdisc and on regular TV another one hundred times over the next ten years. When The Empire Strikes Back came out, it was about two weeks before I saw it, this time at the Mountain Drive-In Theater. What an experience that was!
Flight of the Navigator, The Explorers, D.A.R.R.Y.L., Battle beyond the Stars, The Final Countdown, Flash Gordon, Superman, Superman II, and Superman III, E.T., Star Trek TMP, Star Trek The Wrath of Khan, Tron (OMG TRON!), Krull (do you remember Krull?), Return of the Jedi, Buckaroo Banzai!, Dune!, and hundreds more kept me enthralled with Sci-Fi over the past 37 years.
She has me forever! Don’t tell my wife.
When did you first notice the alluring gaze of Science Fiction? I’d love to hear your story. Let me know in the comments…