Skip to main content

How We Played Star Wars In The 70's And 80's

Neil Baghurst takes us back to vintage days of the 70's and 80's and how we played Star Wars as a child.

The playground was filled with the chaotic and lively chatter of children knowing the last day of school had arrived.  The summer sun brushed through the clouds casting long shadows on a row of children standing on a pale gray gravel yard.  With military precision a group of children were lined up against a faded half way line.  Their attention directed to a swirling group of children running towards them, their arms out at their sides.  They were the X-wing fighters and the group on the line, I included, made up the death star defense.

As the X-wings hurtled forward, the first three kids in my line broke off, they were Ti-fighters and they flew spinning and screaming towards the swarm of X-wings. I was a lowly storm trooper and all I could do was to hold my line and toot out a blaster noise. As I helplessly watched the X-wing fighters skillfully side step the Ti-Fighters and make their way to the penalty spot which stood in for death stars reactor-ports. 

These were my first memories of Star Wars and none of us playing had actually seen the film yet, apart from snippets on TV, but this was enough to power our imaginations.  It was if Lucas had somehow managed to put the film in the food and water, it was everywhere. It was shortly after the end of school that my father took me to see the film. After coming out of the cinema my childhood DNA had a new chromosome called Star Wars.  When it came to making up games Star Wars was weather proof.  On summer days we could relive the battle of Endor (although no one would play an Ewoks), if we had snow we could recreate the battle of Hoth.  Our biggest argument was on who would play Han Solo and absolutely nobody wanted to be Obi-Wan, but we always use to find one strange kid who would play R2D2. On rainy days there were the toys ( AT AT was my fav) and of course the VHS tapes.

Each filmed seems to mirror my growth, as a 5 year old the first Star Wars had a sense of adventure and innocence, but my growing adolescence was sucker punched by the second and the playground was shocked by the rumor that Luke’s hand was cut off. But I was far more traumatized by Han Solo being carbon frozen. I repeated the act many times with my own Han Solo using the freezer and a tray of water.  With the cynicism of the sequels and much parodied Luke I’m your father, people forget what it was like to witness Empire for the first time. It was epic from beginning to end and the pacing of the final act with Luke and Vader has never been bettered in Cinema history. 

After Empire Jedi was almost cathartic, Star Wars had arched my childhood and my toy playing days were closing in, I think the Speeder bike was the last toy I bought, before ZX spectrum games took over.

For those who were not born into the Star Wars it’s hard to describe what it was like. In 1976 the top grossing film was Rocky and a bad remake of King Kong, clearly a man in a suit. For kids toys the best you could look forward to was an Airfix spitfire. But Star Wars created a tidal wave so big across popular culture it was as if the moon itself had crashed into the ocean.  But the key word to Star Wars was wonder and it fired everyone’s imagination. In 1997 the ripples were still strong and I remember like yesterday going with my brother to Cardiff to see the special edition of New Hope and reliving the destruction of the death star.

In 1977 Lucas found some stardust and with it he lit a fire that still burn’s brightly today,  and in around two years’ time I will be sitting in a darkened cinema with my then 7 year old son hoping it will warm his childhood just as much it did mine.

Writing for The Bearded Trio - Neil Baghurst.

I need your Star Wars memories for a book


Popular posts from this blog

Did Paul Freeman Accidentally Eat A Fly In Raiders of the Lost Ark?

The Famous Indiana Jones Fly In Belloq's Mouth Scene.  Did It Really Happen? I've always wondered if Paul Freeman unintentionally consumed a fly in this scene in  Raiders of the Lost Ark ?  It's the scene where Indiana Jones shouts down to Bellosh...I mean Belloq and threatens to blow up the ark.  Did a fly go in his mouth? I remember watching this scene back in the early eighties and my ten year old mind thought he definitely had a snack while filming.  I recall talking about 'flygate' in my school playground at the time and the general consensus with my friends was that Freeman definitely had a sneaky snack. Paul Freeman talks about the famous 'fly' scene in an interview with  and settled 'flygate:' This is a bit of a dicey question so don’t get too upset. (Laughs) A movie’s always got bloopers in it, some have a lot, and some only have three or four. And the most remarkable blooper was right before the opening of th

Star Wars VII Movie Poster - Every End Is A New Beginning

Star Wars VII Movie Poster Just saw this Star Wars VII movie poster on Kyle Newman's Facebook fee d.  The poster is by  Lyndon Berresford and Paul Bateman.  I am loving this.  Who do you think the two characters are?  Lando and Leia?  Han and Leia's children? Have you seen other Star Wars VII movie posters?  Let me know. Rob Wainfur @welshslider

Explaining That "Weird" Cut In Poltergeist. Read The Missing Scene

Why Is There A Strange Cut In The 1982 Horror Classic, Poltergeist? If you're a fan of the 1982 Horror classic, Poltergeist then you will be very familiar with that "weird" cut in the movie.  It's 32 minutes and 47 seconds in to the movie and the scene is where Diane is explaining the strange phenomenon that is happening in the kitchen.  First, she shows to Steve a chair scraping across the floor all on its own then she does the same with Carol Anne.  Steve leans up against the kitchen wall and is completely shocked at what just happened.  It's at this point Diane starts to explain the sensation of being pulled and then...A very abrupt cut.  One moment we are listening to Diane and suddenly it cuts to Diane and Steve at their next door neighbours door.  Why the sudden cut?  It's on the VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray and even the streaming versions.  Why does this awful and weird cut exist in the movie, Poltergeist?  Watch the clip below to see the cut: Well, the ans