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Down Memory Lane #theempirestrikesback

Only a few more months until it's been 35 years since my first visit to London. I didn't go there to visit the tourist attractions, though I must admit that Madam Tussaud's had been high on my list.

Remember folks: this was a long time ago...

The main reason for my visit was that I just needed to see the follow-up to Star Wars, that funny little film by bearded director Lucas , the film that surprised me so much, three years before. However, the film wasn't to be released in The Netherlands until Christmas of 1980. America was out of the question (budget-wise), so London was the choice that came to mind, since waiting another 5 months was out-of-the-question.

II was accompanied by a colleague who had been to London a few months earlier and had missed the premiere by a few days.

So the first thing on our agenda for day number 2 (we arrived in the evening of day 1) was finding THE cinema, not just A cinema: Odeon Leicester Square, and on the outside only it looked amazing to me (sorry for my repetitive word choice). Even though the film had already been showing for some two months now, there was still a line of attendees in front of the theater.

That first matinee showing we attended wouldn't be the last, during our short (5-day) stay in London. The theater itself, the film, the image and sound (70 mm, Dolby 6-track), it all added to the ultimate experience for me (and many more), especially since I myself had, only a few months before, started working in a cinema myself (first as an usher, later as a projectionist). The whole experience hardened me in my nerdism (back then I was just  called film-crazy) and that never went away, although now I must admit, my peak must have lain somewhere around 1993 when co-bearded director Spielberg made that film  about animals that had gone extinct, but that's an entirely different story. Just to prove I was really there in London in 1980, one more pic.

And all of this just came to my mind, earlier today, when I was peeking through my older magazines from the eighties...

And for those who want to know: KUIFJE is the name given to TIN TIN in Holland and Belgium, and it was also the title of a comics magazine, that, from time to time, paid attention to film.





  1. Hello there, loved reading your article on the visit to London's West end in july 1980.
    I too was there (and have a couple of pictures) but earlier. Actually i was there outside for the Royal Premiere on Tue 20/5/1980 followed by a first screening on Wed 21/5 at 12noon. I managed to get advance tickets via the SW Fan Club. Needless to say it was a fantastic experience.


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