One week to go and Christmas will be upon us.
Of course, for many people my age, the holiday of gift giving has arrived early with the release of the seventh Star Wars movie, “The Force Awakens.”
I know what some of you are thinking: What does this have to do with Pahrump, the town doesn’t even have a movie theater. Why is the editor of the Pahrump newspaper not writing about Pahrump issues?
A couple of reasons: It is the holiday season so I suggest it is time to take a break from all the contentiousness about wells, bulletin boards, recalls, elections and other issues facing the county. And secondly, if you aren’t going to see the new Star Wars, someone in your family or someone you know will be seeing it within the next few weeks.
While it is true that Pahrump doesn’t have a movie theater (a fact that was hard for me to believe when I first heard it), there will be many people from the town driving the 50 miles to AMC Town Square to feel the power of the force.
I don’t want to give the wrong impression about myself. I’m not a die-hard, wait-in-line, wear-a-costume, memorabilia-collecting fan who has watched the movies over and over through the decades. I’ve seen a few of them numerous times, but the others I’ve only seen once the entire way through. I don’t own any of the movies on DVD, BluRay, or whatever else the kids are using the watch movies on. Maybe the Hulu?
But it is hard to deny the cultural impact the films have had as a uniting event during the past four decades.
Who has seen Star Wars that doesn’t like Star Wars? It’s as American as apple pie and the Fourth of July. I won’t even get into all the geopolitical symbolism attached to the movies.
I remember being a 9-year-old kid when the first movie, or the fourth episode (whatever), was released. I don’t think I saw it during the summer because my family was not in touch with the latest cultural happenings in 1977.
According to a quick check of Wikipedia, the movie was released in late May. I believe that would be when I was in the third grade at Rocky Hill Elementary in Knoxville, Tennessee. I may be recreating the story in my mind, but I’d almost guarantee I spent the summer of ’77 blissfully unaware of the movie. Being raised by a university professor and homemaker, the television was always on Public Television. With no commercials, I probably only had my friend Steven Clark to tell me about the awesomeness of the galaxy far, far away.
The full impact of Star Wars probably didn’t hit the Knightly house until that fall when we returned to school and everyone was deep into something that I had no idea about. I’m sure my dad and mom were pestered into taking us over to the West Town Mall theater to see the movie.
I was soon in the backyard replacing our cowboys and Indians battles among the neighborhood kids with Star Wars. This included finger guns with “pew-pew” sounds emanating from our lips. I do remember light sabers not being the ones you bought in the store, but paper towel rolls taped to the end of a flashlight (us Knightlys were thrifty, resourceful folks). I remember having an action figure or two, but I’m sure they met their demise in some horrific backyard battle with my green army men.
I’m sure many people in my age range have similar stories about Star Wars against the backdrop of their childhood. And the franchise has stayed with us through the years, born anew this holiday season.
So instead of using this space today to talk about the water plan that has been tabled, or county revenues, or our new newspaper owners, or some other topic, I just want to focus on other things these next few weeks.
Until then, live long and prosper.
Wait, I think I got that one wrong.
Arnold M. Knightly is the editor of the Pahrump Valley Times. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @KnightlyGrind