GEORGE LUCAS' HOMETOWN NEWSPAPER COVERED TODAY BY SHOWING HOW IT COVERED THE ORIGINAL STAR WARS

It also happens to be my hometown newspaper 😎
  1. The header.
    And top headline is about a new shop opening in downtown Modesto where you can build and engineer and just all sorts of STEM goodness.
  2. Below the fold: "Bee's Star Wars coverage in 1977 offered a little foreshadowing"
  3. What it looked like in '77
  4. Highlights from today that highlighted '77:
    Written by Brian Clark of the Modesto Bee.
  5. 1) "in his review of the original 'Star Wars' about a week after it opened in May 1977, the Bee's movie critic, Fred Herman, gushed about the headed-for-history blockbuster written and directed by Modesto native George Lucas."
    "The plot. The talent. The special effects. The music. He loved it all."
  6. "In fact, in his final paragraph and in a bizarre, futuristic reference, he took a little shot at the man whose company would one day buy the rights to the Star Wars franchise at an eye-popping $4 billion."
    "On June 5, 1977, ...wrote: 'This delightful wonderland achieves what Walt Disney never could, total audience empathy. Laughter, applause, cheers, even nods of approval were obvious in the performance this writer attended and, it is reported, most other performances. I intend to see it again."
  7. "In another little twist, the day Herman's review was published, so too was his feature story on Lucas and the movie. Curiously, those two stories did not appear on Page A-1. They both started on Page C-5."
    "However, Lucas, Chewbacca and others made The Bee's cover in a photo with words directing readers to a special package inside. The other photo on The Bee's cover that day? Mickey Mouse in Disneyland, shaking the hand of a young Modesto boy who was suffering from a rare blood disorder."
  8. "As Disney releases its spin on Star Wars let's return to "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." And offer some slices of Modesto and the buzz surrounding the movie created by one of its own:"
  9. Modesto critic had to drive 90 miles to the Coronet Theater in San Francisco to see the movie a week after it opened. Modesto was scheduled to get the movie in "the third wave" of the release -reportedly in August.
    It actually opened in Modesto at the Briggsmore Theater in July, but not before moviegoers could see it in Stockton and Sacramento.
  10. The opening in Modesto was a fundraiser premiere for Memorial Hospital Foundation on July 1. There was an afternoon "lemonade matinee" for kids, which filled about half the theater the evening showing for adults, which included a "champagne party" afterward, was sold out. There were souvenir buttons, posters and comic books
    The next day, the movie opened to the general public.
  11. Lucas had been scheduled to be at the Modesto premiere -or at least advertised to make an appearance there-- but he and his then-wife, Marcia were delayed in Cincinnati.
    George Lucas' father, George Sr. read a telegram from Lucas to the audiences.
  12. The 524-seat Briggsmore generally had two evening showings on weekdays and fives showings on weekends.
    Movie times were 1pm, 3:16 pm, 5:32 pm, 7:48 pm, and 10:04pm.
  13. Modesto critic reported that in San Francisco moviegoers would remain in their seats after the film ended so they could watch it again.
  14. The Bee's big story on the movie and Lucas came with the headline: "Star War$" it began detailing the financial success, pointing out that most felt it would likely top. The then box office champ, "Jaws" and had surpassed the opening day grosses of The Sound of Music and Towering Inferno.
    In the end, the first Star Wars grossed $787 million, ranking third (The Phantom Menace is first) among the six that have raked in $4.4 billion.