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At Seventeen:

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

In the summer of 1980, Martin Gomez and I were waiting in line at the Murray Hill Theater in Manhattan to see the newly released movie The Empire Strikes Back. (It wasn't the very first day; the film had been out for three.) A writer and a cameraman from Starlog magazine made their way along the queue, interviewing people about their expectations for the picture. We weren't the first in line--that place went to Chi Chan, fifteen years old--but we were among the people the magazine staffers approached.

We talked a little about the event, and then accepted the reporter's card and her invitation to come back to the Starlog offices when the show was over and provide a "firsthand review."

In the magazine's offices, we were seated in a conference room with some other folks who had been standing in line with us, including retired schoolteacher Alice Gerend, projectionist Jerry Wetmore, and actor Jerry Orbach and his twelve-year-old son Chris, and discussed our reactions to the film. (My opinion of cliffhangers has not changed.) To our surprise and delight, we actually ended up in the magazine!


Starlog, August 1980

The interviewer's hair makes an appearance at the right side of the photo, which is why Martin looks as if he has a huge breast. We both sounded more intelligent while we were talking than we do in the truncated, edited transcript--honest. :)

Stuart Wohl, 6 3/4 years old, wins the prize for most astute comments, hands down: "It was a little scary. The sounds weren't real, I know, because sound can't travel in space. I really liked when they were fighting on that frozen planet and they swirled the rope around that big thing and caught it. I don't like Darth Vader because he's the bad guy. I don't like bad guys. I didn't want him on my shirt, really. I'd rather put Luke Skywalker on it, but they ran out at the store when I got there. I didn't like the way they did Princess Leia's hair. That wasn't so good. I liked how they did it in the first movie; they had smarter people who did her hair then. I won't see it again. Once is enough...."

I'm impressed. Wonder where he is now?



A Robocat production.


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The magic number is now 7264 . It started from zero again. Magic things do that sometimes.