An old friend of mine (from my Universal Studios Florida days) did something pretty damn cool today. He secured two tickets to
The Disney-MGM Disney’s Hollywood Studios so he could take his young son to all the Star Wars related attractions before going with the rest of the planet to see The Force Awakens tonight.
And didn’t tell the boy – until the last possible moment.
Since we are in the age of the Internet, he documented the reveal on his Instagram. You need to watch this:
Seriously. Don’t read any further. Watch this first: https://www.instagram.com/p/_ZNoFoJJUK/
If that doesn’t warm your heard then, well, you’re heartless.
Well played, Mr. Aiello.
Seeing this reminded me that my parents actually did something similar and the Croom household, too, is doing something silly along those lines today.
IN 1983, I lived in Tennessee. My parents both knew how important Star Wars was – so they let me know that my mom was going to pull me out of school (after half a day) to go to the very first afternoon screening on Return of the Jedi in our town. I was instructed to tell NO ONE at school since this was a secret.
I told everyone.
It was the worst kept secret in my elementary school and all of my friends were totally jealous. Life was awesome.
Early afternoon came about and I heard the principal call me to her office over the P.A. system in my classroom. My mother was there to pick me up for an “appointment.” I’m fairly certain the principal knew at the point – but there was no stopping it. Calling my mom out would have been a true Beverly Goldberg moment of “HOW DARE YOU” and the principal seemed to know that.
My mom drove me to the theater for the first screening in our small Tennessee town. The movie was scheduled around 3 PMish – so she and I got our tickets and were the first in line. Naturally, I met another kid my age there who’s mom did the same thing and we were fast temporary friends. Everyone in line was given a booklet with photos from the movie, and this boy and I speculated endlessly. We were certain that Yoda was flying the Millenium Falcon in one of the photos of the Death Star battle.
(We were wrong.)
When the doors opened, we agreed that we were going to sit in the front row. Center seats. We were going to SEE Return of the Jedi as large as we could. I remember being entranced. I remember the shock when Yoda confirmed that Luke’s father WAS Darth Vader. I remember exchanging the look of surprise with my movie buddy when Leia was revealed as a Skywalker.
We walked out of the theater to see a line wrapped around the building to buy tickets. My mom (and the other boy’s mom) grabbed us both, said good-byes, and covered our respective mouths to stop us from spilling all the story points with those in line out of sheer excitement.
I remember it all.
So again: well played, Michael Aiello. Your boy will have a solid memory for years to come.
IN 2015, my wife is skipping out of work at 2:00 PM. I’m shutting down my office at the same time and we will be driving to Orlando to join a group of friends who have rented a private movie theater for our 7:30 PM screening of The Force Awakens.
History repeats itself. My mom should be proud.
I didn’t get this excited about The Phantom Menace… but for some reason, this feels like it merits it. Please, JJ, don’t let me down.