Funny when you look back now at your summers as a teen in the 1970's you realize that you had more fun than you knew and at the movies you were witnessing showed a change in what Hollywood thought about summer as being a dead zone at the movies. We can only guess what prompted the change. Maybe it was because they knew we were brought up with more TV or perhaps because modern technology was busting out all over but whatever it was in the 70's the 'Summer Blockbuster' was really born.
Now for me I was spending my summer vacation afternoons at the Brewer Cinema 4 in the Brewer Shopping Center across the parking lot from Doug's Shop 'n Save. I can still see the lines going out the door. I wish I had a picture of the building as I recall it had a strange roof and a glass front. I'll have to ask our News Director, she was a ticket girl back then. So then, what were the movies that altered the way we thought about the world and future. Which ones did we see multiple times??
I'll go chronologically, here is my list:
This movie put out by Universals Pictures introduced me at the tender age of 13 to three of my favorite people, George Lucas, Harrison Ford and Richard Dreyfus.
This story of couple of high school grads spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college fueled my young imagination of my own senior year ahead. Plus, this movie obviously spawned 'Happy Days' which I was a fan of for years.
Another Universal gem that scared the pants off me at 15. This would also introduce me to a favorite director named Steven Spielberg who would make many of my lifetime favorite movies. This one of course about a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and a grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.
I can still see us lined up in front of the Brewer Cinema 4 for the 7 o'clock show. After we got home my friends and I decided to go swimming, in my folks pool mind you, and we were terrified. We swam from one end to the other in a little clump of teenagers. Funny, but to this day it made quite an impression.
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope 1977
I was 17 and my whole world was changing, why not the movies. I think this film by 20th century Fox and Lucas films propelled us all into a place we never dreamed of. Funny and exciting and from the off different. You see before Star Wars the opening credits did just that...run at the open. George had a different vision though and would pay the fine in advance so the movie would propel the viewer directly into the story with out a second wasted. In case you were raised under a box, this first Star Wars installment introduces Luke Skywalker who joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader. Between the visual images like we had never seen before and a score that will still give you chills it is no wonder it blew our minds.
The other thing introduced to us by Star Wars was promotional merchandising items up the wazoo, you may still have some. This alternate revenue stream would become a Hollywood staple and is still today.
Now at 18 the only musicals I had been subject to were 'Sound of Music' and' Fiddler On The Roof' which of course were brilliant. However, this Paramount musical that explored teen pregnancy, peer pressure and romance hit close to home in my teenage brain. Not since 'Beach Blanket Bingo', which was way before my time, had teenage angst been sung of and the music was awesome and coming across every radio in town. So as good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fell in love over the summer, it was new to me.
So I am out of High School and off to college and so were the movies. This film from Universal Pictures starred a young John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Kevin Bacon and Karen Allen to name just a few. Not much a joiner as a youth the whole fraternity thing was fascinating to me and what fun it was watching Dean Vernon Wormer try to expel the entire Delta Tau Chi Fraternity. But be rest assured with John Belushi at the helm he didn't stand a chance. Yup, it warped my mind.