Monday, July 31, 2006


In the early summer of 1982, my family and I traveled to Waterloo, Iowa to visit our cousins. We stayed there for several days. While visiting, I noticed in the local newspaper that a special sneak preview of an upcoming movie was going to be showing at the Crossroads theatres.

The man who directed this movie had also directed my favorite movie of 1981. In addition, it featured music by the same composer as my '81 fave (as well as my '80 fave for that matter).

I nagged constantly to my mom that day to take us there to see it that night. She relented and so it was that me, my mom, 2 of my siblings, my aunt, and 2 of her kids all went to the theatre that night. I remember it was a sunny early evening as we waited in line with quite a few other people. There was excitement in the air. We didn't know much about the subject matter, only that it had some sci-fi elements to it.

The show started and we were all enraptured from start to finish. There was a roar from the audience when Elliott exclaimed, "It was nothin' like that, penis breath!" There was thunderous applause from the crowd when the credits rolled. We all knew we had seen something special. I remember seeing several women exiting the theatre that had tears in their eyes. As we headed out, ushers gave us all buttons that said, "I saw E.T.". On our way out to the car, my cousin put the button on his shirt. He then went up to some people in the parking lot, pointed to the button, shook his shoulders back and forth, and said, "I...saw...E.T!" I had just seen what would turn out to be my favorite movie of that year.

Several days later when we returned to Rollingstone, life continued as usual. But I remember thinking about the movie I had seen the prior week, thinking about how the whole world was going to love it (just as we did), that most people didn't know it yet, but that they were going to be witness to an extraordinary movie later that summer.

The movie opened nationally a week later and ended up being the top money maker of not only that year, but the top U.S. money maker of all-time (It finally relinquished its crown in 1997).

Here's the original theatrical poster for my favorite movie of 1982 (a black and white version of it was printed in Waterloo's paper the weekend of the sneak preview):

I ended up buying the movie's soundtrack a week or two after I saw the movie. Instead of record, I actually bought it on cassette (Yep, I was on the cutting edge. I remember my aunt saying that cassettes are so much better than records since they don't skip).

I saw "E.T." several times that summer, but not as many as 2 of my family members. My mom and youngest brother (who was almost 4 at that time) went to it practically every weekend that summer. They had it bad for the squishy guy.

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