Read an Excerpt
by Steve Sansweet
"Frankly my dear, I don"t give a damn!"
"Here's looking at you, kid."
"The Force will be with you . . . always."
When a line from a film goes from screen to memory without pausing long enough to become a cliche, that's more than entertainment--that's the very essence of popular culture. And pop culture is one of the few things these days that provides us all at least a little shared identity. It makes the punch line of a joke funny, for example, without going through a laborious explanation. Thus, when a brown-robed and hooded actor with a white beard
materializes on Saturday Night Live next to guest host Luke Perry, you start to snicker even before the inevitable, "Use the Force, Luke!"
The Star Wars Generation--those of us who grew up or matured with Star Wars on the brain--took great delight in the dialogue: the funny lines and the philosophical ones. In fact, these phrases keep surfacing under the most unlikely of circumstances: Walking with a friend to my car in a dark parking lot on the wrong side of town one evening, I couldn"t help muttering, "I have a bad feeling about this." Or, searching for inspiration at the keyboard, I've been known to quietly mouth, "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."
It's not only our generation. A toy company president I know insists that we've passed on a "Star Wars gene" to the next generation. Fed by constantly rewound videos, youngsters across the world mimic the breathy tones of Darth Vader or the convoluted speech patterns of Yoda when they borrow a quote from the screen.
This book is an attempt to release at least some of the dialoguefrom the place where it's been locked up in my brain, thanks to George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, and Leigh Brackett. We've managed to fit in just about all of my favorites, except perhaps Han Solo's words of comfort to a wounded but recovering Luke Skywalker (". . . you look strong enough to
pull the ears off a gundark") and Wedge Antilles's exclamation upon first seeing the Death Star ("Look at the size of that thing!").
Nope. I guess we got those, too.