On May 25, 1977, cinema as we know it was changed forever, when 20th Century Fox released a movie called Star Wars. Fans entering theaters that day didn't know this at the time, but they still came out in droves to see Star Wars on the big screen, as they would do in the years to come for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. A few years back, a fan released an audio recording from inside a theater where Star Wars was playing in 1977, which was later synced up to footage from the film. The end result offers fans rare audio inside one of the first ever Star Wars screenings back in 1977.
On May 25, 2013, a YouTube user named William Forsche uploaded a video that contained five minutes and 23 seconds of audio that he recorded from inside a 1977 screening of the very first Star Wars movie, A New Hope. That video also featured a montage of random Star Wars images, but they by no means matched up to the audio recorded in 1977. Then in 2015, another YouTube user named Homer Thompson, "re-edited the audio so the sound matched the picture." The result is a three-minute video that shows how fans reacted when Han Solo (Harrison Ford) swooped in to get Darth Vader off Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) tail, during the iconic Death Star trench dogfight.
This video also includes this particular theater's triumphant reaction when the Death Star explodes, after Luke Skywalker's "one in a million" shot to destroy the Death Star. It's possible that this video is resurfacing after a year and a half because the new Star Wars spin-off Rogue One: A Star Wars Story shows what lead up to that very weakness being built into the Death Star itself, which Luke exploited after the battle station plans were stolen by the heroes showcased in Rogue One. Then again, who knows why anything resurfaces after 18 months, but regardless, it's a rare glimpse into an audience seeing this galaxy far, far away for the first time.
Naturally, it isn't known what prompted William Forsche to record the audio, but he did add this was from his second screening of Star Wars, even noting the times during the five-minute video that his mother can be heard laughing along with her son and the rest of the audience. William Forsche adds that he can also be heard making laser beam noises at the end of the recording because, Star Wars got him, "all fired up!" That era also lacked the audio recording technology we have today, so it's worth noting that you can hear the actual audio tape squeaking as it runs through the tape player, on the original recording.
We have included both the 2:56 video of the original audio, synced up with footage from the original movie, and the original 5:23 recording with more bits of audio. Of course, it isn't known if there is any other theater audio recordings from any of the other millions of screenings of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, but perhaps this audio will inspire fans to dig out those old recordings, if they do in fact exist. It's possible that, many years from now, audio and/or video will surface featuring audiences reacting to Rogue One or The Force Awakens. Until then, take a look at these videos below for a blast from the past with audio from one of the first A New Hope screenings.