Friday, October 21, 2011


I remember when my parents took me to see E.T., '80s sci-fi classic from Steven Spielberg.

The movie came out in June 1982, so this must have been mid to late late '82. I was a somewhat nerdy, awkward 12 years old loner, often in living in my own odd dreamy world. The fact that I was also an only child added to my solitary nature, I suppose. But I was quite close to my parents, although sometimes I even felt misunderstood by them as well, and this would occasionally lead to conflict in my teen years. But this memory was one of being close to them, and I treasure it now as I sit here writing about it.

We went to see the film at a small, one theater cinema in the downtown of our small home town. It was an old theater that had been there seemingly forever, and was still there in the '80s. It was in the very midst of the fan mania that developed over the film, and there was a long line that stretched around the entire front of the small theater and around the side to the parking lot out back.  

We took our place in line, and when we got inside the theater was packed to capacity, with every seat filled.  At that age, I was not yet used to going to see movies at the theater, so the whole thing was quite new to me. I remember we got some popcorn and Coke, and took our seats in the crowded theater. I also remember that in the midst of the movie, someone spilled a drink a row behind us. But I remember the experience fondly.

I remember the pleasure I got in seeing this beautiful film.  There was a tangible warmth about it, there were so many different details that seemed to shine through about the film. I remember the funny scene where E.T. inspires the young protagonist, Eliot, to come to the rescue of the frogs which were to be used during his school's science class, and he proceeds to cause havoc by freeing all of them in the midst of class. I also remember that my mother cried when E.T. briefly appeared to die, and I remember the joy that came when he miraculously revived and was alive.  

It felt like I was part of some wonderful phenomenon that all of America was participating in, and maybe beyond our borders to the world.  I somehow felt like I identified with the young protagonist Eliot, played by actor Henry Thomas. But then, didn't we all identify with young Eliot at that young age, befriending this wondrous being from another world.  


  1. ... on another note, I hated Reese's Pieces.
    Until ET.

  2. Joe- Yep, hard to believe, but nerdy describes me to some extent . . . I mean, not totally . . . freaky is in there too. LOL

    I do remember the Reeses pieces in the movie, and I think there was a subsequent commercial featuring E.T. Maybe this is a subject for a forthcoming post! But actually, when I think of the '80s, the candy that most comes to mind is Skittles.

  3. Thank you for sharing these wonderful memories. I remember seeing this film and being both creeped out by E.T.'s appearance but also feeling so sorry for him. I think that my mom cried a little during that scene too. My aunt actually made my mom a ceramic E.T. I wish that she had kept it.

    I can relate to feeling like a loner - I was the one on the playground reading a book and watching the other kids play games and talk. I do have a brother and we were close as kids but in high school it was like I didn't exist to him. We'd pass in the hallway and he wouldn't even say hi to me.

  4. They just don't make movies like this anymore. E.T. is in a class of it's own, for sure. I remember thinking he was pretty freaky looking when I was little, but in an endearing sort of way. His relationship with Eliot and Gertie was very sweet. :)

  5. LaraAnn and Shannon-

    There are so many wonderful memories attached to this movie for me. It was an important part of that era. And I think it also was part of a trend of sci-fi movies that sympathized with misfits, loners and outsiders. For example, also "The Goonies," and "Explorers," both from 1985. Its wonderful to have these films as memories from our youth.