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Pics from 5-25-77... Set the way back machine to those thrilling days of yesteryear!

Hey folks, Harry here with pics from a test shoot for Patrick Read Johnson's "5-25-77" which is about the opening day of MARCH OR DIE, a really wonderful film that was buried at the box office by a lil film called STAR WARS. Um... actually, no, this is about STAR WARS... actually it is more about Patrick Read Johnson and what his particularly amazing right place right time life association with STAR WARS was like... and then what happened on 5-25-77. Here ya go...

Hey Harry,

This past Thursday, I had the pleasure of working as an assistant cameraman shooting some early footage for the long talked-about "5-25-77" by writer-director Patrick Read Johnson. The shoot took place on location outside of the Genesee Theater in Waukegan, Illinois. During the shoot I was able to take some still photos on my own, a few of which I've attached to this email. These pics were taken for myself and are not "official" in any way. Enjoy.


James Zahn

Here's Patrick Read Johnson - rabid fanboy - and professional director boy! Right here he's discussing a haircut that looks a bit too 1978ish, ya know what I mean!

What's a period film without groovy vehicles?

Ok, that one guy in the middle... He became all you pathetic born after Jedi bastards' dad and your mom's that blonde. This was who your parents were before they forgot their roots, shat you out and decided to lose that dream. OR maybe they held onto that dream, hate the new Star Wars movies and secretly loathe you for loving them. Or maybe... Maybe you were raised right and they taught you to hate Ewoks like a good geek should! And while they let you know that Star Trek is in fact inferior to Star Wars, they do hold that STAR TREK II is the exception and does indeed rule all.

Readers Talkback
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  • July 16, 2002, 8:42 a.m. CST

    This looks so sweet!

    by allaboutduncan

    I was barely three when this all happened, yet somehow I remember talking all of my parents friends into taking me to see the film at least once each. All told I saw it 7 or 8 times in the theater when originally released. Pretty good for a 3-year old.

  • July 16, 2002, 8:45 a.m. CST


    by TheEwokThatDied

    Is this the film about the guy who has to get his brother - cousin - adopted African Sally Struthers famine child - to see Star Wars before the cancer gets him?

  • July 16, 2002, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Ah, those pictures of people in line for a movie sure bring me b

    by Wee Willie

    Seriously though, did you know Garry Kurtz was involved in this little gem?

  • July 16, 2002, 8:51 a.m. CST

    Those cars look too cool for the late 70's.

    by qualopec

    Weren't American cars crappy and boring by the late 70's? Those cars look more 50's-ish to me. Maybe the director can go back and digitally change the cars in the special edition 20 years from now... heh. Q

  • July 16, 2002, 8:53 a.m. CST

    On a serious note...

    by Hobbitastic

    it's about time someone thought to give geeks their very own "American Graffiti." I guess it's a bit redundant to say that I'll be there opening day since I visit this website regularly.

  • July 16, 2002, 8:55 a.m. CST

    77 or 57?

    by BurlIvesLeftNut

    I don't remember cars like that from my youth except re-runs of HAPPY DAYS and DRAGNET.

  • July 16, 2002, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Not the same anymore

    by durhay

    I remember standing outside in a line that stretched around the corner to see Empire in a single screen theatre built back in the 30s. The sun was setting and the marquee was lit up. Nowadays you buy your ticket in advance and the theatre is a nondescript box. Also, I love how in period movies only mint condition cars are used. You never see any dented or rusted out cars. Or ones with bumper stickers.

  • July 16, 2002, 9:13 a.m. CST


    by Bunger

  • July 16, 2002, 9:21 a.m. CST

    So I downloaded part of Episode2...

    by bc1970

    and watching this stuff for the first time , it actually looked more like the 70's movies: bleached out and grainy. Too bad it wasn't as much fun as older ones. My kids don't like Star Wars, old or new. I'm not sure many kids do.

  • July 16, 2002, 9:29 a.m. CST

    cars and authenticity

    by bigbill

    this movie is doomed! As noted the cars look wrong for '77. In 77 we drove crappy 72 fords and chevies.... Also where are the beat up VW bugs? Another problem they have is even if this looks spot on for say Bakersfield, everybody 35 or older not from Bakersfield will look at it and say,"That's not what 77 looked like!" Nonetheless, I'm looking forwadr to this.

  • July 16, 2002, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Harry, really now...

    by Zarles

    What the hell does this mean? "He became all you pathetic born after Jedi bastards' dad and your mom's that blonde." The mom part I understand, but the beginning of it is geek to me...

  • July 16, 2002, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Clothing and Hair Styles...

    by Kid Z

    ...are all wrong for the late 1970's. These folks look more like extras who were just told to "dress 70's" and they wore "late 90's-70's retro" instead, not having authentic 70's togs in their wardrobes. And where are all the guys and gals with "feathered" hair?

  • July 16, 2002, 10:27 a.m. CST

    The cars...

    by Hyde01

    I don't know- those cars are probably pretty accurate. It depends on where you were. Let's see, I was 9 that summer, and my oldest brother had a cherry '65 Mustang (with an 8-track deck) and my middle brother had the first of his many Chevelles. A '70, if I remember. A friend's father had a Mach 1 in this ugly green you saw a lot then. So that GTO's not out of place, and you could still see some mid-60s family sedans and whatnot on the road. In fact, a lot of guys at my brothers' high school were still driving late '50s/early-to-mid 60's cars their dads gave them. What I'd like to see, though, is a '73 Caprice Classic, preferably in burgundy. That's the massive ride that got me to and from the theater 12 times that summer.

  • July 16, 2002, 10:29 a.m. CST

    sharp as nails

    by reni

    The script for this is great. It's full on Last Picture Show meets American Graffiti. Well done Moon, glad to see it getting made at last.

  • July 16, 2002, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Next stop - post-moderism....

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    ....The whole movie about a movie thing - not quite as big a conundrum when its movies about making movies, or movies about releasing movies. But movies about movies that are already made and being shown in theatres - "movies about movies opening" I believe is the genre - that tickles my post-modern bone (its near the inner elbow, or "krelbow"). Now, if there's a documentary about this it would be the movie about the making of a movie about a movie. Ooops, I dropped my dignity.

  • July 16, 2002, 10:32 a.m. CST

    The clothes...

    by Hyde01

    The chick with the pigtails looks pretty true to the time, but the tie-dye guy with the wire-frame glasses? Nope. While he looks a little like a smaller version of my middle brother (who was a junior in high school in 1977), the hair should be parted more in the middle, and those glasses should be really ugly, plastic-frame models. Where are the white guys with afros? "Dazed and Confused" had a more accurate take on the mid-to-late 70s look... and it took place a mere year before the event depicted in this movie.

  • July 16, 2002, 11:13 a.m. CST

    For feck's sake

    by Pepper Sinclaire

    Will it be filled with "wacky" jokes like "They'll never top this movie!" or "I wonder if Darth Vader is Luke's dad?" "Shut up! That will never happen!"? Hope not. I like Star Wars but I don't think I'm enough of a geek to see something about people seeing it. Then again, I watched Scooby Doo of my own free will, so maybe I'll shut my mouth... P$

  • July 16, 2002, 12:21 p.m. CST

    The Real Problem With the Cars

    by monickels

    As is usual with period films set somewhere in the Automobile Age, the problem with the cars is that there are no beaters. No rust-heaps, no dents, no scratches, no "Wash Me" written on dust-covered windows, no mud on the fenders, no mis-matched tires, no missing hubcaps. Where are the everyday cars? The fixer-uppers? The about-to-die cast-offs driven by 16-year-olds without enough money for something more cherry?

  • July 16, 2002, 12:21 p.m. CST

    How many folks here were actually alive during the 70's to s

    by matrix_sux

    I don't know about you but what is so hard to accept about cars from previous decades still being out on the road? Next time you are on the highway feel free to look around and that notion would quickly be dispelled. Hell I still have my first car from '85. The vehicles that should be in this movie are: Ford Galaxy 500/LTD, those crappy VW vans, Econoline vans, Ford Mustang Mach 1, a Trans-Am with the removable roof panes (what is the exact term?) and the stardestroyer like Fleetwood Cadillac. And yes the feathered hair styles were popular after Charlies Angels came out. And folks, these are only a handful of pics from the movie, once we see the finished product then we can tear it apart :)

  • July 16, 2002, 12:34 p.m. CST


    by daveynix

    Harry - Please stop talking on your website - your ramblings have gone waaaaay past irritating. Let Moriarty take over or do something about your grammer!! Jeeeesus!

  • July 16, 2002, 1:06 p.m. CST

    info on pics

    by lesterlong22

    these pictures were taken at Waukegan's annual "scoop the loop" where they close off a few city blocks in downtown Waukegan and people with old cars and whatnot can pay an entrance fee and drive around town parading their classic cars. Back in the 70's scoop the loop was done basically every weekend by people with any sort of car, and it wasn't regulated by the city like it is now. There was something like 30,000 people in downtown waukegan for this years scoop the loop.

  • July 16, 2002, 1:08 p.m. CST


    by Malcolm_Brass

    I was 16 back in that year and those pix look nothing like it! Shit, I walked into STAR WARS a month after it was released and there were no lines at all. Those pix look like someone's fond memory of that time, not reality.

  • July 16, 2002, 1:37 p.m. CST

    Lines, like the cars...

    by Hyde01

    depend on where you were. When Fox re-released "Star Wars" in 1997, they talked to a number of celebrities who remembered long lines, and not being able to get in... in New York and Los Angeles. There may have been similar scenes elsewhere. What I remember is waiting a month to see it, hardly hearing much about the movie at all prior to that (but I may have had other priorities, like "Planet of the Apes" or GI Joe)- getting right into a matinee (for free, thanks to a family friend) and experiencing "Star Wars" for the first time in a nearly empty theater on an afternoon in the middle of the week. So lines, no lines, muscle cars, junk cars... where ever you were, that's the way you remember it.

  • July 16, 2002, 2:01 p.m. CST


    by drjones

    yeahh...even for someone like me who`s 16! that`s a great project. wonderful! though i`m a bit confused because i can

  • July 16, 2002, 2:14 p.m. CST

    1977? I don't think so!

    by Poetamelie

    The cars are wrong! I was 17 then and have a pretty vivid memory of those days. Throw in some more Toyotas and a Honeybee!

  • July 16, 2002, 2:28 p.m. CST

    I remember seeing it in the RKO Fordham in the Bronx. To think t

    by matrix_sux

    I remember that rainy ass day too. The old RKO had several movies playing, including Star Wars and we almost went to see Orca instead. If it weren't for that wild eyed guy who convinced us to see Star Wars (with a glazed look, he said he seen it 6 times, unreal in those days :) ) I don't know what I might of missed.

  • July 16, 2002, 3:05 p.m. CST

    I give up...

    by Hyde01

    I now accept the majority view that any cinematic depiction of past events differing from the way I remember them in my specific geographic location renders said depiction completely wrong, despite any arguments or evidence to the contrary.

  • July 16, 2002, 3:41 p.m. CST

    cars at the movie when I went

    by fun guy

    I remember the car my parents took me to see star wars in for the first time. it was a Galaxie 500 from the early seventies. We went to the drive-in theatre in Ottumwa, Iowa. (it was one of the last drive-ins in operation and is closed now.) There was a line of cars waiting to get into the drive-in and my dad's car overheated. I remember there was a Volkswagen bug in front of us. The car died and we couldn't go to the movie that night. The next day my grandma took us at about 9 in the morning and we took a picnic. We went in my grandpa's International Scout. There were already cars there waiting when we got there and I remember it quite well. They didn't look like the cars in these photos.

  • July 16, 2002, 3:43 p.m. CST

    if they can't get 1977 right ..

    by durhay

    how do we know they can get 1931 right? Or 1867? Yeesh.

  • July 16, 2002, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Jesus, Harry....

    by RobinP

    ...that last paragraph of yours sounds like a bitter anti-geek rant. Say it ain't so !

  • July 16, 2002, 4:55 p.m. CST

    Does anyone understand a single word of what that moron Harry sa

    by Valdemar

    Someone's gotta put this asswipe out to pasture... PERMANENTLY!

  • July 16, 2002, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Okay, I was only five when 'Star Wars' came out, and I&#

    by Billy Talent

    I seem to remember that cars didn't look like that back then. Shouldn't they be driving Gremlins or Pintos or something like that? Is there a sub plot on the making of 'American Graffiti'? I don't get it.

  • July 16, 2002, 5:34 p.m. CST

    Period cars outta time!

    by RobinP

    I'm no authority but those look like early 60s cars to me, not late 70s. Damn, I hate it when they don't get period cars right. The major hair up my ass on this is the opening of the first Austin Powers when he's supposed to be in 60s London.....and there's a mustard colored early 70s Aston Martin DBS plainly to be seen in the background. (Sad, I know...but it bugs me EVERY time I watch the tape.)

  • July 16, 2002, 6:27 p.m. CST

    Downtown Waukegan authenticity

    by travisc

    As another poster stated, seeing pristine 50's and 60's cars was pretty common on 70's Saturday nights during "Scoop the Loop". However, this would not have been the case on 5-25-77, as it was a Wednesday. Also, I don't think the Genesee has ever looked that good, especially not in the 70's I remember.

  • July 16, 2002, 7:12 p.m. CST

    1977....Year of the mullet?

    by Doom II

    Nobody had a mullet back then. The style that men were most often wearing (and this includes cops even) was hair parted down the middle or an extreme part on the side. Sideburns were the norm along with hair that just touched your back collar. I was only 8 when Star Wars came out, but I have dozens of photos of my dad, friends and family from that time and the styles were pretty basic for the "conservative" set. I also have the "Making Of Star Wars", hosted by C-3PO & R2-D2 on tape and it SHOWS the premiere. That one extra in the pic has a 1986 high school mullet. Those cars are a different story.

  • July 16, 2002, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Waukegan Sucks

    by countlove

    wow.. I have never seen that street so clean. Only in driving films made in the 70's could you see waukegan in its glory. Too bad at night that place is covered with drunks, whores, and crackheads. 80 percent of the town is on welfare. Though Ray Bradbuy was from waukegan.

  • July 16, 2002, 7:41 p.m. CST

    The truth behind the pictures...

    by Moonwatcher1

    Just wanted to clear up that the photos you've put up are not the result of our actual film shoot at all. The frames in question are from a TEST shoot done in front of the historic Genesee theater in downtown Waukegan, Illinois. For several days last week, during the city's annual "Scoop the Loop" classic car weekend, we decided to hold a open call for extras, actors, and cars to see what we would find locally. It's our intention to use local cast and crew for as much as possible and we wanted to test the waters first by quietly advertising only in the towns of Wadsworth, Gurnee, and Waukegan, where the story actually took place. As it turned out we met a great many enthusiastic locals, some of whom dressed perfectly for their parts, as well as others who were either a few years or a few degrees of enthusiasm off. While the cars in these shots are certainly far too clean, rest assured that come principal photography they'll be dirty, dented, bondo-ed, duct-taped, bailing-wired, and broken-tail-lighted to exacting specifications. However, while the grime factor may be off in James' stills, I should point out that there really were MANY MANY classic cars on Genesee Street in downtown Waukegan in the 70's. The Scoop the Loop event, now officially sanctioned by the city, was, for decades previous, the unnofficial only thing to do in downtown Waukegan. Many were the weekend night that my friends and I would rumble up and down Genesee street in our Gremlins, Pacers, and, in my case, Pintos... boxed in on all sides by Chargers, Challengers, Novas, GTOs, Firebirds, Mustangs, and all manner of older hot rods... Remember, 77 was just a few years after American Graffiti re-ignited American's flame for the classic car. And in the Midwest, where the cars were MADE, the flame burned as bright as anywhere else in the country. One more thing... Anyone who's actually taken time to read the script can tell the Talkback gang that this movie is NOT about a bunch of people trying to see Star Wars. In fact, the film is barely about ONE person trying to see Star Wars. It is, instead, about a young man... from a tiny Midwestern town... who's already SEEN Star Wars... in rough cut form... months before it came out in theaters... who then returns to his small Midwestern town and tries to live the rest of his small Midwestern life... And who, on the night the film is to open, is forced to choose between the world he knows and loves... and the world that might await him if he can just gather the courage to leave... When Carrie Fisher called, after reading the script, to tell me she was going to do the film, she said she was "in" because, "This is a wonderful script. It has to get made." When I told her I'd been afraid the Star Wars element would make her reluctant, she replied, "This isn't about Star Wars at all. It's about growing up... leaving home... finding your way" Which, if you think about it, is what Star Wars was all about... Anyway... Rest assured, this isn't some tired satire... Nor is it a teen sex comedy... It has best been described by most who've read it as American Graffiti on the night Star Wars came out. Think of Star Wars in this film as Wolfman Jack in American Graffiti. He wasn't the point of the film... He was a catalyst. A gentle shove onward for the main character. Everyone has something that inspired them to take their first step on the road to their dream. For George Lucas, it was the awareness that fast cars and rock and roll were, at best, transient diversions that would either trap you in childhood forever... or kill you. The way out, in American Graffiti, was to get out of town... and go to college. For me, the reaction to the temporary attractions of my young world was much the same, and the escape route was film making. Something I could only pursue further by journeying to a place where there were others of my kind. In those days, that place was Hollywood. Today... it's everywhere BUT Hollywood. But that's another story. Best wishes, Patrick Read Johnson Director/5-25-77

  • July 16, 2002, 11:50 p.m. CST


    by Boba_Fett

    Hey, this is JeTmAn. Thanks for giving us some feedback on the film. I got the very same vibe that Carrie Fisher did, and it's really cool that she's going to be in the film. Can't wait to see the finished product.

  • July 17, 2002, 2:07 a.m. CST

    Born After Jedi

    by ILoveEwksAndJJar

    I resent that. No my parents did'nt teach me to love Star War. And yes, I LOVE the Ewoks. Simply LOVE them. And anybody who hates ewoks can EAT MY SHORTS! Oh, and not everyone has to love Star Wars, I do, but my parents are just casual observers, and that's ok. By the by, Star Trek Two does not rule all, EWOKS RULE ALL!!!

  • July 17, 2002, 7:23 a.m. CST

    To: Moonwatcher1

    by Pepper Sinclaire

    Thanks for clearing that up! It sounds more interesting from your description. P$

  • July 18, 2002, 12:16 p.m. CST

    Hate us for loving the new Star Wars movies??

    by 007-11

    Harry, are you or are you not the guy who saw an advance screening of AOTC and proclaimed it the most entertaining of all the Star Wars movies? You need to air out that trailer you work from every once and awhile.