Forty years ago on May 21, parts of the United States were transported back to an ice plant, a swamp and a city in the clouds for the second installment of the original Star Wars trilogy, “The Empire Strikes Back.” 

Residents of Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties had to wait till June 20 for that transport ship to Hoth.  “Empire” opened at the Viewmont Mall Cinema I,II,III,IV,V in Dickson City and the Gateway Cinema in Edwardsville. 

At Viewmont Mall, “Empire” was shown in the company of “The Shining” starring Jack Nicholson, “The Blues Brothers” starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd,  and “The Island” starring Michael Caine.  Appearing with the “Empire” at the Gateway was “Urban Cowboy” starring John Travolta.   

The first installment of the original trilogy, “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” also landed several weeks later in Lackawanna County back in 1977. The film premiered on May 25. It finally arrived at the Viewmont Mall Cinema I,II,III on July 29.  It shared the theater with “Smokey and the Bandit” and “The Spy Who Loved Me.” 

Sat, Jul 30, 1977 – 5 · The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

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