Library Resources | May 04, 2017
There are many benefits to conducting academic research with magazine archives. Whether providing a snapshot of a time in history or showing the progression of ideas and trends through the years, archive issues of magazines help round out research with historical context.
One particularly influential historical phenomenon which still affects countless aspects of today’s culture was covered in Time magazine in 1977. The phenomenon was “Star Wars.”
Back in the 1970’s, science fiction was a little respected and niche genre, largely featuring spaceships on wires and scantily clad women. Many movies were serious and contemporary in content, portraying realism and grit. Sequels were rare. There was no proliferation of marketing tie-ins (action figures, clothing, bedding, toothbrushes, coffee mugs and more) lining aisles of store shelves. When “Star Wars” was released, it would go on to change not only the future of filmmaking, but also minds, philosophies, marketing, technology and merchandising well into the 21st Century.
What was America like before this film? How has it changed since? How has Star Wars changed our popular culture and values? Why did it have such a powerful impact? Thousands of scholarly books and articles have been written on the topic in years since, but to properly document with historic proof, popular periodicals of the time are the place to turn for proof of cultural change.
In May 1977, Time published the article “Star Wars: The Year’s Best Movie.” The movie had just been released, and it was clear that there was something special happening. Here are some examples of the culture at the time and how culture has changed over the years.
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