Get ready to read these four words in every review of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" you see this weekend: "A long time ago ...".
Because it was a long time ago -- 38 years -- that those words were seen on screen as George Lucas gave the world "Star Wars," a film that captivated audiences and created a franchise that spawned six more films and generated billions of dollars in ticket and merchandise sales.
On Thursday, the seventh film in the series will be released. Analysts say it could become the highest-grossing film of all time. The initial three -- Episodes 4, 5 and 6, if you're scoring at home -- that came before also were box office blockbusters, but were not all equally critically acclaimed, as you will see from the reviews that appeared at the time in The Buffalo Evening News and The Buffalo News.
These are the original pages, not links. After all, it was a long time ago.
"Star Wars Is Stunning Interstellar Emptiness" -- "Star Wars" review, published July 16, 1977.
" 'The Force' Still Has Irresistible Pull" -- "The Empire Strikes Back" review, published May 21, 1980.
" 'Jedi' Delivers a Splashy End to Lucas' Golden Treadmill" -- "Return of the Jedi" review, published May 26, 1983.