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The May 25th, 1979 ‘Alien’ Premiere Was the Coolest Ever

Photo Credit: Phil Johnson

Thirty eight years before new prequel Alien: Covenant arrived on the scene, the original Alien debuted in American theaters on this very day, May 25th, way back in 1979!

What would it have been like to attend Ridley Scott’s Alien on opening night? While there wasn’t a traditional premiere event for the film, the opening weekend celebration at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood was particularly awesome, as full-size props and art department models were on display in the theater’s courtyard. Jaws dropped to the floor before the movie even began, as theatergoers were introduced to iconic imagery such as the Face Hugger eggs and the monstrous “Space Jockey” as they arrived.

The whole event was recapped years back by Hollywood expert Lisa Morton over on her blog TheLisaLog, and we wanted to share her experience (and incredible photos) with you on the 38-year anniversary of that night. Take it away, Lisa!

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Photo Credit: William Malone

Out on the sidewalk in front of the theater, you first walked through a row of alien eggs. Then, to reach the fore-court of the theater, you walked through a length of actual corridor from the film’s spaceship “Nostromo”, exiting through “Mother”‘s chamber:

And now came the biggest astonishment: As you left the Nostromo and entered the fore-court of the theater, there, to your left, was this:

Yep, that’s the real thing – the original, full-size set piece of the alien “space jockey”, as sculpted by H. R. Giger. It wasn’t even roped off or guarded – note my friend at the right of that photo, touching the damn thing – and obviously photography was not prohibited.

Once you’d managed to scrape your jaw off the sidewalk, stop staring in awe, and could move your feet, you entered the lobby, where there was a magnificent display of full-size props and art department models. Here, for example, is a vehicle that can just be glimpsed in the background of a few shots in the film

And a few of the models:

And that was it. After that, you had the pleasure of watching one of the great science fiction/horror films of all time in the setting of a fabulous and historic cinema.


7 Comments
  • Genther

    Wish I could’ve seen it back then at that time, I was only 6

  • The chicken man

    I saw it when it opened, well, heard it. My mom went while pregnant with me. :p
    I don’t remember, but I’m going to say I enjoyed it.

  • Brando

    John, have you ever read Bob Burns’ Monster Kid Memories? Among other things, it chronicles his Halloween haunted houses over the years; One year it was Alien-themed and he managed to get the actual props from the movie. It’s worth a read!

  • David Reese

    I would have loved to go to this… sadly I was only 4 1/2 months old at the time, so I don’t think I would have enjoyed it much… but if I could go back in time to witness a moment in history, this would be my destination.

  • moebius2249

    Back before Ridley Scott fucked up the Space Jockey.

  • zombie84_41

    AWESOME. and I’m seeing covenant again tonite.

  • Mehliens

    Sweet jesus xD

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