Would it blow your mind if I told you that “May the 4th be with you” did not come from the creative mind of a Star Wars fan? Believe it!. The phrase commonly used to mark Star Wars Day actually came from an advert placed in the London Evening News congratulating Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher on winning the General Election.
Congratulations Maggie, May the 4th be with you!
The congratulatory advert for Britain’s first elected female Prime Minister was placed in the evening edition on May the 4th, 1979. ….it read…
One of the earliest known ‘Star Wars/Lucasfilm’ records of “May the 4th” to used in popular geek culture was in 1979, described below by author Alan Arnold while he was chronicling in the brilliant paperback ‘Making of The Empire Strikes Back’
Friday, May the 4th 1979
“Margaret Thatcher has won the election and become Britain’s first woman prime minister. To celebrate their victory her party took a half page of advertising space in the London Evening News. This message, referring to the day of victory, was ‘May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations,’ further proof of the extent to which Star Wars has influenced us all.”
Sadly I haven’t found the advert, but only the cover of the Newspaper from that day. That day wasn’t the last mention of Star Wars in British politics, however. In fact, it was later brought up in Parliament due to a geeky researcher who nearly lost his job over it.
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse) : Order. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that is not uncommon in this place, whatever is supposed to happen.
Mr. Cohen : Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If that point of order was an allusion to me, I can tell the hon. Gentleman that I was here for the opening speeches, and for some of the speeches that followed.
May the fourth is an appropriate date for a defence debate. My researcher, who is a bit of a wit, said that it should be called national star wars day. He was talking about the film “Star Wars” rather than President Reagan’s defence fantasy, and he added, “May the fourth be with you.” That is a very bad joke ; he deserves the sack for making it, but he is a good researcher.
So say “May the 4th Be With You” out loud with geek ride and proclaim this rallying cry of our eternal love of this saga. It’s our worldwide Star Wars Day to say “May the Force be with you” to you all, and celebrate our beloved Star Wars story that binds our galaxy together. 🙂
Some info via GeekTyrant & StarWars.com