39 years ago today: Comic-Con welcomed stormtroopers to the nerd Mecca for the first time

Today, thousands upon thousands of fanboys and fangirls will flock toward Southern California as San Diego Comic-Con kicks off. 39 years ago today, the then-much smaller convention opened for a significant year: The first after the release of Star Wars.

Though the con was still focused on comic books at the time and was contained within SD”s El Cortez Hotel, the 1977 event did feature a “Making of Star Wars” panel. A year prior, Lucasfilm had drummed up a bit of anticipation for the movie at Comic-Con with Mark Hamill in attendance.

Other notable July 20 happenings in pop culture history:

• 1950: The Men, Marlon Brando”s first film, premiered in New York.

• 1965: Bob Dylan”s single “Like a Rolling Stone” was released.

• 1969: Broadcast on live TV to a worldwide audience, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, proclaiming the event “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

• 1971: The Carpenters debuted their summer TV series Make Your Own Kind of Music.

• 1979: Dracula, with Frank Langella in the title role, got its theatrical release.

• 1984: The NeverEnding Story and Revenge of the Nerds opened in U.S. theaters.

• 1984: Michael Jackson ballad “I Just Can”t Stop Loving You” hit record stores.

• 2001: Hayao Miyazaki”s Spirited Away opened in Japan theaters. After a festival run and a limited U.S. release, a theatrical release across the U.S. finally came in March 2003.