The Chicago Tribune is reporting, “In the summer of 1977, Ron Howard made his directorial debut with “Grand Theft Auto,” a merrily destructive low-budget fairy tale that found its way into a lot of newly twinned multiplexes that summer of ’77.
Audiences liked Howard. An entire generation grew up with the guy, best known as Opie on “The Andy Griffith Show,” in the 1960s. By the early ’70s Howard starred in “Happy Days,” which owed a huge debt to “American Graffiti” (1973), the smash co-starring Howard and directed by a relative newcomer named George Lucas.
That summer of ’77 also gave the world “Star Wars.” Lucas couldn’t get the rights for a “Flash Gordon” remake, so he cooked up a variation. “Star Wars” spawned sequel after sequel after sequel, and then started spinning off stand-alone pictures…”