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`STAR WARS' TRILOGY RETURNS ON HOME VIDEO

Some 18 years ago, your local television editor (then a junior in high school) and a friend decided to go see a new science fiction movie just as it was being released.

We loved it, but trying to tell friends about the film the next day was no easy task. "What?" they said. "Robots? Space ships? Aliens?"Sounds sort of stupid."

That sort-of-stupid-sounding movie turned out to be none other than "Star Wars," which - along with its two sequels - turned out to be among the biggest hits of all time.

All these years later, your local TV editor has spent some time sitting down with his kids watching "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "The Return of the Jedi" on the USA cable network. But that isn't going to happen again, at least not anytime soon.

The movies have been withdrawn from all television outlets. A new video version will be released Monday for a limited time - through Jan. 31. And it's the last time "Stars Wars" will be available "in its original theatrical format."

(Producer/director/writer George Lucas is working on an updated version with improved special effects for a later theatrical release.)

This VHS re-release comes complete with THX Digital Mastering - the latest in sound technology. (It's also compatible with all current systems.) And the videos include interviews with Lucas himself, conducted by Leonard Maltin.

Somewhat surprisingly, the re-releases are not prohibitively priced. They're available for $19.98 each or all three for $49.98.

(Hey, I know people who spent more than that just going back to see the films umpteen times.)

Probably worth spending a few bucks on for those frequent times when you can't find anything worth watching on broadcast or cable TV.

And a fix for "Star Wars" fans that will have to hold us until the next trilogy of movies is eventually released . . . .