I hope there is going to be a E.T., 2. I loved the movie E.T., it was exciting. I liked when you were riding on the bike, and thanks for not dying.
P.S. Next time your in the neiborhood, E.T., phone me.
That awkwardly written yet undoubtedly sincere missive comes from a book called Letters to E.T. (Putnam, 1983), a slim volume which I was fortunate enough to locate in a dusty, cluttered second-hand bookshop in Chicago last May. The book, a somewhat hastily assembled collection of fan mail and fan art, is a quaint souvenir of the E.T.-mania of 1982 and 1983. I remember that mania well, as I was swept up in it like most kids my age at the time. You can bet that there were some E.T. toys under the Christmas tree in the Blevins household back in December '82. I had the leather-skinned E.T. doll (now an eBay item) and a little plastic replica of the film's young hero, Elliott, riding on a bicycle with his alien friend, E.T., wrapped up in a blanket in the bike basket.
It's hard to say what place E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial holds in pop culture today. The film currently rates a 7.9 at the Internet Movie Database and does not appear on that site's Top 250 list, though it does occasionally merit dutiful inclusion on those meaningless G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) lists released by Entertainment Weekly or the American Film Institute. It did reign for several years as the all-time box office champion, but such records do not and cannot last. (And then there are always those people who want to bring up inflation and rising ticket costs.) Perhaps because it was not the beginning of a multi-film/multi-media franchise and does not afford nostalgic adults the opportunity for elaborate dress-up games (as does Star Wars), E.T. now occupies an ever-shrinking space in the public's imagination. If anything, the movie might seem to be just another corny relic of the fad-happy 1980s, the cinematic equivalent of moonwalking or the Rubik's Cube -- fun at the time but something we've outgrown as a society.