In late May of ’82 I did an Us magazine group interview with E.T. costars Henry Thomas (who was 10), Drew Barrymore (all of seven years old) and Robert MacNaughton (then 15).

I remember being told by my Us editor, Stephen Schaefer, that a decision had been made by Universal publicists and magazine editors alike to concentrate on Henry and Drew and downplay poor Robert. “But he’s so good in the film!,” I replied, feeling a bit sorry for the guy. That may be true, I was told, but he’s too old and not cute enough — the story will be about Henry and Drew.

The piece was called “E.T.’s Tiny Heroes,” and it turned out to be a cover (my first). The issue date was 7.20.82.

Richard Attenborough‘s Gandhi won the 1982 Best Picture Oscar. Because it said something important and politically correct about social issues, human rights and whatnot. E.T. should have won for the simple, undisputed fact that it’s a much better film that Gandhimuch. Yes, some of it feels emotionally heavy-handed, but that’s sentiment for you. It doesn’t age well. Ask John Ford about that.

Henry Thomas will turn 50 on 9.9.21.