Looking Back: American Graffiti
50 years ago, George Lucas began filming in Northern California
Some things just fly over folks’ heads. Or, maybe, they drive right by?
Those Vespa-like speeders in The Book of Boba Fett are not Star Wars at all!
What the heck was that drag race in an Indiana Jones movie for?
Well, I’ll tell you. Lucasfilm retains a soft spot for hot rods.
Happy Anniversary American Graffiti
This past week, George Lucas’ American Graffiti celebrated the 50th anniversary of the film’s start of production.
And, just in case you’ve never seen Lucas’ instant classic earth-bound coming-of-age film, it employs a whole lot of classic American automobiles.
The first evening of the shoot arrived on Monday, June 26 along a crowded 4th Street in San Rafael, California. They covered some ten setups with actors Paul Le Mat as the aging hot rodder John Milner and Mackenzie Phillips as the gregarious 13-year-old Carol who is surprisingly wise beyond her years. Together, the unlikely pair cruise the streets in an eye-catching yellow 1932 Ford known as a Deuce Coupe.
As the blog outlined, success for American Graffiti was no sure thing.
Production issues abounded, noteworthy among them a young actor/carpenter named Harrison Ford not wanting to cut his hair (and climbing up a hotel sign), the city of San Rafael kicking out the crew, dimly lit streets in little Petaluma, Calif., Richard Dreyfus’ critique of costume, and cold nighttime shoots outside San Francisco.
Moreover, THX 1138, Lucas’ first major picture, was a box office flop, which kept the budget for American Graffiti tight.
But Lucas persisted, as did his side space opera project, which — had it not been for the financial success of American Graffiti — might never have traveled to a galaxy far, far away.
“Lucas himself received many heartfelt responses to the story of youthful aspiration,” added Lucasfilm.com. “He took them to heart as he pondered his next project, a similar tale of young people breaking out of their surroundings, only this one took Lucas’ imagination to a whole new galaxy.”
Thank. The. Maker.
Read the full article here. And be sure to watch American Graffiti, soon.