Today I saw the strangest thing: Four grown men walked into a room and almost immediately turned into little boys — and one of them was me!
About two weeks ago, we got the call that everyone should get at least once in their life: an invitation from film producer George Lucas to visit his legendary Skywalker Ranch. Oh yes, it’s true!
According to The Wall Street Journal, the 5000-acre Skywalker Ranch (only 15 acres have been developed) cost Lucas $100 million; it’s home to one of the finest collections of film memorabilia in the world, most famously from “Indiana Jones” and “Star Wars.”
As Robert, Jonathan, James and I walked into the huge museum-like warehouse at the heart of the ranch, all four of our jaws dropped to the floor. I had never seen anything like this, nor had I ever imagined that one day I would be standing in a room surrounded by so many priceless pieces of film history.
The actual original light sabers from almost all of the “Star Wars” films, including the newest episodes (Darth Vader, Anakin, Luke, Mace Windu, Count Dooku and yes, even Yoda), the original Darth Vader costume, the Darth Vader mask, Indiana Jones’ original bullwhip and hat from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (one of only 10 that were made), the legendary glowing Sankara stones from “Temple of Doom,” the headpiece to the Staff of Ra from “Raiders.”
The real life Chewbacca costume, two other giant full-size Wookiees (bigger than Chewbacca, as he was the runt of the litter), the actual full-scale model of the Death Star (wow!), just about every gun featured in the “Star Wars” films, the original Millennium Falcon and an alternative Millennium Falcon, which was never used in the film (a long, thin triangular ship — completely different from what we know as the Falcon), Anakin Skywalker’s robotic arm, the Han Solo frozen block, the Leia gold bikini (oh yes, the gold bikini), the original Stormtrooper outfits and their weapons from the very first movie, the many X-wings and TIE fighters, the various pilots’ helmets from the movies, Mola Ram’s death mask (extra-special, as it’s my favorite Indy film and Mola Ram is one scary bad guy), Dr. Henry Jones’ (Sean Connery’s) Grail diary.
The original R2-D2 and C-3PO, huge scene paintings used before the days of CGI, the Cantina Band, Ewoks, Sand People, all of Padmé’s regal dresses and costumes, even some costumes from the latest Indy flick (but I have been sworn to secrecy and don’t want to spoil it for anyone), various cast models of “Star Wars” battleships, the floating ball that Jedis train with, Jango and Boba Fett’s armor and weapons, the full-size (and very tall) Jar Jar Binks, the original Yoda (kept in great condition), the Holy Grail (yes, I found it) and — one of the most impressive pieces — the Ark of the Covenant itself (nowhere near as heavy as it looks in the film). Before you ask me what’s inside, I’ve been sworn to secrecy that I won’t tell. Some mysteries just have to remain at the ranch. One thing I will say is that the myth that the Ark contains George Lucas’ original “Star Wars”
manuscript is completely … not true!
Visit George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch so you can cross that off the list of things to do before you die!