The LA Times today has a report from the famed George Lucas enclave, Skywalker Ranch, complete with uninteresting photos, and a lot of sycophantic mutterings. It is true, that the ranch appeals to even the tiniest of nerds, and for those who put down the D&D dice long enough to make their own pilgrimage, there’s even a documentary coming out later this year, Fanboys. Even now, at the tender age of 53, I still hold on to my own naive idea that the Ranch is something like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory come to life. But the reality of the ranch turns out to be much closer to the unveiling of the sad business-like wizard from Oz.
Not that it doesn’t sound like a bucolic paradise, where superfamous and even sometimes talented people come to work on making Hollywood magic, but it’s less chocolate waterfalls and more peaceful residential creative colony. There is a library, and an inn for visiting guests, a private fire department, and a giant, state of the art technical facility.
When it does dip into Roald Dahl territory, however, it’s far from the adolescent wet dream of life size C3POs that you can make fight each other in a pit of lasers, and more along the lines of this description of the building pictured above:
Lucas conjured up an elaborate history to guide architects in designing the entire ranch. His story for this building was that it was an old winery that had been damaged in a fire and refurbished in 1930s with an Art Deco flair and sense of Hollywood history. Ground-breaking took place in 1984; it took three years to complete construction.
It’s a beautiful building and everything, but it has its own backstory about how it was a winery that burned down and then got rebuilt in the ’30s? Cirque de so lame*. When I get my first billion, I’m going to construct a state of the art building on my ranch and the backstory is going to be that I made a bunch of money and decided to build this state of the art building and then I did that. But I guess that’s why I don’t make the big bucks, because I’m not trapped in an overly precious state of perpetual whimsy.
*Written by Diablo Cody.