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A DAY AT LUCASFILM
by George Perry

George Edward Perry, author

A visit to Skywalker Ranch is every bit as special to a Star Wars fan as a peek inside Area 51 is to a UFO researcher.  At Skywalker, however, I guarantee you will find a UFO, an alien, and his robot!  It's a pretty magical place, and like Star Wars it's a construction of the mind of George Lucas.  I was fortunate to win a trip to Skywalker Ranch in 1986 soon after the main house (really an office) was constructed.  While I do not work for Lucasfilm, I try to keep up with the changes at Skywalker Ranch and Lucasfilm.  This site describes my visit in 1986 soon after the ranch house (office) was built.

Several articles have been written and programs broadcast by the media about George Lucas' headquarters nestled in the California redwoods and rolling green hills of Nicasio, California.  However, the Ranch's low profile remains and little public information is available.

I'll relate stories that were shared by Lucasfilm staff during my visit that I've heard nowhere else. At the same time, I'll avoid revealing information that could pose a security risk for Lucasfilm Ltd. Your comments or additions for this site are welcome; however, please do not ask for directions to Lucasfilm locations or how to contact Mr. Lucas.  The Ranch and production facilities are not open to the public.  Only employees, family, and invited guests are allowed inside.  At times, even family are not admitted while Lucasfilm is hard at work on key parts of Star Wars Episodes.

How did I do it? The visit became possible when, in 1985 I purchased a LucasArts / Epyx software product known as Koronis Rift, one of the first computer games with a 3D playing field. The package contained a sweepstakes entry for an all expense paid trip to San Francisco and a tour of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). I completed the entry form and entered. ...and entered. ...and entered. All told, I probably submitted 30 entries on index cards, as allowed, throughout the span of the contest.

One evening in March of 1986 I received a call from Lucasfilm or Epyx asking if I remembered entering the LucasArts sweepstakes. This question didn't awaken any immediate realization of the consequences until the friendly female voice rather shouted, "You won!" I inquired if the trip would include a visit to the newly completed Skywalker Ranch. She indicated that she would check into it. Airline tickets and hotel reservations arrived two days later by Federal Express to the surprise of my parents, who thought this was an elaborate hoax.

Follow me inside and I'll take you on a virtual tour of the world of Lucasfilm!  Note: Be sure to visit the "Lucasfilm Today" page which has been updated to include information about the new Skywalker Campus overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  About 17 acres and some buildings including a coffee shop are open to the public!

Skywalker Ranch Front drive at sundown.
Front drive at sundown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A photo of Skywalker Ranch taken from the left-front corner.
A photo of Skywalker Ranch taken from the left-front corner.

Image of the Skywalker Ranch compound from an orbiting satellite.  Planet image on opening screen was created using this image and Corel Photo Paint.
Image of the Skywalker Ranch compound from an orbiting satellite.  Planet image on opening screen was created using this image and Corel Photo Paint.

Main Entrance (right side view of Skywalker Ranch.  Photo by Eric Anderson
Main Entrance (right side view of Skywalker Ranch.  Photo by Eric Anderson

Skywalker Ranch security patrols the Ranch and perimeter.
Skywalker Ranch security patrols the Ranch and perimeter.


During his recent trip, Eric Anderson spotted these visitor passes and snapped a quick photo.
 
The top of the actual sweepstakes entry ticket I submitted in 1985.

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