Past Events

Take a Stand

Reprinted with permission from Ron Ball Association.

George Lucas was only 28 years old when he made a difficult, troubled film, he originally called, The Star Wars. George grew up in Modesto, California, loving cars, and movies. He was especially entranced by science fiction fantasies and had tried unsuccessfully to buy the film rights to Flash Gordon when he decided to create his own outer space adventure.

Lucas studied at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts where he completed his degree. He then tried to enlist in the United States Air Force but was rejected because of his numerous speeding tickets.

In 1967, Lucas enrolled in the USC film school graduate program and filmed a short science fiction movie called, Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB which won first prize at the 1967-68 National Student film festival.

Following graduation, Lucas released a longer version of THX 1138 which was a complete financial failure. Still recovering from the disappointment of his first film release, Lucas formed his own studio, Lucasfilm, Ltd., and produced, wrote and directed a film based on his teenage years in Modesto called American Graffiti. It was a huge and unexpected success.

Lucas then sent a proposal for his “Star Wars” movie to every major studio in Hollywood and was rejected by them all. Frustrated, he approached Alan Ladd, Jr., the head of 20th Century Fox, and offered him the movie. Ladd accepted despite the disapproval of his board of directors.

Lucas had worked on the script for Star Wars for four years and was now eager to put his ideas on film. When he realized that there were no sound stages in the United States large enough to shoot his scenes, he moved the production to England.

The British camera and technical crews hated his film and ridiculed it daily. They created such difficulties that Lucas despaired of finishing his film. But after a few months he had enough completed film to piece together a rough cut of the movie. That rough cut changed the cultural history of the world.

Lucas returned to California and arranged for 12 close friends, all movie professionals, to screen his rough cut. When the show ended everyone criticized and mocked George’s vision. The small audience hated the movie and Lucas was repeatedly told his project was an expensive disaster.

At this moment, as the room quieted, one man stood up. As he continued to stand, the other people in the room noticed him. After a few more moments of silence, the man spoke. He said that he thought the finished film was going to be the greatest movie in history. He then sat down.

Everyone was stunned. Suddenly, other participants began to speak. Soon more people agreed with the man who had stood alone. That man “turned the tide” for George Lucas and won him the support he needed. That man’s name is Steven Spielberg.

One person with courage can change everything. One man or woman who refuses to “cave in” to the pressure to conform can inspire others to stand up. Choose the courage to “stand” for God’s perfect truth. Stand up for the values and principles that built America. Stand up now and change history.

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