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Inside the Star Wars Empire by Bill Kimberlin

Inside the Star Wars Empire by Bill Kimberlin

Author:Bill Kimberlin [Kimberlin, Bill]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Lyons Press
Published: 2017-11-16T05:00:00+00:00

Back to the Future

In Back to the Future III (1990) there was a gag about having to get an old steam engine to help push their time-traveling, but out of gas, DeLorean up to 88 mph before car and train both fly off the tracks and crash into a canyon below. With their DeLorean out of gas, it was the only way for the characters, Marty and Doc, to escape the Old West past, which they had traveled to in their time machine. Got it? The scripts were well-written, and most people did get it.

My boss, Ken Ralston, was searching for a location to shoot this scene. I thought I knew of a place that would be perfect: an old rock quarry up in the hills of northern Marin County. The quarry had been defunct for years, but my stepfather used to work there in the 1950s and he even lived there for a time after it closed. The owners preferred having someone on the property, so he lived there for free—quite an accomplishment in such a high-priced area as Marin.

As a kid, I would go up there on weekends with a friend and we would hike out into the hills behind the quarry to go camping, often taking rifles for squirrel hunting. There were acres of land to explore, so I knew it fairly well. We used to find huge stone bowls there that the local Indian tribe, the Miwoks, used for grinding corn eons ago. George named the Ewoks in Star Wars after these early Marin County Miwoks, so it seemed fitting that this place be used to shoot a movie. I had even shot one of my student films there; it was a horror movie before that genre exploded at the box office with films like Night of the Living Dead.

It seemed like wherever I went in Marin, some of my family history was there, and not all of it was pleasant. But my attitude was to wade right in and confront whatever ghosts of childhood I might encounter. Not everyone feels that way. My brother went to school with a guy in Marin that belonged to a family of the biggest political figures in the state. Governors, judges, and high officials were threaded closely through it. He grew up under intense pressure to succeed and he did succeed, but a haunted childhood home life of alcoholism and God knows what else controls him to this day, making any thought of ever returning to Marin abhorrent. My view is to revisit whatever demons you might have had in the past and take back the control you lacked as a child. I’m for metaphorically driving your Mercedes up on the lawn of your old self and announcing your return. Now, here I was back at the rock quarry.

After my father died, my mother moved to Marin and bought a 1951 baby blue Cadillac that had belonged to Bill Harrah, the Reno gambling magnate. Apparently Harrah had bought it for a girlfriend who didn’t work out.


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