Once upon a time there was a young filmmaker named George Lucas. Everyone thought he was a little weird, but one day he had a great idea. No one believed it could work, and he nearly killed himself making it a reality, but in the end he had Star Wars and he changed the world, and made himself rich.
What could he do with all his money? He could build a mecca for rebel filmmakers, that’s what, away from the suits and the beancounters of L.A. And so George began building Skywalker Ranch. But it was expensive, and he needed more money, so he hired some folks to make a new Star Wars movie. He hired some other folks to license Star Wars merchandise. And he hired still more folks to sell his splendid movie-production services to other filmmakers. He grew richer and richer, and built Skywalker Ranch bigger and bigger.
By now many years had passed. George Lucas was no longer young. His wife had left him. His friends, the other rebel filmmakers he’d hoped to bring into his fold, were scattered to the four winds, starting their own companies, making their own success. What could he do?
George could think of only one answer: get richer still. Build his empire bigger yet. He made more Star Wars movies! He took over the Presidio! He marketed cartoonish violence with no coherent story logic to young children! And he grew even more wealthy, but no less alone and unfulfilled. And he had become the very type of corporate executive whose influence he once sought to escape.
Some dark night in his cavernous mansion he will whisper the nickname of his beloved childhood hot rod, which no one will be around to hear, and expire.
William Randolph Hearst? He was the George Lucas of his day.
Update [15 June 2009]: George Lucas’ design for new building is twin of Hearst Castle centerpiece. Whoa.