A Visit to the Skywalker Ranch

Dan Goldwasser Showbiz, Travel

This was a very long – but great – day.  Added a photo gallery to the bottom of this post, for your enjoyment. 

Went to bed really late, and yet I still managed to drag myself out of bed at 5:30am so that I could head up to the Burbank Airport.  Got there a little earlier than planned, so I stopped in to Starbucks for some caffeinated goodness.  At 7:30, I met up with Ray (the publicist) and then everyone else arrived.  There were five of us in all – four writers and Ray.  Our Southwest Airlines flight took us from Burbank to Oakland, where upon we got a rental car (Chevy Yukon SUV) and drove up to the world-famous (and rather hard to get into) Skywalker Sound, located at George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch, in Marin County, CA.
Ray had arranged the press junket on behalf of his client, composer Shawn Clement, who was recording the score to an upcoming 3D IMAX film, Quantum Quest.  When we arrived, the weather was hot but gorgeous – and the facility is in the middle of nowhere. Aside from a non-descript driveway off of Lucas Valley Road (no relation to George), there is absolutely nothing to indicate that Lucasfilm and the Skywalker Sound facilities were located here.  In fact, there was only one security gate that we checked in with before entering the grounds, and while there was no real visible security, I’m sure our every move was being watched.

We observed the session for about 90 minutes or so, and then they broke for lunch – upon which we were given a tour of the main “house”.  It was a short walk from Skywalker Sound to get there, passing Lake Ewok, and then going into the Victorian style manor.  So far, we hadn’t seen any real memorabilia – which was nice. It was not meant to be a Star Wars Theme Park, after all!  There was a display case in the mansion that housed some Star Wars and Indiana Jones props, which was neat, but it was really just idyllic and peaceful.  Definitely a calming work environment!

After a bite for lunch, we hit the Skywalker Ranch General Store to pick up some souveniers (you can only get some of these things here), and then it was back into the car to head back down to Oakland.  After a few GPS hiccups, we made it back, whereupon we discovered that our 4:45pm flight was cancelled.  So, we were put on the 5:50pm flight, which meant we had more time to kill.  Hence, we hung out at the bar for a bit – thanks to Costa Communications and Daily Variety for the drinks!

The flight back to Burbank was rather uneventful, and by the time I made it home, it was 7:45pm.  I’ve never done the type of trip that involves flying somewhere and back in the same day, so this was a first for me.  I would love to get back up there at some point – it was really gorgeous, and a great day!