A long time ago (exactly 35 years today), in a galaxy far, far away (it sure feels like that considering the technological advancements since 1977), a little known California filmmaker captured the attention and imagination of audiences around the globe with one of the most creative pieces of science-fictional work the world’s ever seen. And he made a little money for himself and others along the way. Star Wars broke box office records around the globe, and catapulted George Lucas to the top of the list of American innovators. It also made Harrison Ford a household name, and introduced arguably the most awe-inspired villain in Darth Vader with the incomparable timbre of James Earl Jones. This was big stuff for American pop culture.
Back in 1977, our barely 200 year-old nation was going through a bit of soul searching after coming to terms with a long and controversial war in a foreign land. There was still a great deal of shock and skepticism with leadership in Washington after the Watergate scandal. We were also facing a major global energy crisis, with oil prices at then all-time highs and we were still facing a sluggish economy which was still healing from a deep recession. The Cold War was sucking money, energy and confidence from the American spirit. There was real debate as to whether our best days were behind us. Boy, doesn’t this sound a little familiar? American’s were seeking a better way of life, and perhaps an escape from reality, and Disco wasn’t cutting it.
George Lucas helped stimulate creativity and a new way of thinking for a new generation. Today’s “Techies” are by and large Star Wars fanatics, and have been heavily influenced by its pursuit to stretch the imagination. From Silicon Valley to Hollywood, and beyond, the George Lucas film was a game-changer. In fact, it was a 31-year old Steve Jobs that bought Pixar Animation Studios from Lucas, which Lucas later said Jobs brilliantly turned technology into art. We all know what Mr. Jobs was able to accomplish.
Star Wars had so many subliminal life lessons within: Good prevails over Evil. Sound wisdom passes through generations. Complicated family dynamics. And hard work, discipline and dedication can be rewarded. They also had some cute and goofy looking characters to add to the variety. Regardless of taste, Star Wars still appeals to a wide audience.
So we find ourselves in a bit of a crossroads here on Planet Earth. There are so many moving pieces today, between Europe, the Middle East, and China, not to mention our own issues in the US. Things are definitely moving, but hurdles and snags are many. The infamous philosopher Yoda phrased it quite succinctly: “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future”.
We are prepared for whatever the future brings, and continue to be in defense mode. We’re on it. The Market is closed on Monday, in honor of Memorial Day. Our office will be closed too. We will be back dark and early on Tuesday.
Have a wonderful weekend, and may the force be with you!
By: Mike Frazier