George Lucas Teaching Assistant

March 26, 2012 by staff 

George Lucas Teaching Assistant, We know where George Lucas was in ’62 – finishing up his education at Thomas Downey High School, in Modesto, California, the town where he was born. And almost writing a premature finale to it all in a massive car accident on June 12, 1962, two days before graduation.

How George Lucas saw himself back in the day is recorded in the DVD for the Collector’s Edition of the movie: “Growing up, I worked in a foreign car service. I wanted to be a race driver and I was a mechanic through most of high school. To me, cars were my life, that’s what I thought I was going to end up doing, and I wanted cars, as well as the relationship that people have with them, to be central to the story of American Graffiti.”

George Walton Lucas Jr. was born on May 14,1944 in Modesto, California. He spent his childhood fascinated with comic books, especially “Buck Rogers” and “Flash Gordon.” He spent his teenage years bored with the tedium of routine school days and teachers. Car racing was the only excitement that Lucas was allowed.

It was his love of car racing that would dramatically change his life. June 12, 1962, three days before Lucas was to graduate from high school, he was involved in a serious accident. Lucas was gravely injured when his Fiat Biancina was struck broadside by another car (a fellow student at Downey High School, Modesto California) and was sent rolling toward a walnut tree at sixty miles per hour.

His seat belt snapped and he was flung from the car which, a split second later, collided with such force that it moved the tree two feet, roots and all. If the seat belt had worked, he would have been killed instantly. “You can’t have that kind of experience and not feel that there must be a reason why you’re here,” Lucas has said. “I realized I should be spending my time trying to figure out what that reason is and trying to fulfill it.”

In 1966, Lucas was hired as a teaching assistant

He immediately enrolled in a local junior college in a successful attempt to bring his grades up high enough to be accepted in the University of Southern California’s film school. He interpreted “film” to mean “photography,” but
once he began his work in motion pictures he knew it was what he loved. He became determined to succeed in this competitive environment. Lucas differed greatly from much of the rest of the ‘60s film school generation I that his love affair with movies began only after he entered college. “I only went to movies to chase girls,” Lucas commented of his youth in Modesto. “It took years before good movies got to my town – and foreign films? Never.”

Lucas’ student work reflected the pop culture obsessions of his youth: 1:42:08, a racing mini-epic, and The Emperor, about a disc jockey named Emperor Hudson, were signature student works, which Lucas would later revisit and build upon in American Graffiti.

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