A Car Accident Is Responsible For George Lucas' Entire Career
If you want to know how many hobbies a person has, ask them if they ever had sleep for dinner. Or if every pineapple they ever had came from a can. Or if they know exactly how long their car will run once the fuel gauge hits that E. Between work, chores, and the existential exhaustion that comes from realizing that those things make up the majority of your life, regular people barely have the time, energy, and income for one hobby, let alone several. So once you manage to find your passion and somehow make it fit into your life, that’s it. This will be your thing for the foreseeable future unless something terrible happens.
For most of his young life, George Lucas’ thing wasn’t filmmaking but cars. And then something terrible happened.
Growing up in Modesto, California, Lucas had a thirst. A thirst for being first. First in street races. (Sorry, the “need for speed” line has been copyrighted and-- Wait, did I just use it? Well, shit …) Saving up all his money, Lucas bought himself an Autobianchi Bianchina minicar and souped it by … overclocking the carburetor’s … uh … rear transmission (look, this is Cracked, not Car And Driver) … and used it to enter a bunch of street races. This was his entire life, and it overshadowed everything else, especially school. Lucas was so uninterested in anything that didn’t have four wheels or run on liquid explode-saurs, he himself admitted that on the rare occasions that he went to the movies, he barely paid attention to the plot.
But then, on June 12, 1962, his life basically became a movie when his classmate T-boned Lucas’ car, causing it to flip and wrap around a tree.
The only reason Lucas survived was through sheer luck when his seatbelt snapped and threw him out of the vehicle, but the guy from Unbreakable he was not. When the paramedics arrived on the scene, Lucas was technically dead with no detectable heartbeat. His lungs and bones were crushed. He spent the next two weeks fighting for his life in the intensive care unit. Once he woke up, he was about as enthusiastic about racing as most people are about getting a blowjob from the Sarlacc (I say “most” because the internet has destroyed all my faith in humanity.)
He still loved cars, but instead of getting inside them, he decided to photograph them. Lucas eventually met legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler who encouraged him to enroll in film school, and the rest is history. As the man said himself: “In a way, movies replaced my love for cars.” Of course, as he got more famous, he was able to afford more hobbies, but instead of returning to cars, he settled on the much more fun “Pissing off NIMBY asswipes by trying to build affordable housing in one of most expensive parts of America.” Alright, fine, I guess that makes up for the prequels, but just barely.
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Top Image: Lucasfilm