“Summer of ’74”

In 1977 a daring young filmmaker made a movie which changed our lives (and quite possibly the world).  We all know the outer-space adventure — but where on Earth did it come from?

“American Graffiti” was born out of George Lucas’ experience growing up in Modesto, CA.  Many credit Joseph Campbell and “A Hero’s Journey” for the archetypical structure.

But what were the real life characters and situations that our young filmmaker drew upon for his space opera?  What tragedy or drama?  What life-altering back-story?  We may never know.  But this is our best guess.

The unofficial, unauthorized, “true” story of how Star Wars really began – in Barstow, California, in the swinging 70s…

A young boy in rural California dreams of getting out of his small town; his mother grows “herbs,” but young “Lucas” is sure there is a higher calling for him.

The most powerful man in town is “Dr. Vader,” head of the Barstow Republican Party, he’s a gynecologist/proctologist who swings through key parties, and may or may not have a number of illegitimate children in town. (Young Lucas may or may not be one of them.) He’s a constant embarrassment to his own daughter, “Princess,” who can’t wait to kick Barstow to the curb and get on to Vassar or Wellesley.

In the meantime, she’s dating (screwing) “Hansel,” a “plant” smuggler and junkyard mechanic who drives the “falcon” – a beat-up Chevy van. His co-pilot, “Chewey,” is a native American – an Aztec – bearded, tall, mumbling, wearing aviator goggles, and always eating “plants.” He’s difficult to understand…

How do their fates intertwine? Find out in:

The Summer of ’74

Read The Complete Three-Act Play!

And The Comic Book of Act 1!

S74 Play Cover Front

S74 Play Cover Back


Summer of 74, The Star Wars George Lucas Wishes he Wrote,
by Kevin Kostelnik, The JoyCamp:

I can honestly say in all of the many variations, spoofs, and parodies I’ve seen of Star Wars over the years, never in my life did I ever think I’d find one that took place in Barstow California… in the 70s. Yes, you read that right… Barstow… in the 70s.

All of your favorite Star Wars characters are here! Well, sort of: Hans (the delivery boy cruising around in his custom van the “Bicenntenial Falcon”–I can’t help but think of Fry a la Futurama), Vadar (the doctor and self proclaimed Republican, naturally), Luke (the martial arts wanabee, ah yes, the martial force is strong with this one), Chewey (the stoner of course), and wait… is that c3po or a disco-strutting African dude with a fro rolling around on skates and telling everyone to “Be cool”? Okay, I’ve said too much. Part of the fun here is discovering these characters for yourself. Or re-discovering them, I should say.

Summer of 74 is the Star Wars that George Lucas wishes he made–an acid trip through the desert nothing of Barstow, with strange and familiar people you feel like you met in some other place, far far away. If ever there was a play that should be on the stage, like now, this is it. It’s a hilarious, hilarious, hilarious good time. And don’t think the funny references are all it has to offer like most Star Wars parodies. Summer of 74 is chalk full of wit, clever details, and intelligent social commentary that’s as timely as ever.

Oh, and don’t let Henry Kissinger distract you from the groovy key-in-the-bowl party scene at Dr. Vadars house. Good times, baby. Almost as much fun as finding out what happens to all of these characters at the end of the play. Absolutely hilarious! Or as Chewey would say, “Rurrugggghhruuh!!”

The REAL ‘Star Wars’.. The one you’ve never seen!!
by April Boden, Truther Talk Radio.

Fire up the van, roll a fatty and stick Grand Funk in the 8 track tape deck because you’re about to go cruising. The ‘Summer of ’74’ is raucous fun, complete with wacky tobacky smoke filled rooms, sex, drugs and rock n’ roll… It seems unlikely that in 2013 there would be a fresh take on the Star Wars series but this is it!!

The story follows a cast of strangely familiar characters including the self-proclaimed King of Barstow: Dr. Vader, his bratty but smart and pretty daughter: Princess, her dim-witted boyfriend: Han and Han’s hairy, inaudible, stoner best-friend, Chewey.

I found myself immediately being drawn into this simple 3 act play; following along as they cruise through the streets of Barstow in Hans souped up van or gossiping at the local hair salon about the well publicized sexcapades of the town gynecologist, Dr. Vader.

You may think you’ve seen, read and heard all things Star Wars but this is the story behind the story. Where exactly did George Lucas come up with the idea?? Hmmmm.. could it be? It’s so much fun!

This is the play I wish I could have done in college. Every theater department in every American campus should be doing it now and I will be the first to buy a ticket!

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