Before 'Star Wars' we all used to wonder what adventure in space would really, really look like. Up until then (pre-1977) much sci-fi looked fake, but a good amount was fairly decent, especially after the remarkable leap in special effects brought about in the late 1960s when '2001: A Space Odyssey' debuted. But the sense of adventure was never really captured--never fully realized until 'Star Wars' came out. After 'Star Wars' the sci-fi genre and it's creators finally "got it". George Lucas took some of the best elements of adventure films -wild shootouts and chases, the best of war films -fighter plane dog fights and heavy weaponry, the best of Westerns -the Cantina scene on the planet Tatooine, Han Solo in "cowboy" vest, the best of Romance (the kiss before Luke and Leia swing over the Death Star chasm), the best of auto films-Luke Skywalker, Imperial Stormtroopers, Han Solo, etc. treated their vehicles as 'cool machines', not just a means to an end; and put it all in a place we never thought it could all be found together -outer space! So a big thanks to George Lucas for combining the realistic special effects pioneered in '2001: A Space Odyssey' (made in the late 1960's!) with a longing sense of grand adventure! After Star Wars it all got good and exciting right up until this day. Without 'Star Wars' there would be no 'Alien' or the upcoming 'Prometheus' ('Alien' the movie was deliberately made because of the success of 'Star Wars'). Neither would there be a classic film on the level of 'Blade Runner'. Star Wars proved that comic book ideas and comic book-like ideas were a powerful and unstoppable force in visual storytelling. So again, a big thanks to George Lucas for hanging in there after so many movie studios turned down 'Star Wars' at the beginning. And a special thanks to 20th Century Fox producer Alan Ladd Jr. who green lighted Star Wars not because he thought the story was good or that it would make a lot of money. But for seeing the passion in Lucas' dream to create a space adventure film like no other.
Alan Ladd, Jr. (born October 22, 1937 in Los Angeles, California, USA) is an American film industry executive and producer. He is famous for giving George Lucas the go-ahead to make Star Wars and remained as Lucas' only support at times when the Board of Directors wished to shut down production. He is the son of actor Alan Ladd and Marjorie Jane (Harrold), whom Alan Ladd met in high school.
Ladd received the 2,348th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday, September 28, 2007.
He started in films as an agent in 1963. In 1969, Ladd moved to London to produce, making nine films. He returned to the States in 1973 to become Head of Creative Affairs at 20th Century Fox.
During three very successful years Ladd was President of Fox. Star Wars and Alien were a few of the classics during his tenure. But in 1979 Ladd left his position to found his own production company, The Ladd Company. He enjoyed great successes with comedies like Night Shift and Police Academy and Oscar Winners The Right Stuff and Best Picture, Chariots of Fire. The company also produced the cult classic Blade Runner.
In 1985, Ladd joined MGM/UA, eventually becoming Chairman and CEO of Pathé Entertainment. During his tenure MGM/UA enjoyed hits like A Fish Called Wanda, Moonstruck, and Thelma & Louise. Ladd reformed the Ladd Company with Paramount Pictures in 1993 where he produced the hits The Brady Bunch Movie and Best Picture Winner Braveheart.
Ladd is now producing independently with The Ladd Company.