In 1985, mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell (March 26, 1904–October 30, 1987) sat down with legendary interviewer and idea-monger Bill Moyers for a lengthy conversation at George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch in California, which continued the following year at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The resulting 24 hours of raw footage were edited down to six one-hour episodes and broadcast on PBS in 1988, shortly after Campbell’s death, in what became one of the most popular series in the history of public television. In the series Campbell presents his ideas about comparative mythology and the ongoing role of myth in human society
The Power of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work. A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people–including Star Wars creator George Lucas. With Bill Moyers, one of America’s most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power of Myth covers subjects from modern marriage to virgin births, from Jesus to John Lennon, offering a brilliant combination of intelligence and wit. The extraordinary series reveals how the themes and symbols of ancient narratives continue to bring meaning to birth, death, love, and war. From stories of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome to traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, a broad array of themes are considered that together identify the universality of human experience across time and culture. An impeccable match of interviewer and subject, a timeless distillation of Campbell’s work, The Power of Myth continues to exert a profound
Interview location: Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch
The interviews were conducted at Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch because of the impact that Joseph Campbell had on the creation of the famous Star Wars series. George Lucas was an avid admirer of Campbell’s writings, and used them as a direct reference in his creation of Star Wars. As a world-renowned mythologist, Joseph Campbell helped modern society understand the true power that storytelling has in our culture and within our personal lives. He studied and identified the universal themes and archetypes that are present in mythical storytelling across history and across the world. His seminal work, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, outlined what Campbell called the Hero’s Journey, a motif of adventure and personal transformation that is used in nearly every culture’s mythical framework.The archetypes that Campbell researched and defined were applied by storytellers across the world.