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Best Oft-Told East Bay Urban Legend 

The Oakland Cranes

How many visitors and new residents have been told this one? "George Lucas was inspired by those container cranes on the Oakland waterfront when he designed the robotic AT-AT Walkers for The Empire Strikes Back." Not only is it oft-told, there are web sites devoted to the story, T-shirts depicting it, and even a mention on the Port of Oakland web site. True, it sort of makes sense, in a way. Lucas is a guy from the Bay Area, after all. How could he avoid being inspired by those mechanical horses in the sky? We even know that he spent time nearby when filming THX 1138, using the Webster Street Tube for a climactic subterranean race scene. But no. Lucas and his people have firmly denied it since the rumor appeared soon after the movie came out 1980. No. Nope. Isn't true.

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