SONOMA - Spring 2012
Letter to the Editor
I have a dream. There is a car on a turntable in Francis Ford Coppola’s family-friendly Geyserville winery that perfectly connects the disparate elements of the Sonoma cinema scene. I want to drive the car.
It is a 1948 Tucker, stuff of Detroit legend, an advanced machine 20 years ahead of its time and the subject of a Francis Ford Coppola film shot partly in Sonoma at the Armstrong Estates mansion of Steve Ledson.
Coppola has two of the remaining 47 Tuckers, each now worth close to $3 million, if recent auction prices are a guide. And there’s an elegant arc to the Tucker story, part of the ongoing, unfolding presence of movie magic among the vineyards. Jeff Bridges, who played Preston Tucker, the visionary entrepreneur some speculate was blindsided by Detroit’s Big 3, came to Sonoma for the shoot, became friends with Ledson and eventually collaborated on a philanthropic bottle of “Be Here Soon” a meritage blend the sales from which still benefit Ledson’s Harmony Foundation for Children.
There are so many other cinematic threads in Sonoma it’s hard to keep track of them all, but the tapestry they weave spans the distance between Pixar/Disney’s John Lasseter, who has taken root in Glen Ellen, and Josh Farrell (Hutchinson), a Sonoma-grown actor/director/producer now promoting his online TV series, Back of the House.
Then there’s the Discovery Channel’s storm chaser Sean Casey, whose IMAX opus Tornado Alley opened nationwide just as he settled with hometown wife, Jennifer, in the Springs. And then, of course, there’s our own Bachelor Ben. And a lot more.
So, because it’s film festival time again, we’ve created a package of features and short subjects we think you’ll enjoy, including a look at disparate members of our local film family and a sit-down with John Waters, the filthiest, and perhaps the most charming, man alive.
I did not get to drive the Tucker. It’s still a dream.