This year, the Library of Congress selected “American Graffiti” to be preserved in the National Recording Registry. But would the George Lucas film classic have met the same fate if it had been called “Burger City”?
Lucas had previously wanted to call the movie “Another Quiet Night in Modesto” before changing his mind and offering up “American Graffiti.” The Universal Pictures execs didn’t quite know what that title meant and requested he consider some alternatives. They furnished him with a list of 60 other titles, which he acknowledges are “dreadful.”
In the new Taschen book “The Star Wars Archives,” a photocopy of a page on Lucasfilm stationery includes the full list of 60 possible titles with the following introduction:
“Herewith the suggestions from Universal for possible title for ‘American Graffiti.’ Just file ‘em away somewhere to discuss upon completion of the film. I believe I have convinced [film executive] Ned Tanen to make this decision after the film has completed shooting. These titles are dreadful, anyway, but let’s keep them for the record.”
Slashfilm’s Peter Sciretta tweeted a photo of the document on Friday. Some of the titles aren’t that awful, such as “The Last Free Summer” or even “Kids” (hey, it worked for Harmony Korine!), but those generic names are far less iconic than “American Graffiti.” Producer Francis Ford Coppola allegedly wanted “Rock Around the Block,” and the list includes something akin to that, “Rock Around the Clock.”
But the list is far more flush with the dreadful titles. “The Fast and the Deadly” sounds like a precursor to the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, the drive-in reference “Burger City” pops up in more than one iteration, and “Make-Out” appears in some form with disturbing frequency (yes, there’s even a “Make Out at Burger City”). The biggest head-scratcher is the final title on the list: “Rebus.”
Check out the full list below: