Dandy, Don

“When The Last Picture Show came out, everybody was talking about how bleak it all looked, but it just made me kind of homesick,” says Don Graham, who grew up in Collin County. It was 1971, and the then 31-year-old was living in Philadelphia and teaching a class on westerns at the University of Pennsylvania. “I was the only cowboy around,” he says. That personal connection made Graham—a professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Giant Country: Essays on Texas (Texas Christian University Press, 1998)—a good choice to produce an oral history of the making of the film, which has achieved a sort of mythic status. “It rang very true about the late fifties and early sixties in this country,” he says with a drawl. In fact, his bona fide Texas accent may have helped to loosen up interviewees like Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd. “When I got them talking, they would stay on the phone for up to an hour and a half. They really seemed to care about the film, and they had very positive memories.”

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