AIR FORCE WON
During the filming of Paramount Pictures’ I Wanted Wings (1941) at San Antonio’s Kelly Field, military aircraft soar overhead during a ground shot. The director angrily orders a general to “get those planes out of the air!”—and is promptly fired.
Filmed in (and above) four small Texas towns, The Great Waldo Pepper (1975) catapults Susan Sarandon to fame and Robert Redford into danger. Flouting insurers’ wishes, Redford, as a twenties-era aerial daredevil, performs several of his own stunts, such as stepping halfway out of a biplane’s cockpit onto its wing some three thousand feet above Texas.
Fans crash the Dallas sets of two movies starring pop singers: State Fair (1962), a Texified remake of the classic musical, featuring Pat Boone and Bobby Darin, and Bullet for a Pretty Boy (1970), a biopic about Pretty Boy Floyd with Fabian in the title role. Both movies are critical flops.
THE SKINNY ON SHELLEY
While filming Brewster McCloud (1970) in and around the Astrodome, director Robert Altman discovers Shelley Duvall. He casts the thin, goggle-eyed twenty-year-old as a lascivious usherette, and she becomes a staple of his seventies projects, including Nashville and McCabe and Mrs. Miller.
Just for kicks, Jackie Chan films a kung fu western in Dallas. After The Big Brawl (1980), he goes on to become Asia’s biggest action-adventure hero and a crossover success in American theaters.
THE OFFAL TRUTH
Producers of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 2 (1986) purchase tons of guts from an Austin-area rendering plant. The animal parts rapidly spoil in the heat, forcing the substitution of oatmeal for one dramatic scene.
FLOWING DOWN TO RIO
Mexican-born Anthony Quinn loses the title role in Viva Zapata! (1952) to hot young newcomer Marlon Brando. He settles for playing the revolutionary’s brother. The two actors later make their peace during a, er, urinating contest in the Rio Grande.
In 1952 Brackettville mayor James “Happy” Shahan persuades Paramount to shoot a western at Fort Clark, a onetime cavalry post nearby. Soon his little town rules as Texas’ movie capital, hosting the likes of Charlton Heston ( Arrowhead, 1953), James Stewart ( Two Rode Together, 1961, and Bandolero, 1968), and of course, John Wayne ( The Alamo, 1960).