When my friend Tom Huckabee and I were seventeen, we pooled our money and bought a new Kodak Ektasound Super-8 system. One of the first films we made was a black and white pseudodocumentary called Victory at Auschwitz, which we shot in the old train yard off West Vickery in Fort Worth. It was the story of Americans liberating a train of Jews who were being sent to a concentration camp. I played the American who dies trying to liberate the prisoners; I did a death scene where I’m running and I fall into the mud. Somebody’s father had Nazi paraphernalia that he had brought home after World War II, so we had rifles and wore German helmets and hung a huge swastika banner on one of the boxcars. One day we looked up, and all of a sudden, there were four Fort Worth squad cars racing into the lot, surrounding us, with the police jumping out with bullhorns, yelling, “Drop your weapons!” We filmed them too! What saved us was that one of the officers knew one of our buddies—so all was well that ended well.
Bill Paxton was born and raised in Fort Worth and graduated from Arlington Heights High School. He has acted in more than forty films, including last year’s Twister, and recently produced his first film, Traveller, which had its world premiere at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin on March 8.