Old-fashioned fun

Published 9:52 am Saturday, May 9, 2009

The movie “Deuce Coupe,” which originally aired on May 1, 1992, celebrated its 17th anniversary on the big screen in Franklin on Friday, May 1.

Presented by the Downtown Franklin Association, it was preceded by both a classic car show and sock hop at Barrett’s Landing.

The film’s producer, Bob Sloat, and director, Mark Deimel, flew in to Franklin on Thursday for three days of festivities surrounding the movie.

On Thursday evening, DFA board members and invited guests had an opportunity to “meet and greet” Sloat and Deimel at Fred’s Restaurant. Both men had many fond memories of the time they spent in Franklin filming the movie back in 1989-1990 and were very interested in all that the city has been through since that time, including two 500-year floods.

One of the anecdotes that the director gave was about an experience of casting the “Deuce Coupe” movie. The starring role came down between two actors. The two thespians were fairly equal in their acting ability and the deciding factor between Brian Bloom (who eventually landed the role) and the other actor was based on their names. The casting committee didn’t care for the other actor’s last name — Pitt. As in Brad Pitt.

Friday afternoon, R. Picket Bug ,who portrayed “Big Al” in the movie, also traveled to Franklin. All three men — director, producer and actor — were very gracious in greeting the fans who approached them to talk about the movie.

Several local residents were extras in the film. Many who had moved out of the area came back home to be here for the showing. Darrell Casper, who was a paperboy in the movie, ran into the director at the front gate. While both men had changed substantially in 17 years, they recognized and greeted each other warmly.

Prior to the screening, DJ Wayne Cooke played music from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. He also did the giant inflatable screen for the event.

A car show featuring cars of the period were lined down the south end of Main Street. Moviegoers were given the opportunity to vote for the “People’s Choice” award and the winner was a blue 1966 Ford Mustang owned by James Williams from the Carrsville area. He received a trophy for his victory.

Two young children, Jordan and Gabrielle Johnson, came dressed for the occasion. Gabrielle wore a white blouse and poodle skirt which her grandmother had made; her brother wore the requisite jeans and T-shirt.

While the weather that evening was beautiful, there was a brisk wind which delayed the setup of the big screen. Once the screen was inflated, participants had the opportunity to view a PowerPoint presentation featuring 440 photos of various events in Franklin over the past year including the Fall Festival, We Be Jammin’, Christmas Parade, Day in the Park, Relay for Life and more.

Once the movie began, silence swept over the crowd. People were especially interested in the scenes showing Franklin’s Main Street and the Pace’s Court area.

The commemorative T-shirt was a hot item. The shirt logo was designed by Victor Story, DFA president. Jena Cutchin donned the original T-shirt from 17 years ago. A few shirts in limited sizes are still available at the Downtown Franklin Office (562-6900).

DFA Main Street Manager Dan Howe estimates there were about 600 people at Barrett’s Landing for the event. Many of those attending had seen the original movie and commented that this movie — which had been edited since the original version was released — was an improvement over the film they saw.

On Saturday, Story hosted the DFA Board and guests to his home at Lake Gaston for a Pig Pickin’. Mayor Jim Council presented Deimel and Sloat with a “key to the city”.

Deimel is now editing the next “Shrek” movie which is due for release in 2010. The movie’s producer, Sloat, is one of the teams that produce the Rose Bowl Parade. Of course, they were encouraged to make a “Deuce Coupe 2.”

Story conceived the event idea and was the driving force to bring “Deuce Coupe” back to Franklin.

At least 600 guests can say a hearty thank you as they harkened back to a simpler time.