"So why not go with the book?"
"This is the movie," he said, smiling as usual.
When everybody moved to the Cotton Bowl for a whole week's shooting of the football sequences, Tom Fears had his gladiators ready. When Reynolds and Kristofferson found out who had been recruited, they didn't worry so much about the aches and bruises they were bound to accumulate, they worried mostly about embarrassing themselves in front of the pros, although Burt had played football in high school in Georgia and at Florida State, and Kris had played in high school in Texas and at Pomona College. Still, it had been a while.
Among the modest group that Fears had trained to simulate serious football mayhem without damaging a $1 million halfback or split end from good old United Artists Tech, there were: Too Tall Jones, Tom Henderson, Burton Lawless, Bill Gregory, Herb Scott and Tom Rafferty from the Cowboys; Steve Kiner, Zeke Moore, C. L. Whittington and Don Hardeman from the Oilers; Tim Guy from Tampa Bay; Louie Kelcher from the Chargers; Bud Magrum from the Chiefs; Jeff Severson from the Cardinals; all sorts of laborers from the Canadian League; any number of Fears' old chums from the World Football League; and Joe Kapp from the Supreme Court.
The best way to get spectators out to the "games" in a football movie, whether it's in the Cotton Bowl, the Orange Bowl or Veterans Memorial Stadium in Long Beach, is to have Reynolds and Kristofferson on hand. At times, Burt also had Chris Evert, Sally Field or Tammy Wynette on hand, but not many spectators realized it. In any event, if you start with Burt and Kris, you've more than likely assured yourself of 5,000 screamers. But then you have to give away things to get the other 15,000 you need in order for a skilled cameraman to make it seem like a game between somebody other than the Itasca Wampus Cats and the Hutto Hippoes.
In Dallas, the rounding-up process involved enlisting the aid of charities and merchants, distributing leaflets, running radio spots and newspaper ads, recruiting some of the Cowboys' cheerleaders and, for a possible clincher, announcing that a man named A. J. Bakunas would attempt a world-record jump from a helicopter onto an air mattress, and that another man named Marcus Graves would dangle upside down under a helicopter 1,300 feet above the stadium and wriggle out of handcuffs, thumbcuffs and a straitjacket.
The stunts were performed but everyone was looking for Burt and Kris at the time, and I'm not sure if anyone present can tell you today if Bakunas and Graves are still alive.
The truth is, I found an ad in the newspapers to be more fascinating than almost anything United Artists may be held responsible for in the movie. Part of the ad was devoted to instructing the spectator on what to do at a football game. In Texas?
While I have shortened ii somewhat, the ad said:
"Just wear what you would normally to a game but bring an extra bulky coat to fill another seat. You can also bring cameras, binoculars and stadium seats.