Episode 45: Movie Stunt Leads To Real-Life Deadly Game (1993)
3:40PM Mar 13, 2023
Whoa, just curious. Welcome to Just curious media. This is that's a crime. I'm Jason Connell.
And I'm Sal Rodriguez.
All right, so we're back for another crime.
having said that in a while.
Yeah. Yeah. It's been a while. That sounded good. I like to hear that.
Yeah. The last crime we put out. November 30 2022. I know, December got the best of me. We had to go out of town. Yes, a bit of a family scare. And everything's okay. In a better place. But that takes you out of town. You come back to the holidays. It was nuts. But we are back together now. So and I'm excited to be doing this crime with you.
Yeah, I'm happy to be here and this crime. I think specifically, this particular crime that we're covering today is unlike anything that we've covered. That's right. This is this is sort of an odd one.
Very odd. And today we're breaking down the True Crime Story of movie stunt leads to real life deadly game in 1993. Wow, that would make it 30 years old sound that was not deliberate. I came across this. I remembered it. And I'm excited to break it down here with you to dive into things. And are you ready? Yes, yes. I'm ready. Okay. So 30 years ago, in 1993, a movie entitled The program came out. Right, which I saw in the theater.
Nice. Because it's a sports movie, right? Yeah. Football,
movie football movie. It deals with a college. It's kind of like Florida State. FSU. They're called ESU for the state at the time was very good. I say them because the colors and some of the symbols look the same. But you're following this program where it's all about, I mean, blue chips kind of had these layers to it, which was a basketball movie with Nick Milty made by William Friedkin. But this is akin to that, like the inner workings, the program is everything. You know, we'll cover up anything we need to because the program is really what's carrying the schools you know, and this is a lot of this is true. I went to a big college where they had a big time college program and basketball program. We went to the Final Four when I was there. The football got better since I left because T Boone Pickens, rest in peace left that program the school, billions of dollars, and all of a sudden, mild school was like, Wait a second, we have a new stadium and now we're like top 10 of the country. But I've seen it I knew enough athletes to think like, oh my god, they do cover these things up. So it wasn't lost on me. But this movie is a bit overdramatized okay. It's a fun movie. It's not a great movie, but always enjoyable. And for the time when I saw it. In my early days, I thought, Oh, this is great. You know, and of course, I loved loved the coach, which was played by Cohn, the famous Khan, you know who I'm talking about? Sure, James Caan, right, James content because you're calm Jimmy is gonna go. Godfather Rest in peace, James Caan, but he's fantastic as the coach, and it was directed by David S. Ward. Now, I don't know the name because and I love movies. I'm a cinephile. But I was like, oh, yeah, okay, let me look him up again. He wrote and directed the movie. He also wrote and directed Major League major league to, to big sports movie, especially Major League, and he was the writer of the steam, which I love that movie classic. Right. So Newman, Redford. And he did many more things. Well, that's who put this in play. And the cast again, James Caan beyond him. Halle Berry, Omar Epps, Kristy Swanson, Greg Shaffer. He plays the quarterback Joe Kane, and he's trying to get the Heisman and they're, you know, publicizing him as Kane is able. That's like one of the storylines. It's kind of funny. But anyway, I saw in the theater, I knew it well, but So you're telling me no recollection.
Whenever I think of dates, I think of where I was, and you know, where I was at in my life. At that time, I seen movies in that spell. I would say that there was a period in time in the maybe mid 90s. So you know, 9394 95, where I probably wasn't seen a ton of movies. Yeah, yeah, probably. I probably wasn't I wasn't a cinephile during those few years in the 90s, I would say and then I got into movies again in the late 90s. Okay, yeah, there was a little a little absent. So I don't know what the hell I was doing but movies out yeah, probably not a ton of them.
Well, I hadn't seen a lot of good football movies in a while. Not since North Dallas 40, which is incredible. But our Rudy comes out in the early 90s, that was incredibly impactful. And then a great movie. So I was all about going to see them. And so I went with friends. And we went and saw this. And in that original release, now, I'm in the movie theater. The film contained a scene where several e LSU. Football players lay on the yellow dividing line of a busy local road as a test of their courage. I remember this scene vividly. And I thought, Oh, wow, that's, you know, it plays well, for the movie in the context of things. You know, a team is all about camaraderie. And of course, you're testing one another. It's a lot of that stuff going on a lot of peer pressure. So I remember it. Well. That was a cool scene. Sure enough, well, now this infamous, same Joe came in this infamous scene, I should say, Joe Kane, played by Greg Shaffer, he is the first ally down so here's your quarterback, right? The leader of the team, he's laying down the middle of the road. And he's reading aloud a Sports Illustrated article about him. Kind of that was poking holes in his game a little like, okay, you
don't think I didn't know that he was reading about himself. He's read about himself, like
anything, I'm afraid of pressure, you think I can't handle the big moment. And that that kind of, you know, I'm paraphrasing here. And then all the while while cars are passing, and it's the way it's done in the movie, it's like, this is fun, you know, hey, you crazy kids. And then he does it in alignment gets involved the defensive lineman and running back. So they're all just starting to create this like human snake or you would say, Yeah, Centipede, and they're just down or down a line. And yeah, it's high risk. But it's also like, you know, they're really not in that much danger. It's moving in, I never thought twice about I thought it was a cool scene. I question it. Now,
I have to point something out. That to me is very important. And that is the street itself or the highway itself. Because even in our description here, we say yellow dividing line, but actually wasn't the yellow dividing line, but rather a broken white line. So it was not as I originally imagined it, which will be a let's say, a two lane highway with a yellow solid line. Now, if you were to lay down in the middle of that two lane highway, where cars are going in opposite directions, that would not be as dangerous as the way they are actually doing it, which is laying on the broken line with cars going in the same direction, which means they are free to change lanes at any time. The right I mean that. So I would say that, I would honestly say that to lay on a broken white line is more dangerous than to lay on a solid yellow dividing line.
Yeah, I agree. And I took that from one of the articles and put it in there. And then I went and found the scene. And you're absolutely right, what you've seen the same too, because now you can bring this comment. And you're right, it was not the yellow line. It was just a random broken line. And you can do anything you want on it. You could pass anybody you can pass it up online. But that aside, we have this scene, we're going to put it on here with a pipe through the audio. And we did this in another episode recently. And sometimes the audio cuts out we're going off YouTube. Hopefully it works. We're going to pipe it right in and we'll watch the scene and we'll continue to talk about what we haven't even gotten to the crime which is tragic. We're setting the stage.
Yeah, it is quite a stunt. I've never seen this stuff before. And I was really I mean I don't know if the word is impressed but I Yeah, it is quite a spectacle.
Yes, it is. So bear with me. As you will see the screen behind me. Tell me when you see
things or see it saying given the YouTube logo.
That's a good start. That's a good start. Yes, it's and we can talk over it there's a lot of downs
Yeah, because this is not a trailer. This is a very scene where we go Can you hear me I can hear you. I'm gonna have a hell of a walking out. Were they in a bar? Is that what they were in the bar?
Can we dancer? Oh, yes. It's a nice Amateur Night. Drunk.
Football players walking out of a bar. Not good.
That guy was a nightbreed
Anything Joe and you are in no shape.
At Kubiak from Parker. Those can't lose. So he's out there.
Come on. What are you doing?
Breaks Joe get back here. Well, he was he was doing stuff like this because he's drunk off his ass. Oh, great.
Yeah, not the yellow line.
Come on. Let's go get get definitely done yet.
And he just sits down and he pulls out the Sports Illustrated.
What are they shot that.
That car is pretty close.
To dangerous runner who seems.
He's reading the article here.
Come on. This isn't funny. Let's get out of here. Hey bud, they're talking about how good I am under pressure.
How good he is under pressure.
Once somebody drifts across the line to pass, you can't take the heat off the highway Come on No hit me first. Start with black local wonderbread out there. Hey, you know they're making us look like a bunch of pussy standards stuck in our thumbs. Yeah, there's no decency.
Yeah, let me go lay the street. White boys.
And they go oh, it's joy. Lauren Adams. Everybody Chasing Amy.
Oh, yeah, that's a yes. Oh, she's a doll.
He doesn't do it. Right.
Oh,he's a rookie. Not a rookie. Sorry. This isn't pros. is a freshman.
Yeah, you know what, you know, yellow or white? Whatever. Those. This is a day. Very dangerous. Very, very dangerous.
still read the zone. We're not going to he doesn't go.
Yeah, I'd never seen this before. Pretty amazing. Yeah, pretty dangerous. And thrilling. You know what I mean? Young stops drunk people that what a thrilling thing to do. You only live once. Very dangerous. You don't you don't make sense. So dangerous is that you're relying you're having to rely on all these strangers driving by you?
Absolutely. Why? Yeah,
I can't read. I don't know these people. I don't know what they're gonna do. You know? So it's incredibly dangerous.
It plays well in a movie. Yeah. Great, thrilled teenagers. 20 year old kids football players, very impressionable. I was in my 20s when I saw this early 20s. I thought it was great. I wasn't about to go do it. But I thought it was a cool scene. I got the impact. You weren't gonna go do it. But I wasn't 15 1617 around peer pressure. So this scene right here that you just witnessed, led to several real life teenagers imitating exactly what they saw, which is indeed a crime sow obstruction of traffic.
Is it a misdemeanor?
Probably a misdemeanor. We cover everything from a misdemeanor to a murder.
No, but you know what? I feel like there should be something between a misdemeanor and a felony like like, like something in the middle write something like like, because because a misdemeanor could be like, I don't know, you break somebody's window. That's a misdemeanor, right? Okay, that's bad. But you broke a window. Misdemeanor versus felony, you assault somebody. Somewhere in between somewhere in the middle of those. I think this should fall.
When you break that window. Do you break it to unlock it and come in or use me like break away with a ball?
Maybe vandalizing? Yeah, analyzing Frisbee? Yeah, there you go. Yeah.
So, in one case, of these teenagers imitating what they saw 18 year old Michael Shindell Decker of Polk Pennsylvania, was killed almost instantly, when he and a friend were struck by a pickup truck while lying on a two lane highway copying the stunt. His friend 17 year old Dean Bartlett was critically injured. I mean, that is tragic to teenagers, football players, maybe maybe not figured they would imitate this. They probably just saw the program. And you had to see it in the theater because we'll get into what happens to this particular scene. So they're talking about it. It's just the two of them, which is kind of shocking. Unless others were standing by we don't know. But this is so tragic. Yeah. And then in another case, 17 year old Michael Macias of Syosset, New York, which I had never heard of says that New York was put in intensive care after being hit by a car while mimicking the same. So these are just three cases I've come across one death, two critically injured. Hopefully they lived and recovered from this. But law enforcement authorities and family members said the teens were copying the Daredevil stunt from the program and feared that scores of other young men are copying the stunt as well, or they were going to and Michael's mother, Michael Chenault Decker, his mother Patricia gave the following statement. So why don't you read that for us?
My son saw the movie last weekend. And I know he was playing the game because the kids playing it with them told me, they said about 30 other kids were playing the game a few miles up the road in another town the same night. As a parent, I know that 95% of what gets on TV or in the movies gets into kids heads. Why are they putting these movies out for our children?
I mean, here's a mother who's just lost her teenager, of course, like I would be outraged. And it's easy to lay blame. I mean, I get it. Why is this in a in this movie at the same time? I mean, this is probably before video games got darker. And there's a lot more sadistic things out there.
This was before viral trends. In 93, how does a trend? What's it called propagate? extrapolate? How does it How does it trend go viral and 93
people are going to see the movie. It was popular when you have a movie that also deals with football and team sometimes your team goes to see the movie. So you see it in these big waves. I saw that. I mean, it happened a lot. But in fact, when I was working in a movie theater years after this came out, not too many years later, but it was after I worked in a movie theater and the college town that I went to up by the way, I went to Oklahoma State Stillwater, Oklahoma big program. The night before games, football games, which is a bigger team, you know, there's like 5060 players, they would call set up an event because they stay at a hotel that night. They keep the team on lockdown for a home game. Yeah. And they will go see a movie as a team. And I remember taking that call, and then giving them the rundown and then blocking out that movie for them. They didn't see the program that wasn't there then but you know, they would do that. So here's Imagine if they saw the program as a team, everyone's just, you know, on another wavelength and people walk away with ideas. So it was that was the viral then you would probably go see it. See it often people would talk about it. I saw we were talking about it. And honestly, I was hearing about these tragedies right after Okay, hit the airwaves hit the news. Wow. So it was definitely it wasn't like we were prehistoric pre internet. It was just different. There was less noise. So these things would perk up. You know, well,
I just get on the I didn't get my first email until and then. Yeah, that's about 97
The news had a bigger role.
I wasn't cruising around online to like 9798 Yeah, is that late course? When were a lot of people when were you?
Late 90s. Late mid? I was mid 90s. Yeah. Anyway, so the word got out there. People knew about it. So and that you know, when you're a kid you love a movie. You might go to multiple viewings, right.
Yeah. So because you know what, you know why then it was easy to sneak into movies back wow, look
at you look at sound that's okay.
Yeah, I just I just realized that yeah, if I was attending the movies in the early 90s, I probably was sneaking in. Definitely sneaking in somewhere sneaking them. Also sneaking out of the trunk of the drive in for Drive
Thru drive ins. I was gonna call it drive thru drive thru movies. Within one of the movies that I did book the team to come see was The Long Kiss Goodnight. Ever see that? I've heard it under Davis. Very good. And they I knew like I got to choose because like, what do you think Jason and I took him to that movies like this one, the team's gonna love it and I popped in during the movie. They're just like, it was a really fun action movie. Anyway, due to these tragic events, Buena Vista did remove this scene from the film. I knew this too. They went in and it was still in theaters. So no post theatrical versions of the movie contain the scene, leading many to speculate that the studio destroy the actual negatives of the controversial sequence. What Come on. However, as we've all just witnessed, the same can be found on YouTube. And once or stated that the scene was not cut from the Hong Kong LaserDisc or the Australian DVD releases, for whatever reason? I don't wow, I don't
know, our people.
They said no, that stays. I think that
there are I think we've seen that. Well, I don't know you have these countries like China, which would have had version with it would have been more censored. Right. But then you have other countries where the version is less censored? Yeah, I think yeah, Australia. I'm not surprised. Hong Kong. Maybe I'm surprised. I would imagine that Hong Kong will be more restrictive.
What I don't know, though, because I saw it right when it came out. Yeah, I think it had a pretty good run. It was a different time. Maybe less screens, but stay sunscreens longer. I do believe they went in and took it out of the theatrical version. Because that's you can do that I've worked at theaters long enough, you just take it out. And then they had to make sure I'm sure some houses left it in. But it took it out. And then the DVD, I should say, VHS that came out first. I got a VHS when I worked at Blockbuster, have it brought it to some friends to show everybody. And we watched it. And it definitely wasn't in that because I explained
the whole reason you wanted to see the deleted
cell. They wanted to see no, they wanted to see the movie they'd never seen. Oh, it wasn't so much about that. Was it everybody knows different crew. And I showed it to them. And they really loved it for what it is. It's enjoyable. But yeah, that scene was not there. And I was like I see. And it wasn't, it was like a promo copy. Because I worked at Blockbuster, you could get a promo copy. And it would say like every so often, like, do not copy this property of blockbuster. But this is like an employee perk, you could just take it home and show people and couldn't copy it, or anything. So that was not on there that I recall. But Buena Vista and Touchstone Pictures, a division of Disney, were not liable, but did release a statement that offered condolences to the family, but defended the film. And so please read their statement, if you would.
The scene in the program clearly depicts this adolescent action as an irresponsible and dangerous stunt by a troubled and heavily intoxicated individual, and in no way advocates or encourages this type of behavior.
Well, they're they're individuals.
Well, what's funny is that I mean, I don't mean it's funny, but what's what's interesting is that they kind of wash their hands of responsibility, yet they remove the scene, yet they remove the same. Well, you know what, then though, I think that's a kind of a show of good faith. If you then like another thing. So like, we're not we're not responsible, ultimately responsible for your children. But we do want to go ahead and respond to your concerns. So we will
the optics are good. Well, I'm sure the backlash which I didn't start researching, I'm sure that like, we're not taking our team to go see that movie. We're not condoning that movie. So it was probably like thinking how we're gonna go to video rental soon. Let's take it out. And I really would be curious to see what David S Ward, the writer director thought about it, because I'm sure he's an artist, and he's directing this big movie. And I'm sure he doesn't want anybody to be hurt by something you've created. So I'm sure his take is maybe I don't know, it can be very personal. And like, wow, once I knew this was happening, it had to come out. Oddly enough, he was born in Rhode Island. So I don't know if he's fooling around these parts. And so maybe, maybe we'll have him on the program to talk about that program on the show. But that would be one thing. Only one thing. I've talked about how he wrote this thing. I would have gone for that first. But I would love to just know what his take was.
I would Yeah, that's exactly now that you bring that up. It's very interesting, because you know that writers will bring up stuff from their own life. I wonder if when he was young, he ever actually did a stunt like that? Or did he just conjured up for the movie? That's something odd to conjure up for a movie? That is an incredible stunt. It really is. I mean, yeah, as a stunt. I gotta say, it's impressive. It works. It works. Don't do it. Nobody do it. No, but it is pretty impressive.
And I thought about it. And I shouldn't just pass this over. But you know, make light of it. The scene was impactful. Like, if I had to think about a scene from the program, that's the scene I'm walking away with. A lot of other stuff is like, Oh, I've seen it. Oh, yeah, there's that's kind of cool. But that's a scene that I would think about, like, oh, yeah, I'm in the program. And they lay down and you ever crossed a busy street? Because you had to? And you think like, oh, it was always there. It wasn't like it just went away and lost on me is very impactful. And I should also point out if I have Mr. Ward on the show, it would be on Let's Talk movies, I probably wouldn't have mana, nilly just unless we just focused on the program. And this particular scene,
let's focus on how you're writing possibly caused the deaths of young people,
either this is a movie Puck, no, no, no, this is the crime podcast. So that's all I got. So I was fascinated to come across this again. And listen, this research, I didn't delve too, too deep because I had all this in front of me. But I wonder how many more scores of people did this. I mean, there was fear that this was going to be a copycat kind of thing. Obviously, these two cases, I believe there was more maybe not as reported this is older, it was hard enough to find these. But I wonder you know, if there wasn't waves more injured, and hopefully no more deaths, but highly possible, highly possible, as popular as this movie was,
but you know what, though? I think it's good that it did come out in 93 and not 2000 and 23, because it would become via, if they would call it the road challenge. It would go viral. And there would probably be 1000s of young people doing doing such a crazy stunt.
And when this did happen, and I definitely knew about it, I'm glad that they took the initiative and removed it, because it still be out there living today. Yes, we can find it online if you know what you're looking for. But people that pop it in, it's not even on their radar. And I think for that instance, once there's some sort of tragic trend happening, I think it was the right way to go. And especially underneath Disney's banner, they don't want that blood on their hands definitely do not.
I am for the sake of any actors who are in scenes that get deleted. Like, for example, if there was one of those football players who was only in that scene. Yeah, he was only in the road scene. And then they deleted Well, I would feel bad for that actor. But otherwise, I think everybody who was in the road scene is also in other scenes. Absolutely. So they'll still be able to have their camera time.
While the stunt doubles, maybe not. But the actors. Yes. And that covers the True Crime Story of movie stunt leads to real life deadly game in 1993. Sal, thank you for joining me as we get that's a crime back on track, and we will be back with more crimes.
Yeah, thanks for bringing the show back. And thanks for bringing this to my attention. Never heard of the movie. Never heard of the stunt never heard of the crime. So thank you.
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