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Picturing the Past 129: Dirt track on the big screen

Posted Friday, September 2, 2011, at 4:22 PM

Action's almost ready to begin on a scene from the movie "J.D. and the Salt Flat Kid" at Duck River Speedway in 1977. (T-G File Photo by Bo Melson)
Duck River Speedway on the big screen? It made the big time in 1978, when "J.D. and the Salt Flat Kid" was released.

Scenes for the movie, which starred Slim Pickens and Mickey Gilley, were shot at the speedway in May 1977.

It wasn't exactly a screen sensation, but at least some locals got to see themselves at the movies.

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I've seen the movie twice, once at the old 41-Drive-In and again late one night on TV. The sad part is Mickey Gilley never appeared in the movie. The part filmed here was supposed to be a stunt driver going around a few times and then crashing through a fence (that was essentially cardboard made up to look like a fence. After that took place Mickey moved behind the wheel of the car.

The people doing the filming knew nothing about dirt track racing. They failed to have the track wet. So, the scene was primarily a very dusty mess.

-- Posted by bomelson on Sun, Sep 4, 2011, at 3:41 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.