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Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

It's Only a Paper Moon

Posted Sunday, October 3, 2010, at 12:33 PM

While perusing the cable channels on a weekend with no Husker football and nary a college football game that held much interest, there was a chance surfing moment that led captured the afternoon.

When the cable surfing landed on the channel airing the 1973 black and white classic "Paper Moon", the surfing stopped. I was bound and determined to see 'scary' bridge on film. Last year in a story in the "Falls City Journal" there was mention that Scary Bridge had a bit part in the movie. Scary Bridge is also known as the Rulo Bridge. (Younger daughter and I have called it Scary Bridge since we drove over it the first time. It is simply narrow and you really hope you don't met anyone on the bridge.)

The movie about ten minutes in when I started watching. It was the scene in the diner when Addie is having a fit at Moze that he has her $200. For the next hour and a forty- five minutes, I watched intently. Never mind that it was in black and white. The story sucked me in as it had years ago. However, I was watching it mindful of the chemistry that the father/daughter duo of Ryan and Tatum O'Neill had and the performance that won Miss O'Neill her Oscar.

It was the geographical references which kept popping up that captured my attention as well. Admittedly, the screenwriter put the fictional characters in these are real places. However, I was watching for a momentary glimpse of the bridge. The film was shot in and around Hays, Kansas and in and around St. Joseph, Missouri back in the day they needed an authentic bridge of the 1930's for the scene and apparently Scary Bridge was what they needed.

Scary Bridge's big moment comes in some of the closing scenes of the movie. Moze beat one of the country brothers (Randy Quaid) in wrestling so he could trade his car for their truck. Moze had cheated a local bootlegger whose brother was the local law enforcement (both parts were played by John Hillerman - Higgins from Magnum PI.) Moze knew he needed to travel in a different car. The next scene cuts to Addie steering the old truck while Moze pushes up the bridge. The next scene - which had to have been shot from the rail road bridge to the north - shows Moze chasing the truck. Scary Bridges final scene shows Moze catching up on the Missouri side of the bridge, which in the movie is only 5 miles from St. Joseph.

Admittedly the story in the movie has Addie and Moze running from Kansas to Missouri when in reality Scary Bridge goes from Nebraska to Missouri. But anyone who has ever watched the movies know that writers and directors can and do take literary license with their stories. In reality the bridge is 40 plus miles from St. Joe. Plus the area in the movie is not the same as the book on which the movie is based.

At any rate, I had been able to see Scary Bridge's big cinematic moment. I will most likely think of the movie every time we traverse the bridge from now on until she is dismantled. Funny how the little things can make an impression



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Betsy Coolidge
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