History was made in the NFL last Sunday when Denver Broncos place kicker Matt Prater kicked a 64-yard field goal, breaking a 43-year-old record first set by Tom Dempsey of the New Orleans Saints. The 29-year-old Florida native, who first came to Denver wearing board shorts and a long-sleeve tee, made his kick in a 13-degree F chill in Denver’s thin mile-high air. Prater’s modern-day surfing-Macklemore look is a far cry from the old-school Dempsey, who made his kick in the last seconds in New Orleans’ Tulane Stadium in 1970 to beat the Detroit Lions, one of only two victories for the Saints that year.
Dempsey, who was born with a withered right arm and no toes on his right foot (on which he wore a special cut-off shoe), was in the second year of a career that would span most of the ’70s, by which time he was one of the few non-soccer style kickers left. Recently, his house was flooded during Hurricane Katrina, but he still cherished his memories of a record that was uncontested for 28 years (before being tied by three different kickers, two of them also up in Denver, as well as two in the last two years – steroids, perhaps?).
In honor of the official passing of the record I recommend an appropriate film from the year the previous record was set. Bigfoot (1970), is seat-of-the-pants funky, unpredictable, sloppy and in your face, just like the NFL from around that time. It all starts when a female pilot (a final role for Joi Lansing, the ill-fated Zita from the famous tracking shot at the beginning of Touch of Evil, and wife of Lester Flatt in Beverly Hillbillies) is forced to parachute into the High Sierra Forest, and is captured by the gigantic chief of a vaguely nefarious tribe of sasquatch. Then a lot of mutual messing ensues with a few wildly divergent scenes. John Carradine (the ‘Bard of the Boulevard’, father of David, Keith and Robert) plays a hunter with dreams of a circus paycheck, with Robert Mitchum’s brother as his bluegrass sidekick. Spike Jones comedy associate Doodles Weaver plays a park ranger. A kinetic coterie of Yamaha-riding ‘college kids’ includes another Mitchum (Robert’s son, Chris), one of Bing Crosby’s sons (Lindsay) with his wife, Del “Sonny” West, member of Elvis’ Memphis Mafia, and Haji, famous for Russ Myers’ Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill (1965) among others. Also involved in the mad dragnet are a Native American family, for a little moral weight and to let everyone know that sasquatch means “Bigfoot!” There’s also a great soundtrack by surf guitarist Richie Podolor, writer of ‘Let There Be Drums’ and in the middle of producing Steppenwolf’s ‘Born To Be Wild’, ‘Ride, Captain Ride’ by The Blues Image and ‘Mama Told Me (Not To Come)’ by Three Dog Night from their It Ain’t Easy album, to name only a few. It can be a hard habit to kick.
Non-stop classic horror can be found on the Chillings channel via FilmOn:
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