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Brewster McCloud (1970) Poster

Trivia

When Brewster and Suzanne are inside the Astroworld theme park, they enter the Lost World River Adventure. This particular theme ride was later renamed the River of No Return in 1976, and officially decommissioned in 1983. Astroworld, part of the Six Flags empire, was closed after 31 October 2005 and the entire park was razed in February 2006.
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On 5 December 1970, a record 23,930 people attended the premiere of the movie at the Houston Astrodome.
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Daphne Heap (Margaret Hamilton) is shown wearing red slippers (though they are identified as being rhinestone rather than ruby), a reference to Hamilton's role in The Wizard of Oz (1939). The shot includes a few bars of "Over the Rainbow" on the soundtrack.
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The movie premier took place inside the Astrodome. Harris County Judge Roy Hofheinz, who controlled the Dome at that time, promoted the movie by trying to sell tickets for cars to drive in and watch the movie. Failing this, VIPs watched the movie from folding chairs on the field.
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Robert Altman hated the script so much, he tossed it out and actors were coached on lines as they shot scenes.
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Part of the chase scene filmed in the Riverside Terrace neighborhood east of Almeda Road (e.g., where Shaft's Camaro Z28 crashes through an abandoned house; a dead-end cul-de-sac) was later bulldozed by the Texas Department of Transportation when State Highway 288 was built through a section of Riverside Terrace. This particular location (a sharp curve on North MacGregor east of Almeda Road) no longer exists and in its place the Highway 288 overpass was constructed, as well as the elevated sections for the service lanes.
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The scene where Sally Kellerman bathes in Houston's Mecom Fountain and feigns surprise into the camera is a parody of her famous humiliation scene in MASH (1970).
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Doran William Cannon had a clause in his contract prohibiting anyone else from receiving writing credit on this film. Thus he received the sole writing credit, although very little of his script beyond the basic story ended up in the movie.
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Casting director Gary Chason couldn't find anyone to play the Camera Store Clark, so decided to play the part himself.
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Suzanne's apartment features a poster for MASH (1970), also directed by Robert Altman.
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License plates of the cars are bird references: Abraham Wright-OWL 180, Suzanne Davis-DUV 222, Lousie- BRD SHT, and Det. Lt. Frank Shaft- DOD O86. Furthermore, Suzanne's car is a Plymouth Road Runner.
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The railroad viaduct where part of the chase scene took place is a former Houston Belt and Terminal rail line located west of Ardmore Street in the Riverside subdivision; this particular location was decommissioned (and demolished) in the early 1980s when State Highway 288 was under construction.
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The Y-shaped building seen in the opening credits is the Astrohall. After Reliant Energy owned the naming rights to the Astrodomain since October 2000, the Astrohall was demolished in May 2002 to make way for a parking lot for Reliant Stadium. In reality, the Astrohall was used for livestock exhibitions because the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was one of the tenants.
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When Abraham Wright is seen rolling downhill, the M & M Building is seen in the background. At the time of filming, the building was used by South Texas Junior College until 1974, when the University of Houston system took over the building and rechristened the building as the University of Houston - Downtown. The southbound lanes seen in the film during this particular scene was reconstructed in 2002 as part of the northern terminus of the METRORail line, which officially opened on January 1, 2004.
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Johnson is seen driving west on the Southwest Freeway (U.S. 59) in one scene of the film - at the time of filming, there was a road sign where eastbound traffic had to exit northeast. This particular exit is known to Houstonians as the Spur 527. This stretch of the Southwest Freeway was completed in May 1961; as of February 2004, plans are underway to reconstruct the freeway below grade level (in other words - the freeway will be in a trench). The freeway reconstruction was completed in June 2006.
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In the film, most of the greenspace surrounding the Astrodome was undeveloped (e.g. where Fannin and Knight Road intersect, along with a stretch of Holly Hall Road) back in 1970 - most of the area surrounding the Astrodome has been developed, either as retail or as part of the Texas Medical Center.
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First feature film to be filmed inside the Houston Astrodome.
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The original title of the film was "Brewster McCloud's Amazing, Sexy Flying Machine".
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A billboard next to a railroad crossing (location unknown) during the hot pursuit scene has an advertisement for the former MacRobert Chevrolet dealership in Houston, Texas.
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According to Robert Altman, the original setting was a New York airport.
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When Doran William Cannon was writing the script, he had in mind Austin Pendleton to play Brewster. Pendleton, who was in Skidoo (1968) written by Cannon, passed on it to do Catch-22 (1970).
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Bob Dylan showed some interest in the script.
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Robert Altman replaced cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth with Lamar Boren.
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Robert Altman's personal favorite of the films he directed.
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The first feature produced by Robert Altman's Lion's Gate Films.
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A single 70mm print of the film was struck for its premiere in the Houston Astrodome to be shown in front of over 23,000 people. By all accounts, it was a disaster with terrible sound problems.
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Robert Altman always referred to this as his boldest work.
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Released 11 months after MASH (1970) made Robert Altman a critical darling.
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First of seven films that Shelley Duvall made with director Robert Altman. Besides this film, they are Popeye (1980), Nashville (1975), 3 Women (1977), Thieves Like Us (1974), McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), and Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976).
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Robert Altman substantially changed screenwriter Doran William Cannon's script which displeased the author greatly. Cannon wrote a fiery editorial in the New York Times, calling the film "shit".
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The film's recurrent theme of birdshit was mirrored 24 years later in Altman's Ready to Wear (1994) which had a similar fixation with dog poo.
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At the time this film was shot, there was no recognized film industry in Texas. After its release, the Texas Film Commission was created in 1971 as a division of the Texas Department of Commerce. The commission became part of the Office of the Texas Governor in 1991 when Gov.Ann Richards took office.
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Film debut of Shelley Duvall.
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Louise is seen driving a 1970 AMC Gremlin. Five years after the film's release, the Houston Police Department used a 1975 AMC Gremlin as an experimental police vehicle for its Traffic Bureau division - no fleet orders came to fruition. The traffic bureau division is the predecessor of HPD's Traffic Enforcement Division.
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Brian McKay did a great deal of rewriting on the film without credit, and there was, as usual, a great deal of last-minute improvisation by director Robert Altman and the actors.
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Not the least of the changes made by Robert Altman to the original script was the spelling of the hero's surname - it was originally "McCleod".
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Doran William Cannon's script was in existence for some years before Altman's film was finally made. At one point, Bob Dylan had an option on the script and considered making the film with himself in the title role.
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