In an interview with John Ritter at a Kansas City Radio Station in 1980, John was asked about the home town of "Steve Nichols." Three time during the film, there are references to Cawker City as being his home town as well as there being a Cawker City High School green and white banner hanging on the wall. John replied that he thought Cawker City was made up by the writers. Almost immediately, the radio station was flooded with calls informing John that there really is a Cawker City, Kansas and that it is the home of the World's Largest Ball of Twine.
Several nods to Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, including showing cab drivers hanging outside of the Belmore Cafeteria at night. And the casting of Leonard Harris, who played Senator Charles Palantine in Taxi Driver, playing the Mayor. In one scene, while the mayor is giving a speech, he has both arms raised in the same fashion as Taxi Driver.