Caught on camera — spot our hometowns in the movies



Audio articles on Wilson County News made possible by C Street Gift Shop in downtown Floresville

What connection do celebrities Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg, Goldie Hawn, and Jackie Chan have with Wilson County? They’ve all filmed movies here! Enjoy this compilation to explore in your spare time.

“The Sugarland Express” (1974), starring Goldie Hawn and directed by Steven Spielberg — his feature debut — was filmed in San Antonio, Floresville, and Sugar Land, Texas. It’s about a married couple of crooks running from the law after they steal their baby back from the state of Texas. The crime drama earned Best Screenplay at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival and is based on true events.

Another feature film that includes scenes from Wilson County is “The Great Waldo Pepper,” from the same era, but with a lighter feel.

Robert Redford stars as a World War II veteran pilot named Waldo Pepper who never actually flew in combat, though his stories lead one to believe otherwise. As a movie stunt pilot, he meets a German Flying Ace who stars in many of Pepper’s stories, and a glorious dogfight ensues. Can you spot any of Sutherland Springs in the background?

For a completely different take, check out Jackie Chan in his first American movie and a box-office hit in 1980, “The Big Brawl.” It’s also called “Battle Creek Brawl” and is a typical martial arts-fighting Chan film. Can you recognize any Wilson County landmarks in the Chicagoset film?

If a chilling true story is more down your alley, “I am a Killer” is a documentary on Netflix about murderers on death row and what led to the crimes they committed. Episode 203 features Leo Gordon Little, who killed a young man in cold blood in 1998 just outside La Vernia.

Little now claims to be a man of God and hopes to be released, since his sentence was commuted from execution, due to him being a minor at sentencing. Not only does the episode feature a few local residents, cameos of the town appear in the show.

While Wilson County locations play feature roles in these productions, you also can test your recognition skills with episodes of “Friday Night Tykes,” and in films:

•“Thaddeus Rose & Eddie” (1978) — starring Johnny and June Carter Cash

•“Portrait in Sepia Tone” (2008)

•“The Song” (2014).

Arcadia Theatre special showings

Natalie May, owner of the Arcadia Theatre in Floresville, hopes to show some of these feature films as soon as she can accommodate a safe reopening.

In the meantime, she invites photos from community members who played as extras in these films. Pictures to be considered for use in a preshow of these locally filmed features should be sent to arcadiafloresville@gmail.com.

lindasue@wcn-online.com