Kevin Bacon Returns to ‘Footloose’ High School 40 Years Later

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Hours before prom night at Payson High School in Utah, actor Kevin Bacon returned to the campus, which was where 1984’s Footloose was filmed.

“It’s been a long time – 40 years – that just blows my mind, you know. Things look a little different around here. I’d say the thing that looks the most different is me,” Bacon, 65, quipped when he took the stage on the football field on Saturday, April 20.

The student body campaigned to bring Bacon back to the school before they are relocated to a new facility next fall, but they didn’t just want to give Bacon an honorary diploma. They decided to volunteer for his charity, Six Degrees, hours before prom. They held an activation to build 5,000 kits full of essentials to help those in need.

According to Six Degrees, the event pulled together over $865,000 worth of product distribution, totaling 121,900 items. Four organizations will receive the care kits, which include hygiene items, socks, journals, reusable water bottles, shelf-stable goods and an offer for three months of free counseling.

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“When I first heard about this #BaconToPayson thing, I was like ‘Wow, this is crazy.’ But you were all just tireless, unrelenting in your desire to have me return. And you talked me into it!” Bacon told the community. “I think it’s great to see that kind of commitment to anything. I also think that it’s amazing the power that this movie has had to just kind of bring people together, and connect on the basic ideas there are behind the movie – you know, standing up to authority sometimes, and to being forgiving to people who are not exactly the same as you, and for standing up for your own freedoms and your right to express yourself, and for having compassion for other people.”

He concluded, “And that’s what all of you have shown here, by turning what could be just a movie star coming back to get a pat on the back, into something really positive. And that’s what we’re going to do today when we build these kits. So thank you, thank you so much. And thank you so much especially for your commitment to giving back to your community and to the people you’re sharing this planet with, and I’m thrilled that we’re going to be working here together today.”

In addition to volunteering for the nonprofit, Bacon received an honorary diploma for his “timeless performance and forever inspiration left at Payson High School.” He remarked that it’s the only time he’s seen his name on a diploma. The students also presented him with his very own varsity jacket that read “Footloose 1984” on the back.

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Footloose hit theaters February 1984 and followed teenager Ren McCormack (Bacon) as he moved from Chicago to a small town where dancing and rock music are illegal after a local tragedy. Ren is determined to help get the law overturned. The film earned $80 million at the box office, nearly 10 times its production budget.

In the 40 years since Footloose hit theaters, it has been adapted as a stage musical and was even remade in 2011 with Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough leading the cast.

While the soundtrack is iconic, with Kenny Loggins‘ “Footloose” and Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” nominated for Oscars, Bacon has admitted that he tries to avoid the songs.

“I go to the disc jockey and hand him $20 and say, ‘Please don’t play that song,’” Bacon said during a Conan appearance in 2013. “A wedding is really not about me, it’s about the bride and groom, and it’s embarrassing.”





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