DALLAS — Thirty-three years ago, Dallas played a part in a movie starring James Garner and James Woods, called “Promise.”
The 800 block of Main Street in downtown Dallas, including the Polk County Courthouse, the First American Title Company Building, and the Blue Garden served as the back drop for several scenes of the movie about a man, Bob, (James Garner) who inherits the care of his schizophrenic younger brother (James Woods) after their mother dies.
“The scenes that were filmed here are mostly in the downtown, like at the courthouse and in the Blue Garden,” said Shelly Jones, the marketing director for the Dallas Area Visitors Center. “There are two scenes in the Blue Garden. Pretty pivotal scenes.”
Jones said she wasn’t aware of Dallas’ Hollywood history until she recently submitted Dallas in a database of possible movie locations. She reported the result to the center’s board of directors, and one of them mentioned that in 1986, part of the movie was filmed in Dallas.
That gave her an idea.
“I was like really? I didn’t know that. So, then I started thinking, what if we did a screening of it just to get the community together?” she said.
She approached Dallas Cinema owner Jeff Mexico, who said he had wanted to host a screening a few years ago, but couldn’t find a copy of the movie. Jones said he looked again and found a DVD.
The timing is perfect as long-closed, the Blue Garden was preparing to reopen, so Jones asked owner if the Visitors Center could host an after party at the restaurant and bar. Those discussions began in February, but Blue Garden owner Bob Collins assured her the doors would be open on time.
“He said, ‘Even if we open for that one day, it’s going to be open,’” Jones said.
Dallas Cinema will show the movie at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $5 and are limited to 200.
Jones said she’s had people in town and on social media talk about their memories from the brief filming. She said they changed the traffic pattern on Main Street to two-way for the movie.
“I’ve had some security guards tell me some stories and some extras told me stories. People saw James Garner practicing his fly fishing out in the parking lots because that was part of a scene, he was doing some fly fishing,” Jones said. “Not a lot of it was filmed here in Dallas, but it’s enough that it’s neat to watch it.”
Jones said movie DVDs and raffle tickets for a gift basket will be on sale at the theater.
The Blue Garden after-party is from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. The restaurant will serve a limited menu of food and cocktails built around a Promise theme.
“They have this really killer sandwich on the menu called The Meltdown. The reason it’s called that is because during one of the scenes in the Blue Garden, the schizophrenic brother has a total meltdown in the Blue Garden,” Jones said. “It has super-thick, homemade parmesan bread, with three cheeses and ham, grilled. That’s going to be tasty.”
Promise signature cocktails include one named after the movie that is a raspberry sangria, and another called Mood Boost that is blood orange gin, cranberry and Sprite.
Johnny Wheels & The Swamp Donkeys will play in the lounge during the event.
Noting that the Blue Garden just opened on Saturday (May 11) and can only seat 300, Jones said people may have to wait for a seat. There will be a “selfie station” out front to keep people entertained, Jones said.
She said Mexico and Collins have been more than willing to help create an afternoon of Dallas nostalgia.
“It’s just a fun time for people to explore the Blue Garden and relive ‘Promise,’” she said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m excited to have the community come out and enjoy Dallas and our little claim to fame.”
Dallas on screen
What: “Promise” showing and after party.
When: Saturday. Film at 11 a.m. and after party at 12:30 p.m.
Where: Movie: Dallas Cinema, 166 SE Mill St.; after party at the Blue Garden, 827 Main St., Dallas.
Admission: $5. Purchase tickets at https://www.facebook.com/DallasCinema.