PITFALLS OF MEMORY

Kevin Bacon Was Not in ‘The Right Stuff’

So why does my brain keep remembering that he was?

Matthew Clapham
Pitfall
Published in
3 min readJun 18, 2024

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Two miniature plastic CSI figures are posed with a dead bee
Bee movie nightmares (Photo by Thomas Stephan on Unsplash)

In early 1983, filming was just ending on The Right Stuff, the movie adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s book about the early US space programme. A couple of months later, shooting started on teen kick-off-yer-Sunday-shoes dance flick Footloose.

Kevin Bacon could legitimately have been in both films. But he wasn’t. Except in my head.

If I close my eyes I can see him doing the ping-pong ball keepy-uppy lung capacity exercise and ‘first to piss himself loses’ bladder endurance trial at astronaut school.

All a figment of my imagination.

Why?

Blame Fred Ward.

Any of the grizzled, rugged character actors from The Right Stuff could have gone on to appear in the eternally underrated giant underground killer worm comedy horror pic Tremors. But Fred Ward got the nod over Dennis Quaid, Sam Shephard, Ed Harris et al. to star alongside young gun (metaphorically, not in the sense of actually being in Young Guns) Kevin Bacon.

It’s a great film, and they make a great pairing. Ward and Bacon. Bacon and Ward. Seriously, Fred could have changed his surname to Eggs.

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Matthew Clapham
Pitfall

Professional translator by day. Writer of silly and serious stuff by night. Also by day, when I get fed up of tedious translations. Founder of Iberospherical.