I’m going to piggyback off of Scoop80’s recognition of the 46th anniversary of the Rudy game against Georgia Tech in 1975 with a story.
Those of you who know me know that my late father, Dick Conklin, was very involved in making the film as Associate VP for University Relations. It was a career highlight for him in his 35 years at ND (1966-2001).
The way Hesburgh structured University Relations back then, there was one group to handle athletics (led by Roger Valdeserri) and one group for everything non-athletic. My father was part of the latter team.
When Notre Dame agreed to let ‘Rudy’ be the first movie filmed on campus in 50 years, they used their leverage to extract an unusually heavy package of concessions from TriStar with respect to control over the film. In addition to approving the script up front, they set in place a procedure to make sure that what was actually put on film didn’t digress from the approved script.
When the movie was being filmed in the early 90s, the technology was still primitive. There was no internet. The procedure to police the filming worked like this: At the end of each day, the batch of film produced was sent to Roger and Dad, who sat down and viewed it together. If they approved, these “dailies” were “sent to Chicago” for post-production. If they disapproved of anything, they would require scenes to be re-shot. They had complete quality control in terms of holding the film to the approved script.
There is a scene in the movie where Ara Parseghian (played by the late Jason Miller) gets mad at the team in practice and calls them “assholes”. I will now recreate the scene that unfolded – as told to me by my father - when Dick Conklin and Roger Valdeserri sat down at the end of a day of filming in 1992 and viewed that particular scene:
Dick: [stops the tape] “You know, that part where Ara calls the team “assholes” wasn’t in the script, I don’t know if we should allow that.”
Roger: “It was definitely not in the script, so we should talk about it”.
Dick: “So, what do you think, Roger? You’ve been around a lot of practices and watched Ara. Did he talk like that?”
Roger: “Well, actually Dick, Ara didn’t usually call the team ‘assholes’ when he got mad at them”
Dick: “So, when he got mad at them, what did he call them?”
Roger: “He usually called them ‘cocksuckers’ “
[Pause, as both men digest this observation]
Finally, Dick: “Well, I guess we’ll go with ‘assholes’!"