Was a Scene Removed From the Film “The Program” Because People Were Killed Reenacting It?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: A scene had to be removed from the film The Program because teenagers were killed imitating it.

The Program was a 1993 film about college football starring James Caan as a college football coach and Craig Sheffer and Omar Epps as two of his star players.

As far as films go, the film was pretty much standard fare. It made about $23 million at the box office – not enough to make people stand up and take notice but also not so little that people would be disappointed.

As far as sports movies go, it was probably better than most.

However, one aspect of the film that DID jump out was a scene that actually had to be removed from the film after its release!

At one point in the film, the star quarterback of the team (played by Sheffer) decides to lay down on the dividing line in the middle of the highway as cars whiz by him. His teammates are shocked at first, but then they basically say, “Hey, that’s a fine idea!” and then the rest of his teammates do it as well.

Makes for a dramatic scene, no?

Well, it must have looked pretty darn cool, because a number of folks were inspired by the film to try it themselves – with deadly results!

From the New York Times…

Michael A. Shingledecker Jr., 18, of Polk, Pa., was killed almost instantly about 1 A.M. Saturday when he and a friend were struck by a pickup truck while lying on a two-lane highway in Polk, a small borough in western Pennsylvania. His friend, Dean G. Bartlett, 17, was critically injured. And Michael Macias, 17, of Syosset, L.I., was critically injured when he was hit by a car at 10:40 P.M. Saturday as he lay in the middle of Bayville Avenue in Bayville.

The scene was cut from the film and rumors are that the negatives were actually DESTROYED so that no one could ever restore the scene for future release!

Makes those “do not attempt this at home” disclaimers seem less silly, doesn’t it?

The legend is…

STATUS: True

Thanks to Michael Hinds for the information!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

4 Responses to “Was a Scene Removed From the Film “The Program” Because People Were Killed Reenacting It?”

  1. And now of course it’s easy to find on youtube.

    Sigh…I remember when that hit the news as a current event…I’m so old.

  2. Of course, it made news in Australia… where there were copycat incidents before the film was released here. Makes me wonder how much the media has to do with these incidents.

  3. It’s definitely a good question, Duggy.

  4. AverageJoeEveryman on January 10th, 2013 at 7:56 am

    pretty bad drivers to be hitting something on the dividing line.

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