Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
It has been 30 years since Paramount Pictures turned an Indiana high school gymnasium into a movie set. The movie ‘Blue Chips’ was filmed over 4 days at Frankfort’s Case Arena, and a few weekends ago, the high school honored the film set with a 30th-anniversary game complete with throwback uniforms and signage.
The movie starred Nick Nolte, Shaquille O’Neil, and Penny Hardaway and featured basketball legends Bobby Knight, Bob Cousy, Dick Vitale, and many others. Nolte and O’Neil could not attend, but Shaq donated a pair of Reebok Above the Rim Pumps to the Frankfort team, a replica of the shoes worn in the movie.
The Case Arena transformed into the Dolphin Dome with signage, a court design with a dolphin logo in the center, signage in the lobby and concourse level, and names of the fictional teams on the lower scoreboard. The hometown Frankfort Hot Dogs became the fictional Western University Dolphins, while their opponent, the Rossville Hornets, became Team Indiana, just like in the movie.
The gym was packed, which hadn’t been the norm for a boy’s basketball game in quite some time. The Case Arena holds 5,200 - 22nd in the world in size. That number was met as fans poured into the building, donning the blue and gold of the fictional Western University team.
Anthony C. Hall appeared at the game and signed an autograph after his half-time appearance. He played Tony the Point-Shaver in the film. A few more extras appeared, and they all shared their experiences from the movie set 30 summers ago.
The fete to pull off the throwback game was a monumental task as 50-plus volunteers and support staff helped sell and scan tickets in the lobby, worked the score table, handled media information, sold merchandise and game day programs, and handled security. Even the concession stands needed more assistance with popcorn popping throughout the night in bunches.
Western, I mean the Hot Dogs, pulled off a 54-39 victory over Indiana, aka Rossville, in front of a delightful fanbase that has not seen the place rocking like this in quite some time. Case Arena is one of the state's bigger gyms with a design that would make a college program envy.
The environment for the special occasion brought back memories for those who were there 30-years-ago and produced a night for those who were not there, a chance to take a trip back in time to when Frankfort was part of movie magic.