A Fond Farewell to G.D. Spradlin, Once the Coach of the North Dallas Bulls

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G.D. Spradlin as Coach Strother
Oklahoma native G.D. Spradlin was many things before he became an actor: attorney, oilman, politico, scholar, wealthy. But at some point he decided all of that wasn't enough, and turned to his greatest passion: acting. And so his became, in a short time, an estimable body of work that spanned screens small (from Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. to Rich Man, Poor Man Book II) and large (The Godfather: Part II and Apocalypse Now, among others). Spradlin died Sunday at the age of 90.

But around here, Spradlin will always be known as B.A. Strother, the cold, computer-obsessed coach of the North Dallas Bulls in the film version of North Dallas Forty, based, of course, on former Cowboys receiver Peter Gent's days playing for Tom Landry. How that movie didn't show up on this ESPN list of the top 25 sports films ever made is unfathomable. Also: unconscionable. Let's watch a few scenes from North Dallas Forty featuring Spradlin on the other side.

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Cujo
Cujo

Before I forget, the best line in the novel "North Dallas Forty" was the graffiti scribbled in a bathroom: "Dallas sucks reinforced concrete". That alone should make it the definitive Dallas novel.

Brendan
Brendan

You're right, I'm wrong, wrong, wrong!

Cujo
Cujo

ESPN is a waste. It left out one of the best sports dramas ever: "That Championship Season" with Mitchum, Dern and Keach. It was made in 1982 and it's probably the best of the lot.

Mike
Mike

"... by whatever means available and terminate the Colonel's command."Pretty cold blooded while eating a casserole.

Brendan
Brendan

Except that Lt Gen G.D. was too much of a weak sister to deliver those words himself.  He made a long philosophical foray into the nature of good, evil and insanity, then turned, had a sip of ice tea and gave Harrison Ford, that significant look to deliver above words

Kevin Kirby
Kevin Kirby

And the CIA guy added the "extreme prejudice" line, in case Willard didn't quite get it.

Robert
Robert

North Dallas Forty was a must read for a teenage boy in the '70s. A classmate let me read his copy and I let him read my copy of Meat on the Hoof.

And now I need to add Strange Peaches to my meager reading list.

 

Dwight Mannsburden
Dwight Mannsburden

Having just read North Dallas Forty, I have to say it had some amazing funny moments, some great insight into people. The shocking sex parts aren't that shocking forty years later. But where it's good, it's really good.

Strange Peaches, well, I thought it was overrated.  I'd love to hear someone else's opinion, especially to the contrary.  I'd also like to read Shrake's other writings.

I also, dammit, want to read "The Gay Place," by Billy Lee Brammer, and see how that has aged.

Anyone???

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

Billy Lee Brammer's life story is stranger than fiction.  Get acquainted with his life-arc... wow.   The Gay Place is good, more Austin than Dallas but supposedly has some accuracy when describing the movers and shakers in Texas in the 50s and 60s.  Recommended as a summer read...

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

G.D. was either a heel or bad guy in most of the films/TV shows he was in over his career..I saw him on a episode of Dragnet '70 a couple weeks back on HULU playing a safe cracker who wanted to go back to prison to play on the penal baseball team. He was a talented guy and our worlds a little less rich w/o him..

Dwight Mannsburden
Dwight Mannsburden

There was also the Dragnet episode where he was the phony cop selling advertising to a phony police newsmagazine "NALE Notes."  He was also in Tora Tora Tora as some admiral's aide

John in Pilot Point
John in Pilot Point

Wait-a-minute!  "The Color of Money" is on that list and "The Hustler" isn't?

Baked Potato
Baked Potato

Anything pre-1980 was not considered by the ritalin addled ESPN set:

Pride of the Yankees, National Velvet, Fear Strikes Out, The Hustler, The Endless Summer, Breaking Away, Bad News Bears, Slap Shot, and my all time favorite: Death Race 2000.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Breaking Away -- an original poster for that hangs in my bedroom. I can watch it, and Bad News Bears, every day.

Gary
Gary

The dude trying to be Italian is an automatic mute button reflex for me.

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

And as Coach Moreland Smith in the sports classic 'One on One' 1977.

Mike
Mike

Straight up with a red hot poker

John in Pilot Point
John in Pilot Point

I just read that great character actor G.D. Spradlin (Head Coach B.A. Strothers) passed away this past weekend at the age of 90.

He seemed like a distinguished gentleman whose portrayals in movies went far deeper than what was called for in the limited roles in which he was cast.

So long to a great working actor.

Dwight Mannsburden
Dwight Mannsburden

North Dallas Forty is one of the novels considered as a candidate for The Great Dallas Novel in this month's D Magazine.

http://www.dmagazine.com/Home/...

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Brendan, that reminds me: I need a copy of Strange Peaches. Suggestions?

Dwight Mannsburden
Dwight Mannsburden

I had to borrow my copy from Patty Turner, my old boss at Shakespeare Books,  same with Fortune is a Woman, by Hermes Nye.  Jerome Weeks has a copy of Strange Peaches, though. You can ask him.  Gawd!, this town really is all about who you know!

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