Thursday, October 21, 2004

Local man's antique tractors star in new Johnny Cash film

If you attend the antique tractor show this weekend, you'll see one of the local stars of the new film chronicling the life of Johnny Cash, "Walk the Line." No, it isn't Joaquin Phoenix as the Man in Black or Reese Witherspoon, who plays June Carter.

Appearing at the Antique Power Association of the Ozarks Show and Tractor Pull Friday and Saturday is a 1954 Oliver Row Crop 77 tractor owned by Richard Walker of Mountain Home. In fact, Walker, president of the club, also owns the tractor's stunt double, which he bought and refurbished for the film, scheduled for release next year.


Not only was Walker's tractor in that film, Walker appears, too."If you watch in the first few minutes, you'll see me driving an old Moline in the background," he said.

He was paid $100 as an extra and got $300 for the use of the tractor.His latest venture was a little more lucrative, he says. How much did his tractors fetch for use in the $35 million budget film? He's not saying.

"They did put me up in the Marriott in Memphis," he said.

Walker said the amount of work that went into the scene calling for his two tractors was surprising. The scene calls for Cash to drive up to the lake on the tractor to talk to June. They have an argument, and Cash — who is angry, drunk and "pilled up" — can't get the tractor into gear, and it ends up going backward into the lake, Walker said.

"It was just like being in the Army. They worked on it for days setting up a three-second scene," he said.

The stunt double was used in the lake scene, with the production workers building a track down the lake's bank to the water.

What's Walker's favorite tractor?

"My '38 Model Massey Harris — with a six-cylinder Chrysler flathead," he said. The tractor sports its name, "Bits & Pieces."

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