Hollywood came to Nineveh in 1985, and bestowed on the old Nineveh School the honor of being Hickory High School in Hoosiers. They brought their bright lights and camera crews, their shining stars and their mysterious trailers that hid the stars. They brought a hubbub of activity to town, drawing spectators to the school to catch a glimpse of movie stars and marvel at the magic of Hollywood.
The children attending Nineveh Elementary at the time were shushed more than usual as they moved through the hallways during filming. They would be the last group of children to attend Nineveh School, and the following year would move to Trafalgar and form Indian Creek Elementary School. The movie would be a grand curtain call for the beautiful old school. Though the children were pretty oblivious to the celebrities in their school, Gene Hackman graciously gave a little talk to the students and star-struck faculty and parents on hand. Area students and residents became extras in the movie, creating lasting memories for the people of Nineveh and surrounding areas.
Interior and exterior shots of Hickory High School were filmed in Nineveh. That beautiful staircase in the opening scenes … it is a cherished memory of the students who attended the school, or not so cherished memory for those sent to the principal’s office at the top of the stairs! The buses and parking lot where Gene Hackman and Barbara Hershey talked surrounded by fall leaves, that was Nineveh. The lone basketball goal where Jimmy shot hoops, that was in our playground. Sadly, we lost our school to a fire several years after it closed for consolidation.
Hoosiers was released in November of 1986, surprising many with its success. In 2011, Nineveh celebrated its 15 minutes of fame with a 25th Anniversary Celebration of the release of the movie. Several cast members including Chelcie Ross, Maris Valainis, Brad Long, Steve Hollar and author Angelo Pizzo joined us at the Hoosiers “Cars & Stars” Golf Outing on Friday and at the parade and reunion on Saturday.