Kevin Bacon returns to Payson High on prom day for 40th anniversary of ‘Footloose’

Kevin Bacon

PAYSON, Utah — Kevin Bacon was just in time for the prom at Payson High School.

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On Saturday, the “Footloose” actor returned to the site used to film the 1984 movie, KUTV reported. His visit to the school in Payson, Utah, coincided with the 40th anniversary of the film. The school is scheduled to be demolished in the spring of 2025.

Bacon danced a few steps as he made his way to the stage set up at the high school’s football field, KSL-TV reported.

“Go Lions! Here we are on this beautiful, beautiful spot on this beautiful, beautiful day,” Bacon, 65, said in his opening remarks to the Payson student body, the television station reported, “It’s been a long time -- 40 years -- that just blows my mind, you know. Things look a little different around here. I’d say the thing that looks the most different is me.”

Bacon’s appearance was the culmination of an effort, called “Bacon to Payson,” to get Ren McCormack back to the school for a final time, according to KUTV.

“When I first heard about #BacontoPayson, I was like, ‘Wow, this is crazy,’” Bacon told the students, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. “But you were all just tireless, unrelenting in your desire to have me return, and you talked me into it.

“I think it’s great to see that kind of commitment to anything. I also think that it’s amazing the power that this movie has had to just kind of bring people together, and connect on the basic ideas there are behind the movie,” Bacon continued. “You know, standing up to authority sometimes, and to being forgiving to people who are not exactly the same as you, and for standing up for your own freedoms and your right to express yourself, and for having compassion for other people.”

Bacon’s visit was part of the community kit-building program, BKxKB, with his charity, SixDegrees.org, the Tribune reported. The nonprofit, created in 2007, “supports impactful initiatives to sustain and enrich local communities,” according to its website. SixDegrees has a goal of creating and distributing 40,000 resource kits nationwide this year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Footloose.”

Students in Payson contributed 5,000 kits on Saturday, KUTV reported.

“I had the goosebumps when he came out; I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is actually happening,’” said Deborah Smith, a Payson High School alumni.

Seniors at Payson High had been trying for months to get Bacon to return to Utah and attend their prom. The effort began with a “Footloose” pep rally earlier in the school year and a stage version of the movie put on by the school’s drama department.

Students took photographs with a cardboard cutout of the actor and posted video clips of the film’s iconic dance scenes, KSL reported.

It worked.

Jim Rowland, president of the Payson Chamber of Commerce, told KTVX that the economic impact of “Footloose” on the city has “probably been more beneficial (this year) than the other 39 years combined.”

So, let’s dance.

Well, almost. Bacon did not attend the actual prom, KSL reported.

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