This is going to play like a game of "Six Degrees of Betty White," except I will only need one degree.


When Betty White passed, we lost a national treasure, an enduring icon, a "cock-eyed optimist" (her words), and probably one of the most well-known entertainers of our lifetimes. Indeed, for most of us, she's been a HOUSEHOLD WORD our entire lives.

While her legacy is mainly entrenched in television (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls, myriad game show gigs, and guest spots), Betty did make appearances on the big screen. And for me, there are three that stand out.


In 1962, she portrayed Senator Bessie Adams of Kansas in the extraordinary and--for its time--controversial Advise and Consent. She was only in a couple of scenes, but she made the most out of them.

In 1999, she played a woman from Maine who feeds entire cows to a giant alligator in the comedy-horror film Lake Placid. But it's her role in a 1998 action movie that brings me here today. And that movie is Hard Rain.


You could call it a heist movie within a disaster movie or a disaster movie within a heist movie. Either works, although I'd lean toward the latter. In Hard Rain, Morgan Freeman leads a band of armed robbers who knock over an armored truck making withdrawals from banks in Huntingburg, Indiana. All the while, a massive storm has caused a rupture in a nearby dam which leads to massive flooding, complicating the bad guys' plans. (And yes, I know what you're thinking and you're right...there IS no dam nor is there a river near Huntingburg.)

In the meantime, one of the two armored truck drivers, Tom, escapes to a church where he is discovered and thought to be a looter. He is arrested and wakes up in jail but is set free and becomes the hero of the film. He's played by Christian Slater and his partner, the one who gets killed in the robbery, is played by the late Ed Asner who--wait for it--was the co-star of our beloved Betty White in The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  And, what do you know, Betty shows up in Hard Rain, too, as one half of a married couple that refuses to evacuate even with floodwaters rising.


Now, I've looked into production details about the film and learned that it was shot, for the most part, on location in Huntingburg. But because a lot of water and visual effects were required for the film, soundstage locations in Chicago and Los Angeles were also employed. And pretty much indicates that Betty's part in the movie HAPPENED on a soundstage.

Since I don't remember any headlines or news stories detailing an appearance by Betty White in Huntingburg back in 1997 (when the movie was filmed), it doesn't appear as if she made the trip.

But there IS a connection between the late icon and one of the most picturesque towns in our tri-state. And, yes, I DID only need one degree of separation.

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