I met friends in college that I still have to this day. And, for that, I am very thankful--36 years and counting.

Three of them--Trace Kirkwood, Russ Cummins, and Todd Turner--are from Louisville, and two still live there. And we were all big David Letterman fans.

So, consequently, we spoke "Letterman." If he coined a term on his show or used an old, quaint phrase frequently for the sake of humor, WE used them. And one such term was "brushes with greatness."

They occur when you just happen to encounter a celebrity. For example, I've never counted backstage meet-and-greets, because they're set up. But running into Pat Boone at the top of the Contemporary Hotel in Disney World in 1979? That totally counts.

And so does getting a chance to watch filmmakers and actors shoot a movie in Louisvillle, which Trace, Todd, and Russ got to do. Interestingly, Trace didn't know either Todd or Russ at the time--1980--but all were still on hand to see Bill Murray.

WLKY/Louisville reminds us that filming for the comedy classic Stripes began in November 1980 and would last for six weeks in Derby City. And, in fact, it was on this day, November 17th, in 1980 that Murray filmed a scene in a Louisville barbershop.

Trace, Russ, and Todd didn't watch this scene being shot. But locations all over Louisville and at Fort Knox were used. I remember them saying where it was they stood and watched the action but it escapes me.

Stripes, by the way, is the story of a couple of misfits who join the Army because their lives aren't really going anywhere. It's in the vein of Buck Privates starring Abbott and Costello and Private Benjamin starring Goldie Hawn, so, plot-wise, it's kind of standard issue. But Bill Murray and the late Harold Ramis and their priceless comic timing totally make it work.

Stripes is arguably the biggest hit ever filmed in Kentucky. It was released in 1981 and, according to Box Office Mojo, grossed $85,297,000. Adjusted for inflation, that comes to $244,337,901.39 in 2020 dollars.

So, yeah, it was an enormous hit. And 40 years ago today and the six subsequent weeks, Bill Murray and company were a part of the Louisville lifestyle.

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