It’s hard to believe but it has been 25 years since we heard that iconic Hollywood line “If you build it, he will come.” It is one of those lines in which you can say those words and people know exactly what movie you are talking about. Sort of like, “I am your father!” or “Houston, we have a problem.” Of course the movie is Field of Dreams, staring Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta and my new best buddy Dwier Brown. It was the type of film that transcended sports and baseball. It was more about family, fathers & sons and believing in something greater than what our eyes can tell us. Dwyer Brown played John Cansella. The young father of Ray Cansella played by Kevin Costner. Who can ever forget the scene in which Ray is left on the sunset soaked ball field alone with his younger version of his dad. If you didn’t shed a tear when he asked “Do you wanna have a catch?”, then you are not human!
The more I have seen the movie the more it means to me. As a father of three kids, two boys and a girl, it has always been a fear that someday we would lose that special connection and have the type of situation depicted in the movie. The father had passed away while he and his son were on bad terms, leaving the son (Ray) with regret and torment. “Ease his pain.” was another ghostly utterance from the afterworld leaving the audience wondering “Whose pain are we supposed to ease???” The climatic reveal at the end in which Ray realizes that HIS own pain would be eased by the reconciliation with his dad through that simple catch.
I had the privilege of getting connected with Dwier Brown the summer before from an introduction from Dr. Charles Sternberg of the Boston Red Sox. Ironically the summer before, I had packed up the fan in a rented RV and we traveled the great expanse of the USA ultimately finding our selves in Dyersville Iowa, the home of The Field of Dreams Ball field….yes the actual one, in the movie, where all the scenes were shot! I got to play on the field. I ran around with my glove. Had a catch with my sons and even tried to get my daughter to choke on a hot dog just like the little girl did in the original movie! (Just kidding!) We came out of the corn field like ghosts and even re-enacted the scene where one of the old time ball players asked if this was heaven. My youngest boy agreed to do that line and I mustered up all of my acting chops to reply…”No, its Iowa.” I know you re getting goosebumps even now!
So you can imagine my surprise, shock and excitement when I am presented with the opportunity to meet the father from that movie, have him on my radio show and best of all, re-enact the greatest scene in Hollywood history with the guy who originally did it! Let me tell you something about Dwier, there could NOT be a nicer human being on the planet than this cat! He spends his life now acting, writing and visiting baseball card shows and ball parks promoting his stories and experiences from the making of the movie. His book “If You Build It” does a remarkable job in connecting the stories of his experiences with that of every viewer struck by the sentimentality of the films message.
Let me tell you something, I have had the opportunity to do many fun, exciting, adventurous and awesome things in my day. I know that is obvious if you just surf this site, but this was more than just a bucket list type thing that I put up there with crazy roller coasters and cool celebrity meet ups. This was a chance in which I could tap into my deepest recesses of my being and feel something that doesn’t come around all that often. When I acted my ass off in that scene, I really felt like I was having a catch with my late father. That’s method acting baby! I am looking forward to my next interview with Dwier Brown on my new show “The Purpose” airing on the Shindig Network beginning this December. Please check out this video and the more to come relating to this experience. I hope it give you just a little bit of the return it gave me as I produced it.