Of course, the famous scene is the one in “THE RIGHT STUFF”. Near the end.
When Chuck Yeager, a forgotten hero of the space program, goes on a test run for old time’s sake.
And the plane crashes.
Yeager’s sidekick, Jack Ridley (played by the great Levon Helm) and his driver go looking for Yeager.
When, at once, they see a figure striding toward them, in the heat-rippled distance.
The Driver says: “Sir, over there. Is that a man?” And, as he looks out, and sees the smoke-blackened face of Yeager, alive and well, head held high, Jack Ridley grins: “You damn right it is!” Well, I was in college when I saw that.
In college, where I had been totally ripping off the style and substance of “BURIED CHILD”, “TRUE WEST” “FOOL FOR LOVE”, and the rest, in all of my writing classes.
And then I found this movie still from “THE RIGHT STUFF”. The one pictured here.
It was crazy to think that a guy who could write like that could also look like this... So I went to my barber, Stan, who was Eastern European and old even then.
And I said: “I want hair like this”. He glanced up at my wacky fright-wig of Jew curls and said: “Not gonna be possible.” I said: “Just try, Stan.” And, as he got his comb and scissors ready, he muttered to himself, although I could hear it: “you do know, that even if I am a LITTLE BIT successful in giving you that haircut, you still are NEVER going to have that face!” Stan was right, of course.
There was only one Sam Shepard.
And there will only ever be one.