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The North Texan welcomes letters from readers. Send letters, with writer's full name and address, by e-mail to, fax to (940) 369-8763, submit on the web at the "Contact us" link) or mail to The North Texan; University of North Texas; University Relations, Communications and Marketing; P.O. Box 311070; Denton, Texas 76203-1070. Letters may be edited for length and publication style.


Rowdy the Armadillo

I wanted to thank you for the article on Necessary Roughness (Timetracks, winter 2007). It brought back a fond memory of mine as I had the opportunity to work in a two-role position with Paramount Pictures for that film. First, I performed as Rowdy, the Armadillo mascot in the movie. Jim Hobdy, assistant athletic director of marketing, referred me to Paramount because I had performed as Scrappy (Eppy at that time) during the previous two basketball seasons and also because I had just graduated and was available to work the usual 110 to 120 hours a week required.

The cast and crew for Necessary Roughness includes Rick McKinney as Rowdy the Armadillo. The movie was filmed on campus in 1991.

Second, I was a special liaison between the wardrobe department and the athletic department and did nearly everything under the sun asked of me while not shooting the Armadillo scenes, including serving as the equipment manager for all players on set and painting helmets and jerseys.

For giving Paramount its campus for roughly 16 weeks, the university earned two endowed scholarships, and all of the new Riddell football equipment used in the movie was donated as well. What was most fun for me was that the movie folks were willing to accept suggestions and I was able to get the large green North Texas Battle Flag and "Boomer" the Cannon into the movie.

I also got to spend time with Fred Thompson, who played the university dean, long before he became a senator from Tennessee. He was very down to earth, he and his wife both.

The cast and crew photo (above) was taken toward the middle of filming. Unfortunately, we were unable to shoot this during the weekend that the pro players who served as the prison team were in town. Although I'm in the mascot suit, including 'dillo gloves, I'm actually holding up a North Texas Eagle talon in the picture. I never miss an opportunity to show my Mean Green pride.

Ricky McKinney ('90)
via e-mail


I remember Necessary Roughness being filmed at UNT. I watched them film a scene near my apartment just off Bonnie Brae near Fouts Field. I remember the director shouting into a bagel horn often and loud.

Actually, what I was most curious to see was not a movie being filmed but instead Evander Holyfield's ear. From that distance, I could not tell if he had healed from his incident a few years earlier with Mike Tyson.

Go Mean Green!

T.J. Warren ('93)

Good therapy

I've been out of contact with my old school for decades. I have wonderful memories of my years at North Texas; I have terrible memories of my years at North Texas. I battled undiagnosed manic-depression throughout my teens and young adulthood. Your publication is inadvertently helping me deal with some unresolved issues.

My first copy of The North Texan mysteriously appeared in my Illinois mailbox a few years ago. The first article I read told of a UNT graduate who was also bipolar (winter 2005). Then came the issue featuring T Lewis (fall 2007). T and I had a good mutual friend and we ran in some of the same circles. His talent blew me away.

I got to know Art Barrow ("Zappa University," winter 2007), when he and I both lived at McConnell Hall, North Texas' first coed dorm. I knew of his dream and wished him well. I was not a Zappa fan, nor did I "get" Art's music. I had no idea how gifted he was.

Art the person? That's who I remember— intelligent, determined in his studies, focused yet creative, mature beyond his years, approachable, unassuming, likable. He had a strong sense of self without the big ego and possessed a low-key charm and a quiet sense of fun — a person so very deserving of success.

And when I e-mailed him recently (our first contact in more than 30 years), he commended me for my work with Alzheimer's patients, for my long marriage and for successfully raising two daughters. And he's the one with the astounding resume.

Send me a bill for The North Texan!

Jeanne Shackelford Wells ('75)
Antioch, Illinois

Extraordinary person

I was so saddened to read of the passing of one of the most extraordinary people I've ever met (or been taught by) in the winter issue. Marsue Johnson Haviland's facility for languages was extraordinary, but "the good Lord let her learn every bit of German" she'd learned earlier in life. And she was no lover of Milton. But hearing her deliver an oration (in a very loud, clear voice) in Latin when a timed essay test was officially over was better than a fire alarm at cutting off any incomplete answers.

Years later, working in the press office at the College Board, when we announced a timed essay and callers wondered why the membership of the board had determined that such an addition would be worthwhile for an admissions exam, I always remembered those exams she gave. And I wondered how much better prepared I would have been for them had I had more timed essay prep in high school, lo, those many years ago!

Michael A. Reid ('81, '85 M.M.)
Jersey City, N.J.


A vintage "Flying Worm" stapler


I still have this "Flying Worm" stapler that I got during my days at North Texas from 1975 to 1978. I saw it one day while visiting Voertman's and really liked it. Was it because of the Flying Worm? Was it because of the great lime green color? Was it because I needed a stapler?

I don't know! I just really liked it. I have used it to this day and I still like it very much. And it has always been a good stapler. Ever try to staple some papers and the staple just bounces off the pages and bends? I've never had that problem with this stapler. My only disappointment is that the Flying Worm symbol and writing on it have faded a little.

Looking at this stapler makes me wonder if other alums have any souvenirs from their days at North Texas.

Rick Kelsey ('78)

Editor's note: If you have a favorite North Texas souvenir you'd like to tell us about or send us a photo of, e-mail or send mail to The North Texan; University of North Texas; University Relations, Communications and Marketing; P.O. Box 311070; Denton, Texas 76203-1070.


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