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Kevin Bacon returns to the ‘Footloose’ high school prom 40 years later

Kevin Bacon let loose again this weekend, returning to high school where he filmed the teen classic Footless over 40 years ago.

And it wasn’t just any day that the acclaimed actor walked into Payson High in Salt Lake City — it was prom night.

“Go lion!” the 65-year-old actor greeted the crowd. “It’s been a long time – forty years – and that surprises me, you know. Things look a little different here. I’d say I’m the one who looks the most different.’

The actor’s return was the result of a fruitful student-led campaign to get him back to campus for their school dance, decades after the release of the suspense film. They spread the hashtag #bacontopayson on social media for months to get his attention. “When I first heard about this Bacon to Payson thing, I thought, ‘Wow, this is crazy.’ But you all were just tireless,” the actor continued. “I love seeing such dedication to anything.”

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“I also think it’s amazing the power this film has had to bring people together, and connect with the basic ideas behind the film – you know, standing up to authority sometimes, and being forgiving of people who are not exactly the same as you, and for standing up for your own freedoms and your right to express yourself, and for having compassion for other people,” he added.

It didn’t hurt that the students planned to support Bacon’s foundation, SixDegrees.org, as part of their effort to recruit him back to campus. The students pledged to provide 5,000 of the foundation’s targeted 40,000 “essential resource packs” to schools as a token of gratitude for Bacon’s special guest appearance at their ball.

“And that’s what you’ve all shown here, by making something very positive out of something that could just be a movie star coming back to get a pat on the back. And that’s what we’re going to do today as we build these kits,” Bacon told the students.

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“Thank you so much for your commitment to giving back to your community and to the people you share this planet with, and I’m thrilled that we’ll be working together here today.”

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