Patrick Swayze taught Travolta how to do the two-step for the movie, while his wife, Lisa Niemi and mother, Patsy Swayze choreographed the dance sequences.
Other 'Urban Cowboy' Movie Info...
John Travolta and Debra Winger starred as a couple in a love-hate relationship between Travolta's character Bud and Winger's character Sissy.
The movie spawned a hit soundtrack album featuring such songs as Johnny Lee's 'Looking for Love', 'Devil went down to Gerogia' sung by the Charlie Daniels Band and the top 5 hit 'Love The World Away' by country superstar Kenny Rogers. The film is said to have started the 80's boom in country music appeal.
Travolta had a mechanical bull installed in his home two months before production began and became so good that he was allowed to dismiss the stunt double and do the takes himself.
At the time the film was shot, Gilley's, used as the film's main nightclub location was the largest nightclub in the world in terms of available space for the patrons, according to the Guiness Book of World Records.
Michelle Pfeiffer had auditioned for the role of Sissy.
When I moved to The San Francisco Bay area in the mid 80's, I was introduced to a country and western bar club called The Saddle Rack. My friend Terry Moss was heavy into the night life that was introduced to us by Travolta's 1980 movie 'Urban Cowboy'. My fellow United Airline co-workers/friends and I joined him on a few occassions.
At the time, much of the Bay Area was still open fields and smelled of cow manure. Horses were still ridden as a means of transportation where ranches existed. Farmland and orchards were things of beauty off of the 'then' unimproved highways. This agricultural life provided the right kind of audience for a little country bar that eventually became a massive, massive country bar. The Saddle Rack hosted live shows and concerts with such acts as The Charlie Daniels Band, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, and Loretta Lynn. It had the rights to Texas style bragging like 'Gilley's' in the movie we all know.
There was a cool factor that was prevalent when you first walked into the place. Men and women dressed to the hilt in country attire. My friend actually wore a 10 gallon hat and a leather belt with a larger than life metal buckle. He had on blue jeans, a western shirt, and cowboy boots to match. As the music played, everyone took to the floor doing the two step and other dances. If you didn't know how to dance, they offered classes in the middle of the week. Men treated women like gentlemen. They asked the ladies to dance, walked with them out onto the floor, and then walked them back to their seats.
And then, there was the mechanical bull. It was the club centerpiece. People stood around to watch cowboys and cowgirls take a ride. The cost was only $2 on a Friday and Saturday nite. For the ladies, the operator took it really slow. I mean really sloooooow so that they gals would have a chance to feel the ride. As the speed slowly increased, the gals would gyrate in the seat with a smile on their face. They made it look almost sexual. When the men rode, the crowd really cheered. Many had groins of steel, and rode like they had ridden a lifetime. Everyone got bucked up and down, sideways and out, and then tried to land butt first on the soft mat. That wasn't always possible.
Did I participate in any of this? NO. I was just there enjoying the scene in the company of friends who loved hanging out. The music was great. It reminded me of the days when my mom would listen to old country music. I grew up on Marty Robbins, Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, and Hank Williams Sr. The sound of young country in the 80's was much, much cooler. The atmosphere provided by the crowd... all in a place similar to Gilley's... in a place with electric chandliers, wagon wheels, split wooden fences, and hay and straw on the dance floor... was exhilarating.
I'm lucky that I got the chance to see it when I did. It was an opportunity to view things from Bud and Sissy's (Travolta and Winger's) point of view. The club closed its doors about 5 years ago. It became a victim of urban sprawl. The place became history when they decided to build condominiums where this establishment once stood.