The Disney Studios, which produced the film, put up Levi and his mom at the Plaza Hotel. When they arrived, their three-room suite had been reserved by Walter Mondale, who was in N. for a meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.
So the Iowans had to cool their heels in another room for several hours until the Mondale suite was free.
Jane has a part-time job as a classroom supervisor and her husband is an ironworker when jobs are available.
“We’ve almost had to face foreclosure on the house,” she says.
Few of the guests bother to interrogate Jane Knebel and her son, who know more about that subject simply because it has been a part of their lives for as long as either of them can remember.
Though the Knebels live in a three-bedroom ranch house in Dunkerton (pop.
“This is bigger than our house,” marveled Jane Knebel.
“He said people were trying to sell him weird cigarettes,” she explains. In the garage sits his Ford Ranger, with four-wheel drive, stripes on the side and a 0 stereo.
Since last December Levi has put 20,000 miles on it.
“We paid him every week and we were afraid that when he had enough money for the truck, he wouldn’t show up anymore.” Lange needn’t have worried. “She and Sam,” he says, “—pretty close.” He is slightly more effusive on the subject of Shepard, the reclusive actor and playwright. “We talked about trucks.” The two played pool and went trapshooting together and insisted on sending the stuntmen home when it came time to film their father-son fight scene.
Levi’s blue-green eyes fairly glow at the memory: “Sam throws open the barn door, pushes me into some sheep, then picks me up and throws me again.” Numerous takes were required.
He looks like a spooked calf about to face the rope at his first rodeo. Knebel may have his feet in the Big Apple, but his mind is back home in Dunkerton, Iowa.