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Iowa History Daily: January 30 - Cold Turkey's Debut

Iowa History Daily: On January 30, 1971, the film “Cold Turkey” starring Dick Van Dyke and filmed in Iowa debuted in theaters. Directed by Norman Lear, Randy Newman composed and performed original music for the film.

In the film, the fictional Valiant Tobacco Company offers $25 million tax-free dollars to any American town whose entire population can stop smoking cigarettes for a month as a publicity stunt. A charismatic preacher, Reverend Clayton Brooks, encourages the depressed small town of Eagle Rock, Iowa, to take on the challenge, but the town struggles to overcome its addiction to tobacco.

Shot mostly in Greenfield, Iowa, many locals appeared as extras in the film. Winterset makes the film in a few neighborhood shots, and the Methodist church in Orient, as well as the bank in Macksburg all appear in the movie. The Grayson Mansion scenes were filmed at Terrace Hill, official residence of the governor of Iowa, and other scenes were shot in Marshalltown. 

Produced in 1969, the distributor shelved the film for two years over concerns about its box-office potential. The film eventually premiered on January 30, 1971, at the Galaxy Theatre in Des Moines, and it opened in 30 theaters in Iowa on February 3, 1971.Cold Turkey grossed $131,616 in its first five days in 30 theaters in seven towns. The film went on to earn $5.5 million in theatrical rentals in the United States and Canada. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar

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