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Iowa History Daily: May 30 - Field of Dreams

Iowa History Daily: On May 30, 1988, cameras rolled as shooting on the Academy Award nominated film “Field of Dreams” got underway near Dyersville. Starring Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, and Ray Liotta, filmmakers spent six days a week shooting the iconic “if you build it, they will come” story of Ray Kinsella’s supernatural brush with Shoeless Joe Jackson over the course of the summer.

Based on W.P. Kinsella’s 1982 novel “Shoeless Joe,” Universal Pictures accepted the project in 1987. Initially also titled “Shoeless Joes,” executives decided to rename the project “Field of Dreams.” Casting agents first approached Tom Hanks for the lead role, however, Kevin Costner ultimately ended up in the role of Ray Kinsella.

Weather and scheduling constraints slowed filming after the kick off in May of 1988, as well a long wait for corn to grow at one of the film sites. Although the farmhouse stood on Don Lansing’s land, the baseball field scenes took place next door at the farm of Al Ameskamp. The crew shot interior scenes first at a farm near Dyersville while workers frantically irrigated the incoming corn to an acceptable level for filming.

Crews flew in from Dodger Stadium and the Rose Bowl laid sod in order to complete the famous corn-fenced field in time for a strict shooting schedule. Over the summer, the story of Kinsella plowing under his corn to construct a baseball field which attracted the ghosts of the infamous 1919 Chicago Black Sox. Screenwriter Phil Alden Anderson settled on the iconic final scene featuring a long line of headlights fading into the horizon during a lunch with the Iowa Chamber of Commerce, and over 2,500 vehicles worth of local extras drove through a blacked-out Dyersville to the field site. The film released on May 5, 1989. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar


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