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Former Harvard offensive lineman Tommy Lee Jones ’69, introduced as "the greatest Texan ever to attend Harvard" by event organizer Aaron S. Byrd ’05, presented a screening of "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29" on Friday night in the Dunster House dining hall.
The 2008 documentary by Kevin G. Rafferty II ’70 features Jones, who played in the famous 1968 game, recounting the match and recalling the players’ lives on campus at that time.
"Kevin Rafferty’s film is not only about that football game, but about what life was like here as compared to what it’s like today," Jones, a former Dunster resident, said while introducing the movie. "It contrasts the events of the game and what the people who played in it have to say about it today."
The film and the actor were well-received by Dunster enthusiasts who were all noticeably riled up for this year’s iteration of The Game on Saturday.
Acknowledging cheers from the audience, Jones joked, "You’re an awful good-looking crowd," before beginning his talk.
While freshmen who attended the Crimson Key Society showing of the film during Freshman Week may know him best for his brief cameo in "Love Story," Jones, who won an Oscar for his work in "The Fugitive," was as avid a football player as he was an actor during his college years.
He gained acceptance to the College on a need-based scholarship, and played on the offensive line for the Crimson throughout his college career.
An English concentrator who graduated cum laude, he recalled fondly his years as a scholar-athlete-thespian.
"It’s always a fun treat to see a celebrity up close and personal," said Brianne Holland-Stergar ’13, who lives in Dunster. "Knowing that he had a similar collegiate experience to mine just makes that 20 times better."
Going into the 1968 game, Yale, highly favored to win, was ranked the 16th best college football team in the nation. With only two minutes left in the game, though, Harvard made a miraculous comeback by scoring 16 points to tie Yale 29-29. The Crimson ran the story of the unlikely tie under the headline "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29."
The documentary proved to be an appropriate prelude to another exhilarating Harvard victory at The Game on Saturday.
"It’s not simply a sports film, but it is a good sports film," Jones said as he concluded. "I hope you all are able to go to the ballgame tomorrow."
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