If you long to relive the Landry years — the glory days, the 1977 NFC Championship, 1978 Super Bowl — keep an eye out for the next airing of “The American Dream,” on Fox Sports Southwest, which recounts the era through the eyes of Cowboys legend Tony Dorsett.
The show was co-directed and written by Lake Highlands resident Madison Liane, who along with co-director Samuel L. McQueen, conducted interviews for the pilot episode; they spoke with Roger Staubach, Randy White, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Dale Hanson, Coach Jackie Sherrill, plus doctors and other experts who discuss the level of physical punishment endured by players at the highest level.
Liane and crew made “The American Dream” pilot episode relevant and timely with a focus on head injuries. White and Dorsett talk about concussions being a frequent occurrence when they played (statements supported with cringe-worthy game footage). They both face aftereffects today, and Dorsett delivers some heart-wrenching testimony about his struggle with the pain, depression, anger and dementia associated with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
The series was the brainchild of Liane’s friend, the show’s executive producer Eric Dunn. Liane joined the project about three years ago. “We had an incredible team working on this, and I really have to give Eric — and the rest — credit for seeing this through despite so many obstacles. I do not think many producers and filmmakers would persist through all of the things we went through,” Liane says.
The roadblocks, securing funding, changing formats (it originally was pitched as a reality TV program) and the amount of time spent producing, only made the final product more rewarding, he adds.
“It was an amazing feeling you can’t even describe,” he says of watching the premiere. “A lot of times you pour your heart into something and nothing comes of it. I’ve had that happen too. To have it actually happen, yeah, it is amazing.”
Liane lives in the Highland Meadows neighborhood and is married to Alana Liane. They have two children — Jackson, 7, a student at Hamilton Park magnet school and Naomi, age 4.
He and the team are working to put more episodes of “The American Dream” on air. “The next one we are working on is ‘The Game of the Century’,” Liane says, about the 1966 Notre Dame/Michigan State game, one of the greatest and most controversial in college sports history. The contest took place at the height of the Vietnam War overseas, and the civil rights war at home. “The episode will dig deep into the impact both had on the country and the civil unrest surrounding desegregation in college football,” Liane promises.