Filmmaker Ron Howard sent out three tweets Saturday: a photo with his daughter Bryce Dallas Howard (named for our city) for World Autism Awareness Day, a pic with Oprah at David Oyelowo’s birthday party, and a retweet of a photo I posted. The photo, circa 1978, is of Howard wearing a cowboy hat and Highlandette t-shirt.

Here’s a little background.

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Saturday morning, Shelly Roberts Canion shared the photo with fellow Lake Highlands High School alum (and former Advocate writer) Keith Whitmire. It was taken while Howard was filming Cotton Candy at LHHS, she said, and was purchased at an estate sale.

Whitmire shared the photo on the Lake Highlands Highlandette Alumni Facebook page.

Dette alum Bev Turner Kolpin, now living in Portland, commented on how much she enjoyed the pic.

“In ’89 or ’90, I was flying to Montana on a late, late flight out of Salt Lake City,” she wrote. “Ron, his assistant and I were the only passengers. They insisted I sit in 1st class with them. He was filming Far and Away in Montana.  After some small talk I mentioned I was from Dallas and was an LH graduate. He shrieked! He asked me if I was a High ‘marching’ Highlandette, lol. He spent the rest of the flight talking about the school, the neighborhood and how important that experience was for him (as goofy as it was). It was one of the most random, awesome couple of hours ever.”

Former Wildcat Mike Hurst also remembers Howard fondly.

“While Ron was filming Cotton Candy, Ron’s parents stayed at the home of LHHS Principal Fountain, whose son Jay was my best friend. Ron’s parents and brother, if you know what to look for, are in most of his films – see Apollo 13. Jay also had a small role in Cotton Candy.

“Jay, Van Wright and I took our senior trip to California, visiting several destinations. While in L.A. we stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Howard, since they had given us an ‘anytime you are in L.A. stay with us’ invitation.’ Clint Howard, Ron’s brother and the star of the old TV show Gentle Ben, was still living at home so we had breakfast with him. Then Ron gave us a private tour of the studios and we got to see the filming of a scene from Little House on the Prairie and one other show. Ron showed us the editing he was finalizing on his first feature film Grand Theft Auto – one of the highlights of our senior trip.

You can read more about Howard’s time making Cotton Candy at LHHS here.

Opie Taylor. Richie Cunningham. Great American Director. Wearer of cowboy hats. Honorary Highlandette. Ron Howard is all of these. And he’s welcome in Lake Highlands any day.