At the 1984 premiere of Footloose, just as the audience began tapping their toes to the opening credits, 25-year-old Kevin Bacon started to panic. ''I thought it wasn't loud enough,'' says the actor, now 52. ''I flipped out, because the whole success of the movie was going to be based on this blowing people's heads off. It had to rock.''
Luckily for Bacon, it did just that. The story of a brooding teen (Bacon) who fights for the right to dance in an uptight Utah town, Footloose turned out to be a smash, grossing more than $80 million (a remake starring Dennis Quaid and newcomer Kenny Wormald is set to hit theaters Oct. 14). Meanwhile, its soundtrack unseated Thriller at the top of the Billboard album chart and stayed there for 10 weeks, spinning off two huge singles: Kenny Loggins' iconic title track and Deniece Williams' upbeat anthem ''Let's Hear It for the Boy.'' The movie's young cast which also included Lori Singer and Sarah Jessica Parker were suddenly big stars, and that success caught Bacon off guard. ''In retrospect, I probably should've embraced it more,'' he says. ''But the movie became a teen phenomenon, and I was hell-bent on being a 'serious actor.' I wanted to be Robert De Niro, and I was ['70s teen idol] Bobby Sherman.''
Today, Bacon remembers Footloose fondly although its prominence can cause awkward party moments if he isn't careful. ''I go straight to the DJ with a $20 bill and say, 'Please don't play that record,''' he laughs. ''People expect me to start doing flips like a trained monkey. I try to avoid that.''