Disney deletes prank scene from 'Program'


Hollywood -- The Walt Disney Co. expects a re-edited version of its feature film "The Program" to be in theaters today.

Following the recent death of one teen-ager and critical injuries to two others, the studio has removed a scene showing college football players attempting to prove their mettle by lying in the middle of a highway as cars whiz by.

In the real-life incidents, two teen-agers in Pennsylvania were struck by a pickup truck, killing one and seriously injuring another. The parents of the dead boy said he was copying the scene in "The Program."

A 17-year-old in New Jersey was in critical condition after he was struck Saturday night while he also was mimicking the scene, a police detective said.

Film industry sources could not recall any similar move by a major Hollywood studio.

The announcement came amid a climate of growing concern about the connection between pop culture and incidents of violence.

Disney's Touchstone Pictures division and the film's writer-director, David S. Ward, said in a statement that, while the scene in the movie "in no way advocates this irresponsible activity, it is impossible for us to ignore that someone may have recklessly chosen to imitate it.

"We are deeply moved by the tragedies already reported and our deepest sympathies go out to the families of those involved."

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