Another ‘RAD’ interview with Richardson’s Bill Allen ahead of 35th anniversary event


Preston Barta // Features Editor

If there’s one movie this film writer never gets tired of talking about it’s the 1986 BMX coming-of-age drama Rad, a staple of my youth that has inspired many generations to pick up a bike and rock it like a hurricane.

Over the years, especially within the past two, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Rad star Bill Allen, who plays Cru Jones, a paperboy determined to win a BMX race called Helltrack. Allen, 58, who grew up in Richardson, got the chance of a lifetime to work under the wing of filmmaker Hal Needham (Smokey and the BanditThe Cannonball Run). Although Rad didn’t make the same waves as Needham’s other work, the movie was built with wheels to last and has put a lot of thunder in people’s hearts (me among them).

This year, Rad is celebrating its 35th cycle around the sun, and is doing so in style by returning to theaters on Thursday, Oct. 14. In honor of its big-screen return, I caught back up with Allen to discuss his time in the Dallas area and his Rad journey.

Enjoy the interview below, read up on other Rad coverage and catch the movie on the big screen Thursday. Purchase tickets through

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction ( as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.