How "Field of Dreams" scout found diamond in the rough

DYERSVILLE, Iowa -- It's a quote made famous in the movie, a seven-word prophesy that came true on an Iowa farm: If you build it, he will come.

They built it, and they still come.

There may never have been a "Field of Dreams" without Sue Reidel. Back in 1987, as a volunteer for the Iowa Film Office, she was told to go scout scenery for some movie.

Sue Reidel and Don Lansing CBS News

She was driving around the back roads of Iowa when she came to a hill.

"We get right to the edge of the hill, and I looked, and I went, 'Oh, my goodness! It's perfect!" Reidel remembers.

All she needed was the farmer's permission.

"I says, 'Are you crazy or what?' I says, 'You want to make a movie?' And then she says, 'Yes, we want to build a ballfield,'" Don Lansing says.

The farm had been in Lansing's family since 1906.

"Me and my dad, we used to play ball right -- 200 feet from where this ballfield was built," he recalls.

Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones and the rest of the cast spent all summer long on Lansing's land. Reidel got into the act, too.

"I was in charge of the last shot of the movie, with the cars," she says. "So I had to organize 1,500 cars and 3,000 people."

Sue Reidel on the set of "Field of Dreams." CBS News

Lansing is retired now. He sold the farm a couple of years ago, but he still keeps the field in shape for the more than 60,000 fans who visit every year, playing catch, running the bases, or just remembering the lines that moved them.

Asked to name her favorite, one tourist says, "Yeah, mine is, 'Is this heaven?' 'It's Iowa.'"

It's that way for Reidel, too.

"I got to bring my father here, and even as old as he was," she says. "He wanted to hold that bat and just try it one more time, and I think there's something magical in that."

It is, after all, the field of dreams.

  • Dean Reynolds
    Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.