Though cast and crew took over the UNC campus after the spring session had concluded, there was plenty of opportunity for the students to participate and observe. The production hired around 200 extras daily for exterior scenes. Costume designer Judy Ruskin dressed them to fit the period in mostly conservative button-down clothes, with lots of polyester, corduroy jackets and V-neck cardigans. The campus served as the site for the now-legendary noodle scene, which involved filling a swimming pool with water and 12,000 pounds of noodles.
Though exaggerated for the film, the noodle pool is another real-life stunt Patch has pulled off, demonstrating that there is no real limit on what hes willing to try in order to light a spark or a glimmer of hope and joy in a patient.
Patchs unorthodox and humor-driven methods were inspired years before by a fellow psychiatric ward patient, Rudy (Michael Jeter), who imagined personal demons so great that they took the form of vicious squirrels. The idea struck the then 18-year-old Patch as so preposterous he decided to help Rudy successfully conquer his fear by inventing a humorous game. It had a profound impact on the rest of Patchs life.
Says Patch, "No friends came to visit Rudy; I had lots of visitors. His tears weighed a million pounds, while mine barely had the weight to drop to the ground. When I was caring about Rudy I was no longer suffering; it took my mind off my own troubles and I became embarrassed about my pain compared to his. The experience helped me discover what a jubilant thrill it is to help others."