Originally telecast live from Dallas' Southern Methodist University on April 7, 1980, The Oldest Living Graduate was adapted from Preston Jones's 1974 play. Henry Fonda stars as Col. J. C. Kincaid, crusty patriarch of a Texas family. Kincaid's weak-willed son Floyd (George Grizzard) wants to get into the old man's good graces so that he, Floyd, can develop the Colonel's vast land ownings. Floyd arranges a city-wide celebration lauding Kincaid as the oldest living graduate of nearby military academy. The festivities serve only to make the already sour Kincaid even more truculent and miserable.
A research scientist (William Hurt) explores the boundaries and frontiers of consciousness. Using sensory deprivation and hallucinogenic mixtures from native American shamans, he explores these altered states of consciousness and finds that memory, time, and perhaps reality itself are states of mind.
A New York University professor returns from a rescue mission to the Amazon rainforest with the footage shot by a lost team of documentarians who were making a film about the area's local cannibal tribes.