BGSU film series spotlights Ohio actors

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Why has Ohio spawned so many prominent actors, from Lillian and Dorothy Gish to Paul Newman to Katie Holmes? No one knows, but a special Sunday matinee series in the Gish Film Theater and Gallery at Bowling Green State University will feature some famous screen stars from years past, all of whom have stars on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

“Ohio is second in line after Virginia in the number of presidents it’s produced, and it also has an unusually large number of well-known actors,” said Dr. Ralph Haven Wolfe, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English and Gish Professor of Film Studies.

All shows begin at 3 p.m. in the theater, located in Hanna Hall, and are free. Toledo film collector and historian Jan Wahl will provide an introduction for each.

The Centennial Celebration of Ohio and BGSU Actors kicks off this Sunday (Sept. 12) with “Alibi Ike” (1935), starring Olivia de Havilland and Ohioan Joe E. Brown. Born in Holgate, Brown lived in Wood County as a child and was honored by BGSU with the naming of the Joe E. Brown Theatre in University Hall.

Also on the bill will be “Under Western Stars” (1938), with Roy Rogers and Smiley Burnette. Born Leonard Slye in Cincinnati, Rogers was known as “The King of the Cowboys.” “Under Western Stars” launched his famous horse, Trigger.

The series continues on Sept. 19 with a sampling of the work of comic stars Tim Conway, a BGSU alumnus from Willoughby, and Lima native Phyllis Diller. Diller is a member of the Gish Film Theater National Advisory Committee.

Oct. 17 is a special day in the series, offering two films with Lillian Gish in commemoration of her Oct. 14, 1893, birth in Springfield. D.W. Griffith’s 1912 “An Unseen Enemy” features both Gish sisters, Lionel Barrymore and Mary Pickford. Piano accompaniment will be provided by Stuart Oderman, silent-film pianist for the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Also playing is “The Trip to Bountiful,” with Lillian Gish and BGSU alumna Eva Marie Saint.  Saint gained fame acting opposite such leading men as Marlon Brando, Gregory Peck and Cary Grant and has won an Academy Award, an Emmy and the Drama Critics Award. BGSU also named a theater in University Hall in her honor.

“The Mark of Zorro” (1940) on Oct. 31 stars the dashing Tyrone Power as the masked crusader, along with Linda Darnell and Basil Rathbone. Power was another Cincinnati native and a superstar during the late 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s.

The series concludes on Nov. 7 with “Teacher’s Pet” (1958), starring two Ohio natives: Doris Day, from Cincinnati, and Clark Gable, from Cadiz. The lively battle of the sexes and of ideas features the two performers at their peak.

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(Posted September 09, 2010 )