4/12/2008

Charlton Heston

Since Charlton Heston died recently they have played a number of his movies on TV and I have enjoyed not just the films but the memorires of the times when they were made. His movies have been a part of the landscape of my life -when they came out and when we went to the local movie theater to see them and later with the many reruns on TV.

A few days after I went to the Circus last month TCM showed The Greatest Show on Earth. Great movie. It won the Oscar in the 1950s for Best Picture. I was surprised to learn it was Charlton Heston's second film, launched his career and he was about 27 years old when he made it. My sister Kathy called from Georgia while I was watchingn the film. ' Well how was the circus - I am watching The Greatest Show on Earth on TV and I remembered you had just been." We spent a few minutes talking abou the circus, the movie, and remembering our trip to the circus when we were kids.

Honoring Heston last week TCM host Robert Osborne replayed an hour long interview with Heston talking about his life and his movies. I am glad I watched it and heard Charlton Heston talk about the how and why of his movies and his approach to acting. It was something he loved doing and he worked hard to give the best performance he could.

At one point Osborne said, "you are a movie icon." and Heston responded. " People say that but I think its more that I have played a lot of very intresting men who achieved important things and some of that, maybe unfairly, rubbed off on me."

That reminded me of some genealogy advice I received once. When I was taking genealogy classes at the National Archives one of the instructors gave examples of " fame by association." For example, if you when you find the name of the boat that brought your ancestor to America and he or she is traveling in steerage - check the names of the other passengers - you may be surprised who was coming over in First Class - so they arrived on the boat with someone famous.

There are many ways to tell our stories.

Even though I did not agree with his onservative politics, I appreciated Charlton Heston for the way he chose to tell his story - and it has given me a richer appreciation for him as an actor and as a person.