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Great directors are force behind great movies
Written by Bill Baird   
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 9:18 PM

When we got married we agreed that I would name the female offspring and she would name the male offspring. Today Wednesday, Jan. 23, is the birthday of our first born Laura Ann. I named her after the movie Laura with the nice theme tune Laura that I saw at an all-night movie theater in Detroit and Ann after my wife’s sweet youngest sister Barbara Ann.

Laura was born at the old Bethesda Hospital which was in Avondale on a cold Sunday morning. Being told it would take a while, I was at a nearby diner having coffee across Reading Road from the giant Sears Roebuck store which was there at the time.

If all goes as planned I will wish her a happy birthday by giving her a copy of this newspaper. I will then take her to renew her driver’s license with the beautiful ladies at the Harrison License Bureau, and after that to her choice of Harrison’s fine eating places.

Laura’s daughter, Karie, and granddaughter, Madisen, have birthdays on Sunday, Jan. 27. Next month are more birthdays Ethan, Ian, Tanner, etc.

Two girls I love recently appeared in newsprint. My beautiful great-granddaughter Ashley Wegford appeared in the Jan. 2 edition of this newspaper on page five in the group photo of Harrison Junior High students thanking the Hubert Company for its generous donation to needy families.

Ashley is on the right in the front row with the pretty smile. She recently moved to this best junior high school in the world from Eaton, Ohio. My beautiful Harrison High senior granddaughter and Sunshine Girl Lexis Dole made The Cincinnati Enquirer sports page on Thursday, Jan. 10, with a high series bowling score of 295.

It is with sadness that I report that Larry Farsace of Rochester, N.Y., ended his journey Wednesday, Jan. 9, through the passing parade of his long and interesting life after a battle with cancer. Larry was born on Feb.11, 1921, and would have been 92 on his upcoming birthday.

Larry was a long-time reader of The Harrison Press and this column. He was a friend that I never had the chance to meet. His family members from this area use to save up copies of The Press and send them to Larry until he started getting fresh copies by subscription.

Larry had lived an exciting and full life, which included meeting many important people such as stars and politicians. He was quite the writer through the years writing opinion letters to editors and even to me. I will truly miss him as a reader.

My sincere sympathy to Larry’s wife, Hazel, who I have met, and his other relatives. My thanks to his niece, Krista Ross, for notifying me and sending the photographs of Larry at Christmas and with one of his many awards. Larry called Krista his Little Katharine Hepburn.

Do you know what is required to make a truly great motion picture? Great stars who excel in the art of acting and a great story are truly a must but the more I think about it as a lover of great films, a great director is the most important requirement in making a truly great film.

My all-time favorite director is Frank Capra (1897-1991). He usually directed feel-good films about ordinary people. He directed my second most favorite film It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). I never saw a Capra film I didn’t enjoy.

John Ford (1894-1973) directed my number one favorite film The Grapes of Wrath (1940) although I don’t like all of his films. When it comes to mystery crime thrillers Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) is the best because that was all he did.

He usually appeared uncredited in a cameo role. From 1922 to 1939, he directed great films in his home country England. From 1940 to 1976, he finished his 67 films in the U.S.A. I like some of his English films better than the later ones, some of which were remakes.

Psycho (1960) is one of his later best. I liked Saboteur (1942) in which Nazi spy Frank Fry, played by Norman Lloyd (1914), falls off the torch of the Statue of Liberty screaming all the way down.

Turner Classic Movies is showing three Hitchcock English gems Sunday, Jan. 27, starting at 8 p.m. The 39 Steps (1935), starring Madeleine Carroll (1906-1987) and Robert Donat (1905-1958), leads off.
At 9:30 p.m., Turner features The Lady Vanishes (1938), starring Margaret Lockwood (1916-1990), Michael Redgrave (1908-1985) and Dame May Whitty (1865-1948).

At 11:15 p.m., Sabotage (1936), starring Sylvia Sidney (1910-1999), Oskar Homolka (1898-1978), Desmond Tester (1919-2002), and John Loder (1898-1988), is on the bill. These are three great spy mysteries. Enjoy all three, I did!

Bill Baird is a Whitewater Township resident who writes a weekly column about old movies and Hollywood trivia.