The Sam Houston State University Junior Fellows will honor Hollywood leading man and Huntsville native Dana Andrews during their fourth annual “Legends of Hollywood Film Festival” on Sept. 15.
The festival will be held at the Walker Education Center and will include a reception, an introduction by Andrews’s biographer Carl Rollyson and Andrews’s daughter Susan Andrews, a showing of the film “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” and a dinner. Andrews also is the star of “The Best Years of Our Lives” and “Laura.”
The reception will begin at 5 p.m., followed by introductions at 5:30 p.m. and the screening, which will begin at 6 p.m.
“We see this as a unique opportunity to continue promoting classic films in Huntsville while also highlighting local history,” said Junior Fellow Santiago Casas. “We are especially excited this year, with the opportunity to bring Dana Andrews’ family and Dr. Rollyson to Sam Houston State University and to Huntsville.”
The Junior Fellows are also bringing Andrews’s niece Angela Fabry and other family members to the festival, which will feature Rollyson as the guest speaker.
Rollyson, the author of 40 books, has just released the first major biography of Andrews, “Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews.” Almost a third of the book is devoted to Andrews’s time in Huntsville, making the read enjoyable for Hollywood fans and local history buffs alike, according to Junior Fellows adviser Mike Yawn. A limited supply of books will be available for purchase, and Rollyson will sign books following the film.
Although the Junior Fellows have hosted film festivals previously, this one has new twists and, in manyrespects, is a culmination of their work over the years. While the festival is the local highlight, the Junior Fellows are drawing on relationships they’ve built in the community and region to put on a three-day, four-city book tour for Rollyson that will involve seven distinct events, Yawn said.
“So many people and organizations in the area have offered us opportunities, and we wanted to include them in this opportunity if we could,” Junior Fellow Melva Gomez said. “We approached different organizations with which we’ve worked in the past to see if they were interested in working together. Things just fell in place.”
The fellows’ tour will include escorting Rollyson to two SHSU classes; a luncheon hosted by former SHSU Professor Bonnie Thorne at Huntsville’s First Baptist Church, where Andrews’ father was pastor from 1924-1929; booking Rollyson and Andrews at Houston’s Brazos Bookstore for a book signing on Friday evening; and a tour and luncheon with the Madison County Museum to bring the Andrews family to Madisonville, where the family lived for several years in the 1930s, as part of the city’s 100th birthday celebration.
Also among these events, on Sept. 13, will be a special tour of the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, after which the library will host a public screening of “Laura” and a book signing by Rollyson in the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center.
“The Junior Fellows have been attending events here for several years,” said Tracy Paine, events coordinator for the Bush Presidential Library. “I get excited when I see their enthusiasm and willingness to make the most out of the opportunities they have as students. It’s a pleasure to partner with them on the ‘Laura’ screening and the Rollyson book signing.”
For the six Junior Fellows, it’s a rewarding, and a busy, week.
“This is what our adviser calls a ‘stretch assignment,’” said Junior Fellow Annel Gonzalez. “It’s an opportunity to promote and deepen our appreciation for the arts, to refine event-planning skills, to maintain relationships we have made in Huntsville, College Station and Houston, and to carry out our mission of promoting education, public service, and professional development.”
Festival tickets must be reserved in advance and are $20 each, which includes the reception, the film, the dinner, and the speaker’s presentations.
“This is our first year to hold the festival in the Walker Education Center,” said Junior Fellow Will Phillips. “It is a large venue, and we hope that people will come out and enjoy the film, the speaker, the history, and the dinner.”