Film Historian Bruce Crawford Host 35th Event
By Kyle Eustice
Film Historian and Omaha local Bruce Crawford has an undying passion for movies, and that just might be an understatement. It is his love of the incredible film scores and documentary production skills that first garnered him national attention. Crawford has produced two nationally and internationally broadcast radio documentaries on film composers Bernard Herrmann and Miklos Rozsa. Bernard Herrmann: A Celebration of His Life and Music is a salute to the composer of scores to such films as Citizen Kane, Psycho, Taxi Driver, and Vertigo. Running at 2 1/2 hours, it was first broadcast nationally in 1992, and has since become a milestone in the works honoring Herrmann.
Additionally, Crawford has hosted screenings of a wide variety of films in Omaha, including King Kong (1933) and American Graffiti (1973) to Titanic (1997) and Carousel (1956) On Friday, November 7 Crawford hosts his 35th tribute to classic films with a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Special guest includes actress Tippi Hedren, the star of the film. Artist Nicolosi again has a commemorative U.S. Postal Envelope honoring the film, which will be unveiled at the event. Hedren and Nicolosi will autograph for the fans at the event, and the commemorative envelope can be purchased and signed by them, as well. Tickets for the event went on sale Wednesday, October 15. Shout talked to Crawford about making this latest event happen, his love of movies and The Birds.
Shout Omaha (Kyle Eustice): It’s incredible that you got Tippi to attend the event. How did that happen?
I contacted her manager and worked out a date that worked for us and she agreed to join us.
Do you have a fascination with Alfred Hitchcock films or just this one in particular?
Yes, I love his films very much. Composer Bernard Herrmann wrote some of the most famous music in movies for Hitchcock’s films, Psycho being the most famous music in movie history. The music becomes the movie.
How did you become so interested in films in general?
I fell in love with them as a 5-year-old when I saw Mysterious Island. The Ray Harryhausen special effects and Bernard Herrmann’s music changed my life.
What led you to a job as a film historian?
It all happened on its own. I didn’t plan it this way it just came to be. I produced the National Public Radio documentary on Herrmann’s music with Bob Coate the
Program Director for KIOS FM here in Omaha and we interviewed people worldwide who worked with Herrmann, many famous people some of them, and the program went world wide and really established me. Then I started hosting the film events in 1992 and hosted Ray Harryhausen after his lifetime achievement Oscar and showed Mysterious Island and Jason and The Argonauts and that started the film events going. So I owe my career to these two men.
What about The Birds is so timeless?
It appeals to so many because it is visceral and primal. We all see birds everyday we go outside and to think they could conspire to attack us is a scary thought.
I was literally scared of this movie as a kid. As an adult, it seems less scary [laughs]. Do you think you’ll have any screamers during the screening?
Could very well be. It still packs a wallop all these years later because it isn’t overly graphic, but uses style and imagery to scare you.
How did Nicolosi get involved?
Nic and I met in 2007 when John Wayne’s centennial was celebrated in his home town of Winterset, Iowa. We were introduced to each other by Wayne’s son Ethan and daughter Melinda. He is a world-renowned artist and designs for the Postal Service. The U S Post Office has acknowleged our events by honoring them with commemorative envelopes and stamps paying tribute to the film and our guest.
How long did this event take to plan and how many people have helped pull it together?
They vary in their planning. Sometimes it takes all six months or more. I work alone on the planning, but have a crew who do logistics at the event the night of the show.
What did you do last year? How did that event go? How many people do anticipate this year?
I host them twice a year and for the spring event we had Patty Duke and The Miracle Worker. We usually get a full or near full house.
Tickets are on sale now! The special screening of The Birds takes place Friday November 7th at 7 p.m. at the Joslyn Art Museum on 2200 Dodge Street in Omaha, Nebraska. Tickets are $23 at all Omaha Hy-Vee food stores customer service counters and go on sale beginning October 15th. Event is a benefit for the Nebraska Kidney Association. For more information you may call 402-932-7200.