The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on November 4, 2007 · Page 28
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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 28

Des Moines, Iowa
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Page 28
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Page 2B Sunday, November 4, 2007 Des Moines Sunday Register FINAL Quality Garages at an Affordable Price call "the garage guys" at AFFORDABLE COySTRVCTIO 2 FALL SALE INCLUDES 4" reinforced concrete foundation Stall KOrt Double Wide raised panel overhead door Garage V . U f ' Insulated service door Vinyl siding mm-s sm nm to Bum a &mm ftefo Wrtrf ' Aluminum Fascia & Soffit 25 year shingles FAMOUS IOWANS J 4 Annual Fall Des Moines Doll, Bear, & Toy Sale E Saturday, November 1 0 a Presented by the Des Moines Doll Show f f 9AM-3PM Admission $3 for Adults ' 10 and under free 8 am Early Bird Admission $10 Iowa State Fairgrounds Elwell Family Food Center (Tourism Building) E. 30 & University Ave. Des Moines, Iowa Doll & Bear Verbal Appraisals Door Prizes FREE PARKING On-site Doll Repairs 515 986-1975 I WAREHOUSE BOOK SALE Shop ridiculously low Pesj 50 to 75 Off and help us reduce inventory. Friday November 9....8a.m. to 6 p.m. JturdavHovember10....9a.m.to5p.m. Choose books on Quilting, Crafting, Needlework, Appliq, Kttin9 Woodworking, Routers, Table Sws, Thimbleberries Books, Journals, Calendars and more. LANDAUERJ vJirjiiii"'""Mt " 800 31001 .557-21 iirbandale. .landauercu com lln,, X3C TLl ! 'l$WWIWUIWMiiipAW OPEN HOUSE THIS SUNDAY 1PM-4PM Oi'i v HorsF Si dvss 1:(IOi'm-4:O0im Oi'kn Monuvy - Fkmiu 9M-6'M SvllRIHVS BY AlTDIM MCM Call us at (515) 457-1111 to plan your personal visit. 1701 Campus Drive Clive, IA Walnut Ridge iNjf Clark St A H I 1 Inluarsitv I I y University WWW.WALNUTRIDGEATCLIVE.COM iPLKSQM 20 Discount On Our Entire Stock of Men's & Women's Shoes, Boots & Handbags NOW IN PROGRESS! 'Special orders not included Mon-Fri 9:30-5:30, Thurs 9:30-8:00, Sat 9:30-5:00 -PooTuucoa DOWNTOWN AMES Watkin, Jackson distinguished scores of movies over decades By TOM L0NGDEN REGISTER STAFF WRITER Selmer Jackson and Pierre Watkin were silver-haired staples of the movie screen. Their faces are familiar to film fans who value the golden years of Hollywood. The Iowa-born performers were among a group of character actors who gave movies an air of authority by the parts they played usually distinguished men who held important jobs. They regularly played military officers, political figures, government officials, editors, publishers, lawyers and judges. Pierre Watkin sometimes erroneously billed as "Watkins" was one of Hollywood's most distinguished-looking character actors, urbane and upper-class, well-heeled and impeccably dressed. He was born Dec. 29, 1889, in Sioux City, and probably would have become a lawyer if it hadn't been for his brother, who was an actor. Watkin watched his brother onstage, figured he could do just as well himself, stopped studying law and launched a successful stage career. By 1928, he was on Broadway, in a short-lived comedy, "Possession." He began his film career with a part in "Jewel Robbery" in 1932, although most sources list his first movie as "Dangerous," which provided Bette Davis with her first Oscar in 1935. In between those two movies, Watkin was back on Broadway. In August 1932 he was in a shortlived musical revue. In 1933, he was in a drama, "We the People," followed in 1934 by two farces, "Whatever Possessed Her" and "Too Much Party." If movie casting directors needed the right man to play a district attorney, they called on Watkin for such productions as "Mr. Moto's Gamble" (1938), "King of the Underworld" (1939), "King of Chinatown" (1939) and "Lady for a Night" (1942). i i ", 1 iff c' xj PHOTOS SPECIAL TO THE REGISTER PIERRE WATKIN and SELMER JACKSON Movie character actors Pierre Watkin and Selmer Jackson racked up hundreds of movies and TV shows, and their list of credits shows them to be employed steadily in Hollywood, decade after decade. Watkin was described as a "tall, well-built character with a neat mustache, fine shock of wavy gray hair and a well-worn air of success and authority." Jackson was called "one of the screen's busiest and best portray-ers of substantial citizens." Because they were not leading stars, little is know about their personal lives, and even the librarians at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were surprised when they found that they had no files on the men. He excelled as a senator, notably as Senator Barnes, the Senate minority leader in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939), but also in "The Plainsman and the Lady" (1946), as Senator Lauterback in "State of the Union" (1948), "Flamingo Road" (1949) and "Atlantic City" (1949). Watkin's credits ranged from appropriately "Sioux City Sue" (1946) to "The Story of Sea Biscuit" in 1949 (as the owner of the famed horse) to "Cheers for Miss Bishop" (1941), based on the novel by Iowa author Bess Streeter Aldrich, "Knute Rockne, All American" (1940) and "The Bank Dick" with W.C. Fields (1940). His last film was "The Flying Fontaines" in 1959. In the 1948 edition of "Who's Who in Hollywood," Watkin is summarized thusly: "6-feet tall, weighs 180 pounds, has gray hair and blue eyes, and is married." Like Jackson and other talented actors of the period, Watkin shifted easily to the new invention of television and was in a host of popular series, including "I Love Lucy," "The Jack Benny Show," "Perry Mason," "Dragnet" and a number of Westerns. Watkin is one more Iowa actor with links to "Superman" stories. But instead of playing the superhero, he was Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet, in two Superman serials produced by Columbia Studios in the late 1940s. He also appeared as other characters in the George Reeves TV series, "The Adventures of Superman." Watkin died Feb. 3, 1960, in Hollywood after a short illness. Selmer Adolf Jackson was born May 7, 1888, in Lake Mills, and broke into films in 1921, when movies were still silent, in "The Supreme Passion." With his excellent voice, he sailed easily into the Talkies. He frequently was cast early in his movie career as a radio announcer: "Three on a Match" (1932), "Two Against the World" (1932), "The Little Giant" (1933), "Fog Over Frisco" (1934) and "Page Miss Glory" (1935) . When directors needed someone to play a physician convincingly, they called on Jackson: "The Star Maker" (1935), "Out of This World" (1945), "Johnny Comes Flying Home" (1946) and "Sorrowful Jones" (1949). He played ministers in such movies as "Every Girl Should Be Married" (1948), "No Man of Her Own" (1950) and "We're Not Married" (1952). Jackson can be appreciated in such classics as "My Man Godfrey" (1936); "Union Pacific" (1939); as the inspection officer at the California state line in "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940) ; "Saboteur" (1942), starring Iowa's Priscilla Lane; "The Fighting Sullivans" (1944), about Iowa's heroic brothers serving in the Navy; and "Shepherd of the Hills" (1941) . Jackson his first name was sometimes incorrectly spelled "Selmar" switched easily to TV parts, showing up in "Wyatt Earp," "The Adventures of Superman," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Bonanza." The 1948 edition of "Who's Who in Hollywood" said: "Selmer Jackson admits it's hard to get people to spell his first name correctly. Many's the time a casting director has sent for him on the premise that he was getting a well-known character actress! Usually though, when they call for Jackson, they want a board-of-directors chairman or the president of the Better Business League." Jackson rounded out his acting career in 1963, and was 82 when he died of a heart attack in Burbank, Calif., on March 30, 1971. Prep day teaches students about going to college By TODD ERZEN REGISTER STAFF WRITER Roosevelt High School senior Chris Williams has no doubts about why his future must include a college education. "I don't like having to depend on anybody else," he said. Williams was joined Saturday by about 20 other area high school students and their families at a free college prep day held at Drake University. The third annual event was sponsored by the Des Moines NAACP Youth Council and attracted a mostly black audience looking for answers about admission processes, financial aid and college life in general. Mission accomplished, said Ronnie Hawkins, mother of a Roosevelt junior who will be the first child of four she plans to send to college. "There's a lot of things you are very curious about but don't know where to start getting the answers," she said. Education leaders across the country are looking for answers as well, following a 2006 study by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A report in Education Week magazine said the national high school graduation rate of roughly 70 percent falls to about 52 percent when considering blacks alone and 56 percent for Hispanics. College statistics don't fair any better. At Iowa's state universities, the minority graduation rate measures from 1 1 to 17 points lower than for the rest of the student population. Keynote speaker Natasha Kaiser-Brown, a two-time Olympian and head track and field coach at Drake, also made a pitch to high school students and families about setting high and nonnegotiable expectations. "I got bombarded with going to college since elementary school ... it wasn't an option," she said. "Accept the challenge that you are going to college." That challenge can be daunting for many reasons for first -generation college prospects, said Juan Garcia of Iowa Student Loan, one of the event's sponsors. In the case of some of Iowa's Hispanic youth, he said many of them write off college completely because the financing seems impossible. Garcia said a simple conversation about Pell Grants that can offer up to $4,300 annually to a student can be quite an eye-opener. Reporter Todd Erzen can be reached at (515) 284-8527 or ' k a - ml v- VVi iiithi ANDREA MELENDEZTHE REGISTER Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle speaks Saturday at the Greenpeace Step It Up rally at the West Capitol Terrace in Des Moines. Rally stresses climate as a campaign issue The environment should be a top topic in next year's presidential election, say speakers at a Greenpeace event in Des Moines. By MOLLY H0TTLE REGISTER STAFF WRITER The environmental movement met politics Saturday on the west steps of the Capitol, where Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and representatives of several presidential candidates spoke at the Greenpeace Step It Up event. Participants urged that the environment be part of next year's campaign. "We need to hear (about global warming) from every candidate, from every party," said Cownie, who has made the environment a centerpiece of his administration. "This is a problem we have to solve collectively, not individually." About 50 Des Moines-area residents attending the event heard Cownie and representatives of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards on the issue of global warming. A video petition was also being filmed, allowing people to voice their concerns. Participants also had the chance to put their index fingers in green paint to show their pledge to vote on the issue in 2008. Kelly Mitchell, the Greenpeace global warming organizer for Iowa, said envi- ronmental events are vital in the months leading to the presidential election. "We really want to make sure it's a priority, both for presidential candidates that are coming through, but also for our members of Congress that are in Washington right now and have the power to be changing policies as we speak," Mitchell said. "I think coming out here, seeing the representatives speak about their plan to tackle the issue while also learning about the science and policies will really help voters become more educated for the 2008 elections." Sandra Blessings, a Des Moines resident for three years, said hearing from John Campbell, representative for the Edwards campaign, made her rethink her vote. "What John Campbell just said made me lean towards Edwards as a candidate," Blessings said. "The issue of global warming is going to be a major point in how I choose come Election Day." Educational materials were also available during the rally, and attendees could make miniature wind turbines with personal messages on them that would be sent to representatives in Washington. "We're hoping that we'll have politicians who aren't just saying they care about global warming, but that they'll lead on this issue," Mitchell said. Reporter Molly Holtle can be reached at (515) 284-8065 or ,03CT X

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