Posts Tagged ‘Ohio’

My Hometown Blogathon : Defiance, Ohio

Let’s Go to the Movies decided to host her very first blogathon and the rules weren’t too difficult to follow:  one could write about films set in one’s hometown, films made in one’s hometown, famous people in film who were born in your hometown, famous people in film who grew up in your hometown, and famous film folks who now live in your hometown.  My hometown has actually been featured in two films and a popular television show, so let’s delve into my hometown, Defiance, Ohio and find out what it’s connections to the entertainment industry are.


My Hometown Blogathon

In 1996 a family comedy film came to theatres, House Arrest, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Pollack.   It was written by Michael Hitchcock, who was  born in Defiance, Ohio but then moved to Western Springs, Illinois as a child.  He wrote House Arrest, setting the story in Defiance and named the characters after families he had known in Defiance.  I haven’t seen House Arrest but I recognized the surname Beindorf, which is the one of the families in the film’s last name.  Beindorf was the last name of the principal at Defiance Junior High School when I was a student there, 1977-1980. (At that time, our Junior High consisted of grades 7-9.)  Instead of  filming the scenes in Defiance, another Ohio city, Chagrin Falls, in the NE part of the state, was used as a stand-in.

Kids vs the Parents

Kids vs the Parents

Notice on Kevin Pollack's t shirt it says, "Defiance"! There is a college in the town so perhaps it was one of their t-shirts?

Notice on Kevin Pollack’s t shirt it says, “Defiance”! There is a college in my hometown,  so perhaps it was one of their t-shirts.

House Arrest is a cute movie, the premise is that four families are suddenly facing the fact that all of  their  marriages are on the rocks and  may end in divorce so the kids of these families somehow get their parents into the basement of the Beindorf family’s home, and lock them in there and tell their parents that they won’t be released until they agree to stop the various divorce proceedings.

Defiance, Ohio’s next brush with Hollywood came in of  April of 2001.   A book came out, The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio.  It was written by Terry Ryan, and it was the true story of how her mother entered many contests sponsored by advertisers in the 1950s and 1960s and won many of those contests.  She entered these contests  in order to find a way to keep an income coming into the home as she and her husband had 10 children to support and raise, and despite her husband, Kelly’s job, he often drank away much of his paychecks.    Many of these contests were jingle writing ones,  sponsored by advertisers of popular radio and television shows.   Mrs. Ryan, Evelyn,  used  her brains and  her strong writing skills,  and often won either money  or actual prizes  that she could sell for money to keep her family above water.  One contest was held by the local grocery store, Chief, and Evelyn  had to run through the store in a set amount of time  and load up her cart with free groceries-wish grocery stores had contests like that one today!   Terry had no idea how her book would be accepted by the readers of America but it did quite well, well enough for  screenwriter and director, Jane Anderson, to show interest in turning Terry’s book into a movie.

One of the movie's advertising posters

One of the movie’s advertising posters

The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio with a picture of the Ryan Family on the cover

The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio with a picture of the Ryan Family on the cover

My mom went to St. Mary’s Catholic School with Terry.  She said the Ryan kids were all really good kids, and yes, the town knew their dad had a drinking problem.  Their mother, Evelyn, was a nice lady.  Needless to say, when Terry’s book came out lots of folks in Defiance bought copies of it to read. When word got out that it was going to be made into a movie, lots of people were hoping it would actually be filmed in Defiance.  However, the favorable factor that filming in Canada would be cheaper to the studio won out and the movie was shot in various places in the province of Ontario!  Oh how disappointed the citizens of Defiance were, hoping for a movie to be filmed in their beloved town!  The stars of The Prizewinner of  Defiance, Ohio  are Julianne Moore, as Evelyn Ryan, Woody Harrelson as Kelly Ryan, and Laura Dern as Dortha Schaefer, a friend of Evelyn’s.  Terry Ryan and one of her sisters, , Betsy, make cameo appearances in the film.  Terry got to see the finished film but sadly passed away in 2007 from cancer.

My hometown, Defiance, Ohio has also appeared on the hit ABC television show, Scandal.   My dad is a huge fan of the show and during season 2’s run, he’d tell me how the  Defiance, Ohio voters were using illegally rigged touchscreen machines, and the unknowing citizens’ votes  gave the election to  President Fitgerald  Grant!  I had to laugh and laugh and laugh about this plot!  Out of curiosity, and thanks to our Roku box and Netflix, I began to watch Scandal, season 1 and then the infamous season 2 with it’s Defiance, Ohio storyline.  I laughed when I saw the high school(that’s  not what our high school looks like!), and the fact that the voting machines were stored in some utility building near a baseball field!   I still tease my Dad a bit about this “voting” scandal that highlighted my  hometown for a couple of months, on a fictional television show.



My last bit of Hollywood fame for my hometown was that Bob Hope’s son  married a local girl there, at the church I grew up attending, to boot!   A young woman from Defiance, OH, Judith Richards, went to Wellesley College and after graduation, went to Harvard Law School and earned her law degree.  Sometime in the pursuit of her degrees, she met and fell in love with Bob Hope’s son, Anthony.  The Hope’s were Catholic and the wedding was held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in December of 1967.   Defiance was all agog as celebrities descended to attend the wedding ceremony: Bing Crosby and his wife, Katherine, Liza Minelli, Toots Shor, and Phyllis Diller, to name a few.  Mrs. Crosby even went to one of the downtown’s local drugstores to purchase something and had no cash on her so she wrote a check, which the store proudly displayed for several years!

Settled in the flatlands of NW Ohio, a small city of 16,000 with tinier towns nestled around it, fields of corn or soybeans dotting the area during the Spring and Summer, a General Motors foundry town, Defiance, Ohio has done remarkably well in being tapped for Hollywood mediums of entertainment.


Son’s Introduction to Idiocy 101 at College

Our oldest son decided to serve our country in the Fall of 2009.  After his high school graduation, he was whisked away in early August with other young people who had decided to join the USMC.  After his successful 4 years in the military were finished, he enrolled in college via the Post 911 GI Bill and is now a freshman at Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio.


We skype with him pretty much every Sunday afternoon, an NFL game usually playing in the background.  So far, he’s spent most of his time studying, working part-time at the on campus Veteran’s Affairs office, and hanging out with extended relatives from his Dad’s side of the family.  This past Sunday he asked, “Oh!  Have you heard about the latest scandal at OU’s campus?”  We hadn’t heard about the latest scandal.  Suffice it to say, it was a  “Welcome to Idiocy 101”, college-style, for our son.

Two weeks ago, the president of Ohio University, Dr. Roderick McDavis , issued an ALS ice bucket challenge to the  Student Senate President, Megan Marzec.   Ms. Marzec decided to do a bucket challenge but not for ALS.  She had a video made of her pouring a “blood” bucket over herself while declaring that Ohio University should join a “Boycott Divestment and Sanctions” movement against the nation of  Israel.  Ms. Marzec actually used red-food colored water, not real blood.

In her video, she shared “student” concerns about genocide in Gaza and it’s occupation by the Israeli State.  Then she urged Dr. McDavis and Ohio University to “divest  and cut all ties” with Israeli Academic Institutions and businesses.  She said that the bucket of blood represented thousands of murdered and displaced Palestinians.

Ms. Marzec made her video on September 2nd.  The Student Senate, later that same day, sent out a Tweet via Twitter to apologize for Senate President Marzec’s video, and then another tweet  to state that their goal is to represent all students on campus and their views.   The Wednesday after this video was created and aired, 4 Jewish students decided to speak out at a Student Government meeting  and stage a filibuster,  asking  for Marzec’s resignation from the Student President position.   Marzec asked for student Rebecca Sebo, President of Bobcats for Israel(the Bobcat is the mascot of Ohio University) to stop her filibuster so other students at the meeting could speak in an orderly manner.  Sebo refused to stop and three other members of Bobcats for Israel also began to speak and join the filibuster.  Marzec then warned the 4 protesters that if they didn’t stop they’d be arrested for disrupting the meeting.  University Police were called and they gave the 4 protesters a 2 minute warning to stop their filibuster.  The 4 students refused to stop speaking and were arrested, taken to the campus police station and charged with disruption of a lawful meeting.   On September 12, Hillel International, a nationwide Jewish campus organization, has called upon Ohio University to apologize to the 4 students who were arrested: Rebecca Sebo, Max Peltz, Gabriel Sirkin, and Jonah Yulish.

OU Bobcats

My son’s take on all of this hubbub is that the students who were protesting at the Student Senate meeting shouldn’t have been arrested.  Perhaps they should have followed the protocol that is used when one wants to speak at a Student Government meeting, Roberts Rules of Order, etc.  However, stating their desire to have the Student President resign-that’s an offense where they needed to be arrested?

Ms. Marzec made a major error in her video.  She said she was sharing “student” concerns.  No, she was stating her “own” concerns, and perhaps if she’d made the video stating that it was  her own opinion,  and not say that all 17,000 students held her same views on Israel and Gaza and Palestinians, then perhaps her video blood bucket challenge wouldn’t have been so offensive.

In hindsight, if a University President, in a spirit of goodwill and bonhomie, asks one to participate in an ice water challenge to raise funds for a charity, than wouldn’t it be best for all at said University to honor the President’s request?  The consequences of honoring President McDavis’s original challenge would have been nonexistant.  Student President Marzec showed a lack of common sense in answering a simple request/challenge by turning  a fun way to help a charity into an immature rant that was gross and offensive.

How invested is Ohio University in the nation of Israel?  I don’t know and I don’t care!  If the University was misusing students’ dollars to pay for lavish vacations for professors or for President McDavis, or if there was a major cheating scandal happening at the school, or even bullying going on, or lousy cafeteria food-those are the types of items I would anticipate a Student President and Student Senate to be concerned with, not what is going on in a nation very far away from Athens, Ohio.   Idiocy 101; it happens in real life, and unfortunately, on college campuses.


Research for this blog provided by:  “Ohio University divided over Student Senate president’s blood bucket challenge”, by Karen Farkas, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sept. 16th, 2014.

“Ohio University Asked To Apologize Following Arrest of Pro-Israel Students”, by Stephen Adkins, University Herald, Sept. 15th, 2014.