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Reed festival opens with a salute to veterans

Three-day festival continues today, Sunday

April 28, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Given Donna Reed's unwavering support of veterans, it's only fitting a film festival in her honor kicked off with a salute to those who served our country.

The Orpheum Theater's Donna Reed Film Festival opened Friday to honor the Iowa actress, who was from Denison.

"Like Donna, we are proud to be in a community that supports and loves our veterans," said Orpheum Director Pip Gordon.

Article Photos

Mary Owen, left, daughter of Donna Reed, talks with Orpheum Theater Director Pip Gordon prior to the opening of the Donna Reed Film Festival Friday at the Orpheum. The festival continues with a full day Saturday and two events Sunday.

The veterans were invited to "Dear Donna," a performance based on letters soldiers sent Reed in the 1940s that she kept.

While the veterans were the special guests for Friday, the special guest for the entire weekend from New York is Mary Owen, daughter of Donna Reed.

"It's incredible," Owen said of the festival.

Fact Box


11 a.m. - Movie: "The Human Comedy" starring Donna Reed, Mickey Rooney, Frank Morgan, James Craig, Marsha Hunt and Van Johnson.

1 p.m. - "Dear Donna'" performance in the Black Box Theater.

2 p.m. - Movie: "Faithful in my Fashion" starring Donna Reed, Tom Drake and Edward Everett Horton.

4 p.m. - "A Conversation with Mary Owen." A one hour question and answer session with the daughter of Donna Reed, Mary Owen.

7 p.m. - "Dear Donna" Performance in the Black Box Theater.

8 p.m. - Movie: "See Here, Private Hargrove" starring Donna Reed, Robert Walker and Keenan Wynn.


2 p.m. - Closing Ceremony, Reception in Black Box "Dear Donna" performance in the Black Box Theater.

3 p.m. - Movie:"They Were Expendable" starring John Wayne, Robert Montgomery and Donna Reed.

As far as the salute to veterans, Owen feels her mother would have been proud.

"She would be so happy," Owen said. "She'd love it."

When asked what her favorite memories were of her mother, Owen had too many to list them off hand but one came to mind.

"There were a lot of them," Owen said. "She had a great sense of humor."

Iona Dittmer, of Marshalltown, was in attendance at the opening performance with her husband Marcus who is a veteran. Dittmer said Reed represented the wholesome actresses of the mid-1900s.

"I always thought she was a very pretty lady and a really good actress," Dittmer said.

The three-day festival continues Saturday and Sunday with movie screenings and other special events. "Dear Donna" will be performed again at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday and Mary Owen will host a question and answer session at 4 p.m. Saturday.

The Donna Reed Museum in Denison partnered with the Orpheum to put on the festival.



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