Friday, September 11, 2009

Educating 4th Graders on "Little House"

September 11, what a day! A sad day in the USA as we remember those who fallen on September 11, 2001. To honor that our president made today national reading day so what does that mean? Bring on Halfpint! I was asked to go to our local elementary school today to read to children. My students were 4th graders. While walking into the classroom I had my large print version of "Little House in the Big Woods" I remember a little girl telling me while I make my way to my chair that she had already read that book and the entire series. I was amazed! At first, I thought she was pulling my leg but she started to talk about things in the books that only a reader would know.

So while I am at awe over this student I begin to give my "talk" (drum-roll)

Before I start, I always open up to the class if they have ever seen the TV show or ready any of the books. I already knew one student had but the others started to say no, but a few have seen the Michael Landon series. To win the time and attention of these students I needed to come up with something that would make them think but be fun at the same time. I told them all to close their eyes and think about life without no Internet, Computers, Video Games, TVs just books and long prairie fields. I then shared this was how Laura lived. So I started to read and share pictures and answer questions as I went a long.

What I found amazing was how interested the students really were. Students who I thought wouldn't event care did. I remember leaving and having one of the students ask me if I was going to come back and finish the book. The teacher said I was always welcome back. I did share that if they enjoyed the books but dont like to read big books at a time to check out the chapter books. They are much smaller and cheaper which parents like :)

Overall, I'm glad I was able to bring JOY to young minds today on such as sad day for our country.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dabbs Greer: The Man Behind The Role of Reverend Robert Alden

Dabbs Greer was born April 2, 1917 in Fairview, Mo, but would soon settle in a small town of Anderson, Missouri with his family while an infant. His father operated a drug store in town, while his mother was a speech therapist. When asked about his hometown in an interview with Neosho Daily News he said, “Growing up there was like growing up anywhere else. When you’re a kid, you really don’t think much about it, you live day to day. I still have some good memories of the place, and I’ve never called any other place home, although I’ve lived in California for 50 years. One thing about a small town like Anderson is you get to know people intimately. You can’t do that in a big city. It was a beautiful city then, and it’s still beautiful. We would fish, have adventures, just do the things that boys do in a rural community.” The town celebrates Dabbs Greer’s accomplishments as a successful actor with “Dabbs Greer Days” that started in October 2004.

The acting bug hit Dabbs Greer when he was eight years old when he got his first acting experience on stage for a children’s theater production. After graduating from Anderson High School, Dabbs pursued his education and attended Drury College in Springfield, Mo. where he earned a bachelor’s degree. After graduating college, he served as head of the drama department at Mountain Grove High School from 1940 to 1943. After teaching, Dabbs went to Pasadena, where he was offered a job at the community playhouse. Dabbs was at the Pasadena Playhouse for seven years, leaving it for a career in films.

Dabbs Greer made his film debut in the 1938 20th Century Fox production of “Jesse James,” which was filmed in Pineville. In his interview with the Neosho Daily News in 2002 he said about his first picture, “Just like everybody else in the county, the folks at 20th Century Fox didn’t realize this, but that picture really put McDonald County on the map. And they were paying $5 a day — a day! — to local people for being extras. That was really good money in those days, more money than most of us had seen in a long time. That picture was beneficial for the whole area.”
Dabbs Greer has appeared in almost 100 movies spanning over 5 decades, and with almost 200 TV guest appearances.
Dabbs Greer first appeared on TV in pilot episode of “The Adventures of Superman” in September 1952. Some of Dabbs most famous roles are his sci-fi films of the 1950’s with movies like, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956) — “It ! The Terror from Beyond Space” (1958) — “The Giant Claw” (1957) and “The Vampire” (1957).

On television, Dabbs appeared in several classic TV shows such as, “The Twilight Zone,” and three appearances on “The Untouchables,” “How to Marry a Millionaire”, “Picket Fences,” and “Gunsmoke.” Dabbs also appeared in the pilot of “The Brady Bunch” in 1969 marrying Mike and Carol Brady who would later reprise that role in the adult version of the “The Brady Bunch” in the 1990 series “The Brady’s” marrying Mike and Carol Brady’s youngest son, Bobby.

Dabbs Greer will probably be best remembered by fans for his role as the loveable Reverend Robert Alden on Michael Landon’s “Little House on the Prairie.” Dabbs Greer loved his role and always spoke highly of the show and its cast in interviews over the years. In weeks before his passing some of the cast of “Little House on the Prairie” visited with Dabbs to celebrate his 90th birthday. Susan McCray, casting director for “Little House on the Prairie” and friend of Dabbs Greer had the following to say about his work and passing, “We are all saddened by the passing of our beloved Revered Alden but he will live on in our hearts forever. He had a great impact on those who were and are fans of “Little House on the Prairie” Michael never ceased to be emotionally affected by his dramatic scenes as we all were. Dabbs had an incredible career and lived a joyous life. We will miss him terribly.”

Dabbs Greer never married and had no survivors, but fans will miss him, and he will indeed be thought of offten. In television series, and films usually the lead actor receives most of the credit. However, it is often said that the little actor who isn’t the lead is who makes the television series, and films enjoyable to watch, and with Dabbs Greer he is indeed one of our favorite character actors whose work and talent will live on for years to come making new fans everywhere and most of all, keeping people smiling thanks to television.