Like the rest of my family, my dad’s a classic film buff. He looks forward to his monthly subscription to Turner Classic Movie’s Now Playing magazine. When a ball game’s over and a TV news program is over, he’s watching TCM live or on the DVR. 

Last night we had the funniest little phone conversation that really tickled me.  Only one typically to be had between two old movie fans, I suppose.

Joseph Cotten, a Petersburg, Virginia native (which is just up the road from us in Richmond), came up, since Gaslight (1944) had just gone off the air. Cotten starred in it with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. After a little while, my dad then asked, “Do you know who else is from Petersburg?”

“Yeah, of course,” I said giggling. “Blair Underwood.” (pant… pant sigh…sigh)

“No, Tonya, not him,” he said, laughing. “A classic movie actor, I mean.”

“No. I can’t think of anybody else other than Cotten.”

“Okay,” he said. “I’ll tell ya… Randolph Scott.”

Well, my dad, a retired policeman, and I love old westerns and we have mutual admiration for Scott, Robert Ryan, and Joel McCrea. He took me to see Against a Crooked Sky when I was a kid because Richard Boone (the great Palladin) was in it. (I was much too young for that one on the big screen; haunted me for weeks).

“No, Daddy. Randolph Scott was born in Orange County.” (Which by the way is also up the road in a different direction.)

“Are you sure?” he asked. Over the phone, I could still see his brow raise.

“Yes, Daddy. He was born in Orange County and raised in North Carolina.”

“Well, I just knew it was Petersburg.” The challenge was on. We’re both always right, until research is verified!

“No, Daddy. I’m sure I’d read a long time ago it was Orange County. They were in the area and his mother went into labor.”

“Oh… I thought it was Petersburg,” he said.

My dad’s computer is not at all a primary object in his house. It’s seldom on and he’s not going to just rush to Google anything. (The luddite that he is, will just call me to do that if need be; I am a lot faster with it.)

Well, I’ve since checked out a Randolph Scott bio and sure enough, I was right (what’s new?). Scott’s parents were Virginia natives (that part I didn’t recall at the time). I later called my dad to let him know and we were both happy to round up that tidbit.

My point in all this: What another delightful conversation to have with my daddy. Ours typically do usually consist of sports, politics, history, and old movies. This one was sweet to since it all started about an Ingrid Bergman movie, after he reminded me (!) that my mom was named after her.

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