1940 - 2000
My web site is dedicated to the memory of one of the movies' biggest fans ... Ted Larson. I was honored to call him a
friend, and I am eternally grateful for the many afternoons and evenings I spent in his film classes in the early
It was with great sadness that I heard the news that last week of November 2000. Ted Larson had died. I hadn't seen him in a number of years (I had left college rather abruptly in 1994), but it was still hard to believe. I first met Ted when I was preparing to register for my 1990 Fall Quarter classes at Moorhead State University in Moorhead, Minnesota (the college has since changed its name to Minnesota State University Moorhead). Moorhead is right on the border with Fargo, North Dakota. At the time, I was majoring in Mass Communications, but my underlying passion had always been film, ever since I was 11. When I saw Speech 280, An Introduction to Film History, listed, I registered right away. That fall, I would meet a man who shared my almost insane passion for the movies, and would in the process change majors and pursue film studies full time. I can still remember those first Tuesday and Thursday afternoons spent in the theatre auditorium of Weld Hall, listening as Ted took us through the history of film, and watching such landmarks as Citizen Kane and On The Waterfront.
After that fall, I quickly changed my major to Film and Telecommunications, once I learned about the Film curriculum being offered at the university, in a place where film studies were not as highly touted as other studies. Ted became my adviser, and I always looked forward to his classes, quarter after quarter, particularly the Monday night Special Topic Film Studies classes. From that point on, I sat in my same favorite seat, aisle seat second row from the front (for the lectures anyway!), listening to Ted glory in discussions about Buster Keaton, Alfred Hitchcock, animation landmarks in the cinema, his love for film noir, and even his reviews of current films when we could just talk between lectures or film showings.
I regret that I left that college and the city so abruptly in the spring of 1994, as I was not even able to tell Ted goodbye. He continued on teaching, and was still teaching up to his death. I so wish I had been able to attend his one of a kind funeral. It was such a fitting end for this man who so loved the movies. His funeral took place at the Fargo Theatre, one of the old fashioned glorious movie palaces, and his funeral was a celebration of the passion that was so very dear to him. He loved film for its very essence, and I hope he is somewhere, watching a classic film noir on a magical big screen, or chatting things up with Hollywood legends who've gone before him. It's hard to imagine a world without Ted in it, and I know future generations of students will miss out on what was for me one of the very best memories of my college years. He inspired students to think about film in much more serious ways than they might have ever done before, and for me, he rekindled an already fiery passion for films.
It is to his memory that I dedicate this web site, where I celebrate film through the Academy Awards, and hopefully, with this dedication, I can provide a little bit of insight into a man you may not have ever heard of, but a man who touched so many through an undying love for the art of the moving picture. It's FADE OUT for this act, but at any time I'd like, I can respool that classic film, and be back in Weld Auditorium, listening to Ted talk about a classic film, then sitting back, watching the lights darken, and experiencing again the magic that is the movies.
- Jason O'Brien