“Kid from Cleveland” Tamblyn Coming to Town for Special Screening, Tribe Game

The “Kid from Cleveland” is making his return this weekend.

Russ Tamblyn, whose lengthy film and television career included playing the title role in that 1949 movie (credited as Rusty Tamblyn), will be in town this weekend for a showing of that movie and some of his more well-known films, “Human Highway” and “Tom Thumb.”

Tickets for those screenings are available through the Cleveland Cinematheque website.

Tamblyn, nominated for an Oscar for his role in “Peyton Place,” will present a screening of “The Kid From Cleveland” on Sunday at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Tickets for that screening are available through the museum’s website.

The night before, he’ll throw out the first pitch at the Indians game when the Tribe hosts the second-place Detroit Tigers.

“I’m more excited about that than the movie,” he said.

The movie was his first big credit, which was “introducing Rusty Tamblyn.” But the movie, filmed in Cleveland at the art museum, League Park and Cleveland Stadium, was more notable to him for another reason.

“It was really, really a big deal for me,” he said. “It was the first time I’d gotten out of the state of California. The flight was between 10 and 12 hours, and I’ve probably flown about a thousand times since then, everywhere, but that was my first plane trip.”

The movie is not particularly celebrated. It was a Republic film, and its low budget was evident, Bosley Crowther said in his review in the New York Times, who noted that the Indians could play ball but hardly act – “Excepting Bill Veeck.”

Tamblyn said he wasn’t a big baseball fan, so he wasn’t particularly impressed by his castmates – until people started telling him with awe that he’d done a movie with Lou Boudreau and Tris Speaker. He thought they were all fun, but didn’t realize who they were.

“I played a batboy in a couple scenes and I had to wear a uniform,” he said. “Bob Feller and Satchel Paige taught me how to put on baseball pants. I don’t think I’ve used that skill since, but I still remember it.”

Tamblyn, 14 when he filmed “The Kid From Cleveland,” went on to bigger and better things. The son of actors, he took classes on the MGM set with Elizabeth Taylor – and played her younger brother in the 1950 version of “Father of the Bride” – and Dean Stockwell, one of his co-stars in “Human Highway” and a close friend. His movie credits include “West Side Story” and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”

“Another movie that’s really popular and it surprises the hell out of me is ‘War of the Gargantuas,’” Tamblyn said, referring to a 1968 Japanese monster movie. “It has a tremendous cult following.”

He’s probably most noted recently for his role in “Twin Peaks” as Dr. Lawrence Jacoby, the psychiatrist of Laura Palmer, the murder victim who’s the centerpiece of the plot. He’s mostly retired from acting, but he’ll be reprising that role for a revival of the “Twin Peaks” show, due next year on Showtime.

“It’s going to be something else,” Tamblyn said, noting that most of the original cast is back, as is director David Lynch. “I’d look forward to it even if I wasn’t in it.”

In the meantime, Tamblyn is working on his memoirs, “Dancing On the Edge,” which he hopes to have completed next year. This trip will mark his second time in Cleveland since filming the movie. He returned as the director and choreographer for “Greendale,” a show by Neil Young (another friend and “Human Highway” co-star). He didn’t get out much, but he was able to visit the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame.

“Nothing looked familiar to me, but it was fun to be back in Cleveland,” he said.

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