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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Charlton Heston has passed away

When they were filming The Ten Commandments, it came time to shoot the scene where God speaks to Moses through the burning bush. Remember how God told Moses to remove his sandals, because the ground he was standing on was holy? When they were about to film Moses returning back from the encounter, Charlton Heston told director Cecil B. De Mille "You know, if someone was told by God Himself to go set His people free, do you really suppose that person would take the time to put his sandals back on?" That's why we see Moses barefoot when he's walking back down from the mountain.

I've always thought that anecdote said a lot about the kind of person that Charlton Heston was. Even though he was an actor playing a part, his mind was considering details like that.

One of my very favorite movie soundtracks is the score for The Omega Man. I can't tell you how many times I've had that playing in my car, pretending that I was Charlton Heston while driving around in daylight, looking for "the Family".

The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, El Cid, Soylent Green... and of course Planet of the Apes ("It's a madhouse, a madhouse!!"), so many other films that this man did.

And now, he's gone at the age of 84.

It might interest my fellow North Carolinians to know that Heston had quite a lot of connections to our state. He was stationed in Greensboro when he joined the Army, and Greensboro was also where he and his wife Lydia were married in 1944. A few years later they moved to Asheville and managed a playhouse there.

Think I'll watch Ben Hur later today in his honor.