The late Dalton Trumbo was clearly among the most famous (and infamous) persons born in Colorado since 1900. An impassioned novelist best known for 1939's anti-war manifesto Johnny Got His Gun, he was blacklisted as part of the so-called Hollywood Ten for his past associations with Communism. During the period when he was persona non grata in the film world, however, he pseudonymously won Academy Awards for the luminous 1953 Audrey Hepburn-Gregory Peck flick Roman Holiday and 1956's The Brave One. Moreover, the decision by Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger to credit him under his own name for penning the scripts for two 1960 releases, Spartacus and Exodus, figuratively and literally marked the end of a very dark era. Yet Grand Junction, where he came of age, resisted embracing this not-so-favorite son because of hurt feelings related to an early book, 1935's Eclipse, which painted some residents of the town in an unfavorable light.
As documented in this 2005 Message column, the ice began to break in recent years with the publication of the long-out-of-print Eclipse as a fundraiser for the Mesa County library system. And on Saturday, October 13, the Trumbo revival will peak with the unveiling of a statue by sculptor Mike Wilson that duplicates what's arguably the most famous photo of the author -- a shot that captures him casually writing in his bathtub. The event takes place at Grand Junction's Avalon Theatre, a beautiful facility that's been around since Trumbo's day. After a champage toast at 7 p.m., attendees will head inside for a screening of Roman Holiday.
For more information, phone 970-640-5350. Or, if you're on the Western Slope, stop by and celebrate the belated end of an epic civic grudge. -- Michael Roberts
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