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Denver Film Festival vet and TV "dinosaur" Ed Asner part of Stop the Presses

Ed Asner as Lou Grant.
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Ed Asner is back at the Denver International Film Festival -- at least on film. The irascible star of Lou Grant came to Denver 21 years ago, when the completely forgettable O'Hara's Wife opened the festival in 1987. But former festival director Ron Henderson won't forget one aspect of that appearance: "Ed Asner was on his way here when he was notified that Lou Grant was cancelled because of his involvement fighting the situation in El Salvador," Henderson remembers.

Twenty years after the plug was pulled on his series, the actor talks about the value of newspapers in Stop the Presses, a documentary on the dismal state of the daily newspaper industry. In addition to contemporary interviews, the film also includes clips from classic newspaper movies, as well as from Lou Grant, which followed Mary Tyler Moore's boss from TV back to a newsroom. "I'm a dinosaur," Grant/Asner says in one of them as he looks at an early computer.

Stop the Presses will screen today at 4 p.m. as part of the 2008 Denver Film Festival. After a showing yesterday in the auditorium of the Denver Newspaper Agency, several journalists joined in a panel discussion of newspapering.

The Rocky Mountain News's David Milstead elicited gasps when he contended in a column earlier this year that one of Denver's dailies would soon disappear. But Al Lewis, former Denver Post business editor, got off the best line of the afternoon when he noted that showing the movie in the DNA building was "like showing a horror film inside a graveyard." -- Patricia Calhoun

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