Back in time
• Jay Warren will play the Pickwick Theatre's original 1928 Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ when he accompanies one of the silent film era's great films "The Thief of Bagdad" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the Pickwick Theatre, 5 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge.
Douglas Fairbanks stars in this silent Arabian nights epic, complete with flying carpets, magic armies and undersea battles. Directed by Raoul Walsh with art direction by William Cameron. Go to pickwicktheatre.com for details.
A tale of two Bobs
In Tuesday's "From Suburbs to Showbiz" column, I challenged our tireless Daily Herald readers to help track down the social studies teacher who mentored "Breaking Bad" star Bob Odenkirk when he attended Naperville's Jefferson Junior High School.
Emails practically attacked me from all corners of the map. Drum roll, please ...!
Readers identified Bob Ciardullo as the teacher who let young Odenkirk perform a history assignment to the entire school, an event that opened the student's eyes to the possibilities that he has now mastered.
Edited tidbits from my emails:
"Excellent teacher. Great guy." -- Bill Seiple, Naperville
"When I looked up the social studies teachers, I found Mr. Ciardullo, who taught 7th grade. So, I'm assuming that he's the one who made a difference in Bob's life. How wonderful! He really should be contacted and told the good news." -- Ginger Stephens Terlep, Naperville
"He was a young, hip teacher and that sounds exactly like something he would've done. Funnily enough, we moved back here to Naperville to raise our kids and my daughter had Mr. Ciardullo for her social studies teacher at Kennedy Junior High. My daughter thought he was a pretty inspirational teacher, too." -- Anne Linne, Naperville
"Bob (the Odenkirk one) actually was the guest speaker at my senior breakfast in 1991, a few days before graduation from Naperville North. His speech was honest, funny and ridiculous ... the faculty was not entirely pleased. He was perfect in the eyes of us students, though. I've been a huge fan of his whole career!" -- Keith Schulz, Waupaca, Wis., and Naperville from 1978-2000
"I remember having Odenkirk at Jefferson." -- Naperville resident Ron Goodin, who taught with Ciardullo
Note 1: I reached Ciardullo by phone to ask if he remembered the Odenkirk event.
"That's a little far back for me, about 40 years," the retired teacher said. "I remember Bob and his brother Steve. But not the skits Bob was talking about. The fact that he remembers me is highly complementary. I'm pleased to hear it."
Ciardullo served more than four years in the U.S. Navy before going to college on the GI bill and scoring a teaching position in Naperville Community Unit School District 203. He said he would have been in his third or fourth year of teaching when he met the Odenkirk kid.
Ciardullo admitted that he has never seen an episode of "Breaking Bad." But after reading the Daily Herald story on Odenkirk, he said, "That makes me want to see it."
Note 2: Since the story ran Tuesday, Odenkirk wrote me an email expressing concern that the "From Suburbs to Showbiz" report made him out to be totally negative about his hometown, where his mother and sister still reside.
"I wish you'd mentioned how much I enjoy Naperville now," he wrote. "How much I like bringing my kids there to visit their grandma, to swim at Centennial Beach.
"I still don't blame any teenager for wanting to get out of any smallish town. But I'd like Napervillians to know I have great affection for the people and town."
I replied, telling Odenkirk that his fears were groundless. His honest feelings about his teen years in Naperville gave our story a punch of relevance.
As Naperville's Anne Linne put it: "I remember at 16 feeling very much the same as he did about the suburbs."
Reel Life film notes:
• The After Hours Film Society presents one of the best movies of 2013, Sarah Polley's personal family docudrama "Stories We Tell" at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, at the Tivoli Theatre, 5021 Highland Ave., Downers Grove. It's not just an unusual family history, but a clever look at the process of storytelling itself. Admission costs $9. Go to afterhoursfilmsociety.com.
• An "Animal House" reunion comes to both the Hollywood Palms in Naperville and the Hollywood Blvd. in Woodridge this weekend, with Judy Belushi, Karen Allen, Martha Smith, Matty Simmons, Stephen Furst and Mark Metcalfe scheduled to attend. Go to atriptothemovies.com for tickets and schedules.
• The Marcus Addison Cinema becomes the first theater in Illinois to combine reserved, all-recliner seating with a three-story-high, 65-foot-wide screen in the state-of-the-art "UltraScreen DLX" process. Starting this weekend, Marcus will sponsor promotional prizes, including a pair of DreamLounger recliners valued at $4,000. Another 25 winners will receive four courtesy passes. Go to MarcusTheatres.com.
• Daily Herald Film Critic Dann Gire's column runs Fridays in Time out!