St. John's Hollywood Days


Arundel History

October 01, 2006

During the fall semester of 1950, St. John's College starred as the set of a glam Hollywood movie. But the studious college was totally out of character in Saturday's Hero, starring John Derek.

As The Sun reported from Annapolis, "Hollywood came here today and temporarily transformed quiet academic St. John's College into a rah-rah school for playboys."

"St. John's withdrew from inner-collegiate athletics a dozen years ago to encourage its students to concentrate on Great Books ... But today, St. John's had a bigtime college football star. St. John's hasn't had fraternities for years. Today Randall Hall, a dormitory and dining hall, became a fraternity house with a convertible parked in a place outside."

Richard Weigle, the college president, authorized the shoot for an undisclosed sum. A camera crew from Columbia Pictures spent a day on the picturesque campus, and students served as extras.

Dave Miller, the director, told The Sun that the script called for a Southern college with attractive, ivy-covered Colonial architecture, and a Hollywood writer recommended St. John's College.

The writer, James Poe, happened to be a member of St. John's Class of 1944, The Sun noted.

[Sources: Baltimore Sun archives and Paul McCardell, Sun library researcher]

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