Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Rain steals the show in "Return to Campus"

Cleveland Press October 1, 1973

They tried. Heaven knows, they really tried.

But heaven wasn't helping.

The movie that ex-Clevelander Harold Cornsweet has been planning to make back on his old stamping grounds began shooting yesterday. That's the way the schedule read.

The cameras were setup near one of the Shaker lakes along South Park Blvd. in Shaker Heights. Cornsweet paced around, his viewfinder dangling from a chain around his neck.

There were canvas chairs, just like you see in the movies. One read "director" on the back. Another was reserved for the star.

There were actors assembled. They sat around in cars or ventured out under umbrellas. It was raining you see, and you don t shoot movies in the rain unless the script calls for it and this script called for a sunny day.

Now and then the rain stopped but the sun failed to appear.

And everyone waited.

Everyone included red-haired Connie O'Connell, Tennessee-born, now of Hollywood, who hopes someday to sing with the Metropolitan Opera and meanwhile does summer stock, musicals in local theaters (she just finished playing Daisy Mae in "Li'l Abner"), and has acted with the Arena Stage Company in Washington, D.C. She had bit parts in Billy Wilder's "Avanti" and in "Umbrellas of Cherbourg," t.he latter while she was an exchange student at the Sorbonne in Paris.

After the four-week shooting schedule she goes back to Hollywood to audition for another Wilder film and check on the progress of the daily TV soap opera Days of Our Lives.

And there is the male star of the movie, Norman Finson, a local actor seen at a number of community theaters here -- "Zorba the Greek" at the Showboat Theater, "Happy Time" at Dobama, "Hadrian Vll" at Chagrin Valley, "Fiddler on the Roof" at Jewish Community Center. He also is a composer and writer and an auctioneer -- Finson and Co.

The movie is "Return to Campus" and is about a 55-year-old dropout who goes back to college and gets on the football team. Finson plays the middle-aged football player.

Playing him as a young man is Ken Sadens of Parma who has done some college theater work and does fashion modeling.

Today's shooting schedule calls for scenes to be shot on the John Carroll University campus. Next week they will be at Shaker Heights High and next weekend they will travel to Columbus to film some scenes during an Ohio State football game.

Meanwhile Cornsweet hopes for better weather as he mentally adds up the cost of his idle cameras rented from Hollywood, his crew and his actors.