You can see balloons throughout the Spring Grove area this weekend, in honor of a popular star who’s attending a film festival in Houston County.
Actor Ed Asner is the featured guest at the first-ever Spring Grove International Film Festival, and the balloons symbolize Asner’s voice role as Carl Fredricksen, who uses balloons to make his house fly in the animated film “Up.”
The festival is showing “Up” and a new Asner movie, “Senior Entourage,” and the 90-year-old actor will perform Sunday in Spring Grove in a live reading of a play by film festival founder Katie O’Regan, with the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center.
A parade in Asner’s honor is scheduled Sunday afternoon in Spring Grove.
On Friday night, area residents took part in a question-and-answer session with Asner at the Ma Cal Grove Country Club in Caledonia.
Asner says fans are likely to know him best either as newsman Lou Grant, introduced 50 years ago this month on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” or from his recent roles in “Up” and the Will Ferrell Christmas comedy “Elf.”
He says Ferrell is one of the funniest men he’s ever worked with, as well as Ted Knight, who played bumbling Minneapolis TV news anchor Ted Baxter on “Mary Tyler Moore.”
Asner says his favorite “Moore” episode was the show where Chuckles the Clown was killed by an elephant, and Lou and other characters make jokes, to the chagrin of Moore as Mary Richards.
On the other hand, Asner says he hated his famous line “I hate spunk!” from the first episode of the Moore show, saying that in real life, he loves spunk.
Asner has won seven Emmy Awards…five for playing Lou Grant, and two for dramatic roles in two TV mini-series, “Rich Man, Poor Man” and “Roots.”