Mickey Rooney visits SMU for 70th anniversary of “Boys Town”

Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney in 'Boys Town' (1938)Screen legend Mickey Rooney will visit the Hilltop March 29 for a 70th-anniversary screening of “Boys Town” at 3:15 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. Tickets are $8.50 each and available online at the AFI Dallas website (scroll down to “Boys Town” in the B section of the Film Guide).

In this MGM classic, Rooney plays a tough delinquent named Whitey Marsh who finds a mentor in Father Edward Flanagan, the founder of the Nebraska “town” run for and by troubled teens. “Boys Town” received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture of 1938, and the late Spencer Tracy won his second consecutive Oscar for his performance as Flanagan. More information is available at the movie’s official website.

The screening is part of the American Film Institute Dallas International Film Festival, which runs through April 6. Rooney received an AFI Dallas Star Award for his career achievements at the event’s opening celebration Thursday. Other 2008 recipients included actresses Helen Hunt and Charlize Theron, film executive Todd Wagner and animation director Chris Wedge. Actor Jack Lemmon received the award posthumously.

Also attending the screening will be Father Steve Boes, the current national executive director of Boys Town. The organization, which celebrated its 90th anniversary in December 2007, serves at-risk boys and girls in 14 locations nationwide. The home campus near Omaha remains one of Nebraska’s top tourist attractions. (Right, Tracy and Rooney in a scene from the film.)

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