Dean Cantu from Elmwood, IL

@drcan2 on Twitter


Aside from watch TCM, what do you do?

When I am not watching TCM, I serve as Professor and Chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Bradley University. Indeed, I have dedicated my professional life to teaching; in particular, history education, which is probably why I enjoy watching movies on TCM.


What’s your favorite movie snack?

Make no mistake; I can't imagine ever watching a movie in the theater without my favorite snack of popcorn with extra butter, of course.


What’s your favorite part of TCM?

Perhaps because I have taught history and history education my entire professional career, I sincerely appreciate it when Ben Mankiewicz provides the historical context for the movies he introduces. I believe the movie experience for viewers is enhanced when we know the context - both cinematic and historical - prior to watching the film.


What’s your favorite movie genre?

I recently delivered a TEDxTalk on the personification of Death in art, literature, television, film, and popular culture. As a result, my favorite movie genre would have to be those films that address this topic. For example, some of my favorite films in this genre include Death Takes a Holiday, starring Fredric March; On Borrowed Time, starring Lionel Barrymore; and Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. I believe movies in this genre help us to gain a greater understanding of death, as well as a better understanding and appreciation for life itself.


Who’s your favorite actor or actress or filmmaker of all time? And why?

Once again, perhaps because I teach history and history education, I have always appreciated how Frank Capra captured the American social landscape in his films. Among his many films, I would place at the top of the list the three films that star my favorite actor, James "Jimmy" Stewart (who appeared in the first two), and actress, Jean Arthur (who appeared in the last two): It's A Wonderful Life; Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.


Who would you be thrilled to meet, and what would you say?

If I would have had the opportunity to meet Jimmy Stewart, I would love to know how he felt about the movie Harvey. I had the opportunity to play a part in the play Harvey, and therefore it has always held a special place in my heart. As a result, given Jimmy Stewart's portrayal of Elwood P. Dowd is the best I have seen, I would love to ask him if Harvey is among his favorite movies.


What do you collect?

Given my love for teaching, I love to collect memorabilia from late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century schools, to include elementary history books and old McGuffey Readers.


If you had to pick just one, what would be your favorite movie?

My favorite movie would have to be Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life. To me, the film stands the test of time and will forever be associated with the Christmas holiday season. Capra reminds us all of the importance of family and friends, and the impact "a life well lived" has on so many others - more than we will ever know.


Thank you Dean!  For being in our Member Spotlight, we're sending you TCM's Leading Men book, which has an excellent chapter Elwood P. Dowd-- I mean, Jimmy Stewart.  An excellent chapter on Jimmy Stewart.

Want to be featured here?  Fill out our Member Spotlight questionnaire and you're on your way!



beatlegal27@aol.com's picture

Hey Dean!! All great answers!! You're so right about films and art in general about the subject of Death and how it helps us live. 

Annette Bochenek's picture

You should totally join up with the Chicago Backlot chapter :)

Paul Riordan's picture

Welcome, Dean!

Kristen Lopez's picture

Thanks Dean.  Great answers and great picture.  Ephesus, correct?  We visited a few years ago.  It was amazing.

Anthony Hicks's picture

Welcome Dean.

Jason Francis's picture

See documentary bio-film on Jimmy Stewart - he talks about "Harvey."  ... and when persons on the street would ask him about Harvey and inquire how Harvey is doing !  ...  He'd answer that he's doing just fine....   It's really cool....