New Film About Wilson With Same Name

It’s been an eventful autumn for U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Ohio, who returned to Congress Tuesday, Nov. 6, after weeks of recuperating from surgery. In September, the eastern Ohio congressman visited the war zone in Iraq. Then, in an unrelated development, he underwent emergency colon surgery on Oct. 11 to repair damage caused during a colonoscopy.

Now, a feature film, “Charlie Wilson’s War,” is set for nationwide release in theaters on Christmas Day. However, this major motion picture is not about “our” Charlie Wilson. The fact-based drama is about a former Democratic congressman from Texas, who happened to have the same name as the current Democratic congressman from Ohio.

Confused? Well, here is the scoop: The Charlie Wilson who represented Texas served in Congress from 1973-97. The new movie and a 2003 book of the same title recount the Texas congressman’s covert dealings in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion that took place between 1979 and 1982.

The new film, directed by Mike Nichols, stars Tom Hanks as the “other” Charlie Wilson and Julia Roberts as Joanne Herring, a Houston socialite who led that Wilson to the cause of Afghan rebels. According to an online description of the drama, the Texas congressman conspired with a rogue CIA operative named Gust Avrakotos (played in the film by Phillip Seymour Hoffman) to help the Afghan Mujahideen during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

So, just remember that “Charlie Wilson’s War” has nothing to do with the eastern Ohio representative’s recent fact-finding mission to war-torn Iraq. And, let’s face it, Tom Hanks would have to change his hair color if he were to portray Belmont County’s Charlie Wilson on screen.


Congratulations are extended to Glen Dale native Brad Paisley, who won Country Music Association awards as male vocalist of the year and for video of the year (for “Online”) Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Paisley, who gave a tearful thank-you to his father, Doug Paisley of Glen Dale, is set to return to West Virginia for a performance at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30.

Reading a recent magazine article about the singer, I noticed that Paisley is now referring to his infant son, William Huckleberry, as “Will.”

Glancing at the Charleston Civic Center’s events calendar for November, I spied an unusual combination of programs that occurred Thursday, Nov. 1. The “Doodlebops Live” (a stage show based on a children’s program that played at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling in October) occupied the Municipal Auditorium, while a production with the provocative title of “Menopause the Musical” was being staged at the center’s Little Theater. Talk about appealing to diverse audiences!

Meanwhile, Wheeling entertainer B.E. Taylor is taking his Christmas show to the Charleston Civic Center for a performance at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17. Taylor also will be presenting his holiday show at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23. In the past, the Wheeling version of his Christmas shows took place at the now-closed Capitol Music Hall.


It was good to see longtime Oglebay employee Harry Himrod given the chance to flip the ceremonial switch for the start of the 23rd annual Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay Wednesday night, Nov. 7.

It was a well-deserved honor for Himrod, who has participated in the lighting festival since its inception. Each year, he spends countless hours on the holiday project, erecting lighting displays, checking the lights and taking down the fixtures at the end of the show.

Incidentally, the Gardens of Light concept is a brilliant addition to the annual festival. The amazing beds of lighted “hyacinthes,” choreographed to music, and the lovely, illuminated hanging baskets of “flowers” in the Bissonnette Gardens provide park visitors with a fresh reason to stroll from the Carriage House Glass area to the Mansion Museum, creating a walking tour to complement the driving tour through the festival.

The media preview of the Winter Festival of Lights was conducted in a heated tent adjacent to the Bissonnette Gardens. J.C. Douglas Dalby, president and chief executive officer of the Wheeling Park Commission, quipped that he thought it was appropriate to have a “garden party” to launch the newest aspects of the lighting show.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: