Many of the children of European immigrants who came to America at the beginning of this century were bewildered "greenhorns" who poured into the public schools and emerged as integrated entrepreneurs. Their presence in the arts is legendary.
And so Issur Danielovitch, the son of Russian immigrants, could become Kirk Douglas, movie star and author. Douglas has performed in 80 films, many television movies and nine plays in the 50 years since he made his debut on Broadway as a singing Western Union boy. Kirk Douglas the actor has been recognized by his peers as an extraordinary talent. And governments around the world have honored him for generous contributions to civic and humanitarian causes.
President Jimmy Carter awarded him the highest civilian honor an American can receive, the Medal of Freedom, for his travels on behalf of democracy.
His autobiography, "The Ragman's Son," was published in 1988 to rave reviews, and his first novel, "Dance With the Devil," appeared two years ago.
While researching his new novel, "The Gift," a transatlantic love story with an environmental theme, Douglas visited insectaries in Fillmore to learn about the breeding of beneficial insects. It was on one of those trips that Douglas was seriously injured in a helicopter crash at Santa Paula Airport. He returns to Ventura Sunday at 1 p.m. to autograph "The Gift" at the Ventura Bookstore, 522 E. Main St.
The Ojai Film Society is pleased to announce they will host the West Coast premiere of producer Oliver Stone's "South Central" at the Ojai Playhouse, 145 E. Ojai Ave., Sunday at 4:30 p.m. The movie, based on Donald Bakeer's book, "Crips," describes a young father's desperate struggle to rescue his 10-year-old son from the mean streets of Los Angeles. Director Steve Anderson and members of the cast and production team will talk with the audience after the screening. Call 646-8946 for ticket information.
Monday we acknowledge the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World. For years, political candidates would strut their stuff in the Columbus Day parade in New York City and everyone was Italian for 24 hours. Suddenly Columbus is no longer politically correct. Nevertheless, you might want to get the Hanna-Barbera video "We Think the World Is Round" and enjoy the incredible voyages of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria with the kids.
Writers, there is a Christopher Columbus Society for the Creative Arts, which sponsors the annual Screenplay Discovery Awards. Check it out at 433 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, 90210 or call (310) 288-1988.
Speaking of screenplays, Hollywood script consultant Linda Seger will guest at the Ventura County Writers Club at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss "The Art of Adaptation: Turning Fact and Fiction Into Film," which is also the title of her latest book. The group meets at Pleasant Valley Church, 1101 Ponderosa Drive, Camarillo. Call 495-8730 or 647-5369.
Jane Chapman, Marilyn Hochheiser and Richard Weekley will read their poetry Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Book World, 2311-E Tapo St., Simi Valley. Call 525-0129 for information about open readings.