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Tom Hanks: Back where it all began

Tom Hanks was back where his career first started. The former intern at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival was the guest of honor at a fundraiser for the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.

He’s one of Hollywood's hottest stars -- and he got his start, right here in Cleveland.

Friday, Tom Hanks was was back where it all began and had the crowd rolling at a Greater Cleveland Film Commission fundraiser downtown.

Right out of the gate the iconic, incomparable actor was speaking our language when he said “It’s great to be back...in the best location in the nation."

The “Behind the Camera” fundraiser was hosted by WKYC Channel 3’s Russ Mitchell, who wasted no time going old school back to the 70's, to Hanks’ days with the-then Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival.

"That was my second season there. I was 21. That would have been 1978. That season was my first as a professional," said Hanks.

Today, he’s Hollywood royalty.

Still, Russ Mitchell pointed out, Hanks is said to be the most humble, “nicest guy in Hollywood”.

And then the nicest guy in Hollywood had the crowd rolling when talking about his history here, he added,

"Look I rag on the Cleveland Playhouse because the bastards didn’t give me a job.”

That, from the hilarious, legendary actor who's keepin’ it real and is also relentless in his well documented passion and die-hard support of our Cleveland Indians.

"Of course when the world was rooting for the Cubs...Tom was like a guy on an island by himself..oh wait a minute..I think that's happened before,” said Mitchell.

Hanks doesn’t miss a beat when he says “...with a volleyball with Chief Wahoo on it!"

Hanks, a proven Indian fan from way back, again induced loud laughs when he reminisced to his time cheering on the Tribe when fans were sparse at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

"You know there were like 8 empty rows between you and the next guy and those old guys in the red jacket and the hat? Saying sit anywhere! We would get to the point that so many foul balls would rattle up into the second deck that we would be like, hey! we'll get that one later on, maybe on the way out."

Well, that was then, this is now.

Hanks saying he's walked into a "renaissance" in the CLE.

"Let's just say 1977 compared to coming into 2017, a substantial difference coming into the city of Cleveland."

The first actor in 50 years to be awarded back-to-back Best Actor Academy Awards, says he owes it to his theater roots, and it "all started in Cleveland."

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