THE OPPOSITE SEX: Are You Going To Sydney’s?

img_6134Are You Going to Sydney’s?

In 1956’s The Opposite Sex, Sydney’s is the spa salon standing in for New York’s Elizabeth Arden, when miracles occur and ladies transform themselves into carbon copies of the latest style icons….

 

Olga, played by Bewitched’s Alice Pearce, is the nail filer who dips her brush into a vat of poisoned Jungle Red. She sets off the sexy series of events with her gossipy updates for nosy clients whose sideline is undermining the status quo of the sanctioned social set.

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Clients come to Sydney’s be coiffed, patted, massaged and dried in the upscale haven for hellions on heels. Like everyone’s favorite Maleficent,* Sylvia is ready to spread dirt like a dragster at a tractor pull and  doesn’t disappoint. Stepping out of Roz Russell’s role in the original The Women, Dolores Gray rebirths the part as the Marvel Comics version of the evil twin, more stylish and more venomous than originally conceived. Hiding behind slick crepe de chine, chilly chiffon, and Belgian Lace helps the naughty keep the haughty.

IMG_0597Ann Miller, in a role where she doesn’t dance or sing, manages to enthrall us anyway with her snappy dialogue delivery and her winsome, well-dressed ways. Agnes Moorehead connects with her love of lavender and lilac in her Helen Rose creations and doesn’t see such colorful ensembles again until she greets Samantha as Endora.

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Agnes Moorehead gown…

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The singing, dancing June Allyson elicits our pity as Kay, and Leslie Nielsen plays it straight as her wandering Broadway-producer husband long before his comedic successes in Airplane and The Naked Gun films. Joan Collins creates her first cold-hearted, sexy vamp, which she revealed to Robert Osborne became the precursor to her Alexis iteration in Dynasty during her introduction to The Opposite Sex on TCM.

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Don’t miss that “Yellow Gold” number!

Three New York ladies hop the train to Reno, Nevada, one of the few places in the 1950’s where a six-week divorce can be granted for those women who need to move on with their lives, their wardrobes and their new sparklers. Charlotte Greenwood makes her final screen appearance in The Opposite Sex as the owner of the guest ranch where divorcees go to stow away for the waiting period. It ain’t easy keepin’ them gals from derailing their locomotives, leaving behind a memento, or keeping their gloves off of a handsome, singing ranch hand, like Buck Winston, played by former baseballer Jeff Richards.

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Ooh. Jeff Richards!

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Ooh! Look! A Bananyanaire!

 

Screenwriter Fay Kanin, who scripted such films as Rhapsody (1954) and Teacher’s Pet (1958), also crafted award-winning television movies like Heartsounds (1979) , Friendly Fire (1979) and Hustling (1975) to her credit. Kanin, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1979-1983, reportedly didn’t much care for the final film of The Opposite Sex, but made an appropriate update of Clare Booth Luce’s play for the attitudes of 1950’s. An activist for film preservation and a leader of the cinema community, her legacy as a woman of conviction and an arbiter of good taste lives on.

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Comparing this film with 1939’s The Women is an easy exercise in sharpening a reviewer’s more critical sense, but enjoying the musical romps, the flouncy Helen Rose creations, and the landscapes of Leslie Nielsen and Jeff Richards allows viewers to accept The Opposite Sex on its own terms, the only way to unabashedly relish this film. Stylish back-biting, shiny, red nails, and the underbelly of the upper crust always contrasts well with mermaid gowns, cowboys, and well-dressed redemption.

 

It’s a party!

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See you at the poolside screening of The Opposite Sex on Friday night 8 p.m. on April 11. Illeana Douglas and Dennis Miller are scheduled to introduce the film.

“The smog will be so refreshing!”

*SLEEPING BEAUTY  (1959) is screening at the #TCMFF2019 at noon on Friday in the Egyptian, too!

Learn more about The Opposite Sex (1956) and That Darn Smack from Christy’s Inkwells here.

More about the fabulous Fay Kanin here.

The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York compares and contrasts the 1939 and 1956 films, the designers and the stars here. 

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Still A Giant

The long awaited chronicle of the personal and professional journey of a 20th Century template for quintessential Hollywood male has arrived. The quest of Rock Hudson for acceptance and recognition has long since ceased, but the fascination with such a “gorgeous hunk of man” continues. All That Heaven Allows, the ultimate biography of Hudson by Mark Griffin and the title of one of Hudson’s more successful Hollywood films, is just the solution for readers and fans who still happen to be hoarding those Christmas and Valentine’s day gift cards. Those fans seeking a delicious read to fill those boring moments between the latest social media frenzy and a visit from the Sandman is just a click away on Amazon or a jaunt to the local page proprietor.

In-depth interviews with Hollywood insiders, friends and family of Hudson, and historians hold court to tell a tale of the rise to the summit of world-wide fame. Like one of the Rocky mountains of Colorado, Hudson’s professional summit was well-served by his own physical height and personal magnetism. Griffin’s research and details remind us of Rock’s charisma with onscreen partners like Doris Day, Elizabeth Taylor, and colleague John Wayne, and explores his more difficult moments on screen with the queen of clean, Julie Andrews. Detailed research and polished prose float the reader along the waves of Hudson’s peaks-and-valleys existence in the forefront of media hype and behind closed doors.

Hudson’s difficult childhood, his burgeoning, complicated sexuality, and his private life peopled with sybaritic sycophants spurred the late TCM host and friend Robert Osborne to frankly comment about Hudson’s final years. Piper Laurie, a close friend of Hudson’s for many years, reveals aspects of Hudson’s character to endear him even further to his fans.

In George Stevens’ film of Edna Ferber’s Giant, Bick Benedict, a thinly veiled alter ego of the larger-than-life Houston wildcatter Glenn McCarthy, lived large, but espoused a more traditional family man’s attitude, tempered with more acceptance by his wife Leslie, portrayed by future long-time friend Elizabeth Taylor. James Dean, as Jett Rink, played the darker, more emotionally plagued persona embedded in McCarthy’s complex personality.

It was no fluke that Hudson aligned with Benedict in the collective mind of Hollywood casting as he also lived large, albeit in varied social circles. Hudson initially charmed all he met, yet he continually struggled to become a success and stay one. At the end of his life, he still worried about his career, and refused to accept his own infallibility, just like any other traditional American hero.

 

Mark Griffin is the author of A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli.  Griffin, whose writing has appeared in scores of publications, including The Boston Globe, recently appeared in the documentary Gene Kelly: To Live and Dance.  He lives in Maine.

 

Mark Griffin’s website.

Interview with Mark Griffin on Vincent Minelli…

Interview with Mark Griffin on Rock Hudson and All That Heaven Allows on PBS’ Fresh Air….

All That Heaven Allows is soon to be a major motion picture!

Handsome Johnny

If you’ve been waiting for a fascinating mob saga, an erotic Hollywood expose, or a political thriller to occupy your reading pleasure, the good news is that you’ll only need one book, Handsome Johnny: The Life and Death of Johnny Rosselli: Gentleman Gangster, Hollywood Producer, CIA Assassin by New York Times Bestselling Author, Lee Server.

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(Server’s previous biographical home runs include Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don’t Care and Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing.)

Tracking down the actual name, origin, and early years of Johnny Rosselli, as well as following his rise through the ranks of the Capone organization, and becoming a fixer to Hollywood gold mines occupied hours of valuable G-Men time as well as several years of author Server’s detective skills interviewing eyewitnesses to the Italian opera which evolved into his latest publication.

Collaboration between “lawmakers and lawbreakers” made for strange bedfellows, and Handsome Johnny takes us behind all the bedroom doors, backrooms filled with cigar smoke, and even to the crooked cardgames in the Friar’s Club in Beverly Hills.

Harry Cohn, Jimmy “The Weasel” Fratianno, Fidel Castro, Howard Hughes, Harry Karl, Sam Giancana, The Kennedys, Frank Sinatra—name a player in Hollywood, Chicago, New York, D. C., Miami, or Cuba and he might be mentioned in this book. As for the women in this book, some are treated well, some are treated swell, and some are not so lucky. Oh, did I mentioned Lucky? Luciano, that is. He makes a few appearances, too.

Assassination theories, covert operations, CIA and FBI involvement, crossed swords of government agencies, and more untaxed cash than you can shake a Federal Reserve at. Ancestry DNA might mark this book with a family crest of a “crossed dagger and gun,” a “pinprick of blood,” and a Sicilian oath.

Publication of Server’s last book occurred in 2006, and the years justified the wait for Handsome Johnny. How long will fans have to wait for the Netflix or HBO Series? It’ll run longer than The Sopranos!

What’s already been written…

Praise for Handsome Johnny:
“No one knew more about the mob, Hollywood and Las Vegas than Johnny Rosselli, and Lee Server got it all in Handsome Johnny.” ―Nicholas Pileggi, author/screenwriter of Goodfellas and Casino

“No one slices and dices true tales like Lee Server. In Handsome Johnny, he cracks the vault of time to reveal long-buried secrets. Maybe even this country’s biggest secret…Fast-paced, insightful, bold, witty, and masterfully told.” ―James Gladstone, Executive V.P. Lionsgate Entertainment and author of The Man Who Seduced Hollywood

“The incredible life of Handsome Johnny, a gangster worthy of the movies….Server’s biography not only provides a window into Rosselli’s life but also contextualizes a time when Hollywood, politics and organized crime were inextricably linked.” ―The Washington Post

“Written in the snappy style of a hardboiled detective novel…an in-depth history of the growth, development and eventual decline of organized crime in America.” ―The Economist

Based upon years of research, written with compelling style and vivid detail, HANDSOME JOHNNY is a rich rollercoaster of a biography.” ―TCM.com Movie News

“Server employs evocative phrasing to luridly examine the shady underbelly of movies, moguls, and politics from the 1930s through the ’60s, all through the prism of the charming Rosselli. Filled with crackerjack writing and Damon Runyonesque characters, this entertaining page-turner is a rich look at one of organized crime’s most intriguing characters.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A definitive rags-to-riches biography… Paced like a fine piece of fiction, this is a handsomely written chronicle of an interesting mob character.” ―Kirkus Reviews

Author Lee Server has done his homework on Handsome Johnny and no stone is left un-turned. It’s a fascinating look the mob, it’s influence, it’s muscle and some of the biggest names of the day that were involved with the Mafia whether they wanted to be or not. One thing for sure is Johnny Rosselli didn’t lead a boring life.” ―Red Carpet Crash 

Lee Server does a bang-up job with this guy, not allowing endless detail to overwhelm the reader. I enjoyed the thrill ride from front cover to ending.” ―Stuff I Like blog

If the Mob history is your genre, then add this to the shelves of your library.” ―Melisende’s Library blog 

#TCMFF Festival Themes…..2010-2019

Festival themes have intrigued us since the very first festival. In the first festival programming guide, beloved TCM Host Robert Osborne dubbed the first year as “four days of…classiccinemania!” That’s pretty much what it’s been since then!

In 2010, instead of one over-arching theme, there were “Programming Listings” featuring Discoveries, Essentials, The Film Foundation, The Hustons: A Hollywood Dynasty, Hollywood on Hollywood, Imports That Influenced Hollywood, Moguls & Movie Stars, Special Presentations, and Vanity Fair’s Tales of Hollywood. Festival App for Iphone arrives.

Seeing all of these celebrities: Tony Curtis, Luise Rainer, Tab Hunter, Hayley Mills, Esther Williams, Betty Garrett, Ernest Borgnine, Curtis Hanson, Martin Landau, Eva Marie Saint, Frank Capra III, Tom Capra, Buck Henry, Leonard Maltin, Peter Bogdanovich, Suzanne Lloyd, Cari Beauchamp, Stanley Donen, Nancy Olsen, Margaret Bodde, Illeana Douglas, Casey LaLonde, Eli Wallach, Cheryl Crane, Juanita Moore, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Donald Bogle, John Badham, Norman Lloyd, Danny Huston, and Anjelica Huston were guests.

My favorite moments from all of the festivals? Meeting new friends and connecting with virtual ones. Seeing Betty Garret look wistfully at the poolside screening of Neptune’s Daughter during the “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” number and she watched from her Cabana patio. She smiled at me with tears in her eyes, turned around slowly, and went back inside her room. Sweet. Seeing Robert Osborne in person, interviewing Luise Rainer, Juanita Moore, and Susan Kohner was a joy. The Vanity Fair party rocked!

In 2011, pass holders found Discoveries, Disney’s Musical Legacy, Essentials, A Celebration of Bernard Hermann, Nice Work If You Can Get it: The Film Music of George and ira Gershwin, Happy Trails: Roy Rogers’100th Birthday, The Silent Legacy and Special Presentations. Hand and Footprint Honoree: Peter O’Toole. My favorite moment? Shaking Peter O’Toole’s hand and meeting Lesley Caron. The Vanity Fair party was exciting!

2012 brought Built By Design: Architecture in Film, Deco Design, Discoveries, Essentials, The Films of Stanley Donen, The Legendary Costumes of Travis Banton, The Noir Style, The Paramount Renaissance, Special Presentations, and Universal’s Legacy of Horror. Hand and Footprint Honoree: Kim Novak. Favorite moments: Meeting A. C. Lyles in the lobby of the Chinese after a screening of Wings;Meeting Peggy Cummins as she arrived from London at the Roosevelt.

2013, Cinematic Journeys: Travel in the Movies, gave us Discoveries, Essentials, Festival Tributes, Journeys of Self-Discovery, A Journey to Italy, Lovers On The Run, Riding The Rails, River As Road, and Special Presentations. Hand and Footprint Honoree: Jane Fonda. Seeing Shirlee Fonda, Jane Fonda, and Peter Fonda walk over to their father’s Hand and Footprints impression, and Shirlee Fonda showing me a photo from the day Henry Fonda was honored in the Chinese Forecourt. Meeting Ann Blyth in the lobby of the TCL Chinese was a dream come true!

So much is going on in this photo: Margaret O’Brien, Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak, and more!

Miss Theresa Madere Barrera on the Red Carpet 2014….

Families in the Movies, 2014, included titles relating to Single Mothers, Festival Tributes, Essentials, Discoveries, Daddy/Daughter Films, Aging Parents, Sister Acts, Dysfunctional Families, and Special Presentations. Hand and Footprint Honoree: Jerry Lewis. Meeting Maureen O’Hara for a brief moment, and hearing her interview with Robert Osborne.

Exciting lobby photo ops with media moguls and mavens….

2015 brought pass holders a Festival App. History According to Hollywood screened features focusing on History According to John Ford, Discoveries, Special Tributes, Fight The Power-Films About Revolution, History on Trial, and Herstory. Hand and Footprint Honoree: Christopher Plummer. The Peter Fonda interview in Club TCM, and The Picture Show Man, a fabulous Rod Taylor film discovery for me from Australia!

In 2016, Moving Pictures included topics like Inspirational Sports Movies, Animal Movies, Religious Films, Love and Loss, Coming-of-Age, Festival Tributes, Discoveries, Essentials. Hand and Footprint Honoree: Francis Ford Coppola. Fave moments: Meeting Carl Bernstein, Elliot Gould’s interview in Club TCM, Meeting Carl Reiner.

By 2017, it was time to Make ‘Em Laugh: Comedy in the Movies, bringing Dark Comedies, Divorce Remorse, Movie Spoofs, Nitrate, Hey-That’s Not Funny, Special Presentations, Discoveries, Essentials, and Festival Tributes. Hand and Footprint Honorees: Carl and Rob Reiner. Seeing Stalag 17 and Dr. Strangelove with my son who lives in L.A.

Last year’s theme for 2018, Powerful Words, The Page Onscreen illuminated Christie’s Mysteries, Hardboiled Hollywood, Shakespeare in the Dark, The Poet’s Corner, The Power of the Press, Writer’s Block, Special Presentations, Nitrate Films, Discoveries, and Special Tributes. Hand and Footprint Honoree: Cicely Tyson. Fave moments: Scandal: The Trial of Mary Astor documentary, an interview I conducted at Larry Edmunds with Director Alexa Foreman, the Janes Ivory interview in Club TCM, a conversation with Gillian Armstrong, the screening of My Brilliant Career, a conversation with Robert Benton.

UPDATE AS OF August 28 at 11:15: The TCM Film Festival Theme for 2019 is…Follow Your Heart: Love At The Movies.

Inspiration For 2019–Turner Classic Movies Film Festival 2018!

The hurly-burly of hustling down Hollywood Boulevard hasn’t altered much from pass holder forays down the busiest street in LA in 2017. The hawkers and gawkers, snake-handlers and CD sellers, presenters and pass holders all navigate the obstacle course while snapping photos of their favorite star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  The haves are constantly juxtaposed against the have nots, and sometimes the have nots are not what they seem.

On my first day, Tuesday, April 25, I found that a man who appeared to be in his mid-30s had asked me for money so he could buy food. I told him I would be happy to buy him a meal at the local fast-food establishment that I was preparing to patronize. He looked at me with disgust, waved me away, and obviously wasn’t as hungry as he appeared to be.  Of course, I shrugged off the incident. It might just happen again. The first rule of Hollywood Boulevard is… “don’t talk about Hollywood Boulevard.” Stick to the movies, the presenters, the high cost of a refreshing beverage poolside. We can always talk about Hollywood Boulevard later.

Mary Astor has fans celebrating her life and struggles in interviews and a documentary film by director Alexa Foreman, Scandal:The Trial Of Mary Astor, which had its world premiere at the TCM Film Fest….(photo courtesy of Miss Paula who chose the special Mary Astor brew at a local java joint in honor of the documentary screening)

Wednesday afternoon at Larry Edmunds Bookshop, the premiere bookstore on Hollywood Boulevard, Director Foreman participated in an SRO Q & A with yours truly to celebrate the Mary Astor doc…

Andrew Yang, great grandson of Mary Astor, shared lifelike dolls of the classic film star with the audience, which are produced by his company…

Cora Sue Collins, Barbara Rush and author Meredith Ponedel wait for Kelly Kitchens’ social media party to commence. Actor Ted Donaldson also attended.

Social media garden party pass holders focus on an interview with Cora Sue Collins and Barbara Rush conducted by author Danny Miller…

Festival pass holders actually started dribbling into the Hollywood Roosevelt Lobby on Monday, and by Tuesday, the more dedicated had already plunked down their credit cards at the HRH Reservation Desk hoping they wouldn’t be charged for the entire contents of their mini-bar before they checked out. Notice the look of uncertainty and disbelief as the hotel guest signs the blank credit card authorization form the seconds before a digitized plastic room key is presented. Not only is their expression unsettling, but some of the signatures are even a little wobbly. But all fear and trepidation melts once the guest has left luggage in the room, and ridden down the elevator to greet friends schmoozing and lounging in the lobby.

Lobby love with writer and gadabout Kim Luperi and TCM’s ever effervescent Shannon Clute…

Media-fest pre-party finds TCM Backlot commercial cutie Beth Ann Gallagher and TCM Host Alicia Malone clinching before the fest frenzy…..

Host Scott McGee, Turner Portfolio 360 Brand Strategy and General Manager Jennifer Dorian, and FilmStruck Guru and Senior Vice President of Programming and Production, Charles Tabesh…

The first order of business at the TCM Film Festival is usually a Meet The TCM Panel, and this year was no different, only a few of the players changed.

Getting ready to par-tay with Julia Ricci, Priscilla’s hubby, Jeff Lundenberger, Priscilla Smith and Patrick Goff…

Chinese Multiplex Mania with Danny Reid, Joel Williams, Jessica Pickens, Kendahl Cruver, and Christy….

All anxieties disappear once pass holders greet old friends from previous festivals, reconnecting with a family of choosing instead of a group of genetic links who do not necessarily connect emotionally with classic film, travel, sitting in the dark for extended periods of time, or mountains of pre-popped popcorn and Twizzlers.

Andrew Yang, great-grandson of Mary Astor, with friend in Club TCM….

Hollywood legend Norma Weingarten Pisar, Diane Baker, actress and close friend of Robert Osborne, TCM Programmer Dennis Millay, and Kelly Brady lobbying for a photo-op. Pisar is the daughter of Jessie Marmestan, a USC/MGM doctor, goddaughter of Norma Shearer, step-daughter of Lawrence Weingarten, and ex-wife of Sam Pisar, and has been involved in many creative endeavors in LA.

Cinemaven Theresa Brown, perpetual TCMFF Florida Fan Sam Mahin, and Paula “Cinema Detroit,” #TCMParty doyenne grab a moment to pose in the Chinese Multiplex Lobby, always a popular gathering spot for fest-themed displays…

Fans ready for the Red Carpet Rumba near the entrance to the TCL Chinese Theater, formerly and always Grauman’s to classic film fans…

Credentialed Media mavens (L to R), Kim Luperi, Michelle Conte, a perky but unknown credentialed media gal, The Nitrate Diva’s Nora Fiore, and (Front) Journeys in Classic Film’s Kristen Lopez, gather for the race down the TCMFF Red Carpet 2018…

PR whiz Liz Kelly is ready for celebs!

TCM’s Duchess Of Social Media Marya Gates, Raquel Stelcher, and Asbury Park, New Jersey’s Jeff Lundenberger….

And the celebs are off to the races!!

Juliet Mills and husband Maxwell Caulfield…

New TCM Host Dave Karger engages with media…

Author Alan K. Rode, Michael Curtiz: A Life In Film, greets a journalist and fan …

TCM VP and Brand Activation and Partnership whiz Genevieve McGillicuddy enjoys the cheering crowd with the RC Host…

Mario Van Peebles escorts his father, Melvin Van Peebles, who told yours truly that being at the TCMFF was ” the most love I ever had with my clothes on!”

TCM’s Jennifer Dorian reiterated the future vision for the network after Coleman Breland, President Of Turner Classic Movies and Turner Content Experiences, outlined the detailed plans for connecting with fan interests, expanding content choices and remembering the enormous impact that former TCM Host Robert Osborne had on the network…

Wyatt McCrea, grandson of classic film heartthrob Joel McCrea, laughs at a journalist’s comment..

Pola Changnon, TCM SVP Of Marketing, Creative and Brand Services, shared her excitement for this year’s special guests and screenings…

Noir Alley Kingpin Eddie Muller emotes…

Rosanna Arquette, happy about the Bill Cosby conviction earlier in the day stated, “Justice was done today!”

Writer and presenter Cari Beauchamp is interviewed by TCM’s Kristen Welch in front of the cheering fan gallery…

Actor and comedian Dennis Miller seriously readies for the next barrage of questions…

Writer, author and Treasures from the Disney Vault Host Leonard Maltin is always ready to share…

Animated Ruta Lee talked, laughed, and shared with all the journalists, the most energetic and democratic of special guests…

2018 Oscar-winning costume designer Mark Bridges introduced Gigi at the festival…

Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey shared their love for the epic Zeffirelli film, Romeo and Juliet…

First Robert Osborne Award recipient Martin Scorsese, founder of The Film Foundation and the World Cinema Project, rushes down the runway to prepare for the ceremony…

The opening night Red Carpet Gala Premiere of The Producers was preceded by a new event, heralding a memorial to an esteemed, honored man revered by all fans of Turner Classic Movies, Robert Osborne. The festival website defines the event:

Turner Classic Movies is proud to honor our late host, Robert Osborne, with the creation of the Robert Osborne Award. This annual award will be presented at the TCM Classic Film Festival to an individual whose work has helped keep the cultural heritage of classic films alive and thriving for generations to come.

The presentation of the first Robert Osborne Memorial Award, presented by Leonardo Di Caprio, went to esteemed director, writer, and film historian, Martin Scorsese. Scorsese walked down the Red Carpet quickly with an escort.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVt7yPeYe8o

Pass holders don’t care about the drunks, the drug addicts, the beggars or the trash up and down the street. Yes, they give out money, pay for food, and generally try to be respectful of the people in the parade that they constantly wish they could pass by. Die-hard fans attending the TCM Film Festival care about having a communal, family-oriented gathering with like-minded friends who share common ideas and beliefs. Strategizing the mine field of Hollywood Boulevard is nothing when we pass holders consider what will be shared at the end of a trek to the Egyptian or back up the boulevard to the Chinese. Walk, Don’t Run the next time an opportunity is offered to be with friends from all over the world who want to share experiences like the annual spring convention on Hollywood, Boulevard.

The world premiere screening of Scandal:The Trial Of Mary Astor saw Host Gary Freedman and Director Alexa Foreman wistful as they remembered their good friend Robert Osborne ….

Java jaunt before Stage Door’s screening at The Egyptian…

Director Sean Cameron showing some pass holder passion….

And there’s always the thrill of the Hand and Footprint Ceremony at the TCL Chinese Forecourt…

Academy-Award Winner Cicely Tyson waits for her moment in the hand and footprint sunshine with director, actor, and producer Tyler Perry….

Cicely Tyson listens to fans and photogs shouting “hurrahs” as she takes time to make it right…

Closing night party huzzahs in Club TCM…. and spilling into the lobby…

Marion Davies’ biographer and fest presenter Lara Fowler with credentialed media Kristin Sales…

Canada’s Heather Dagorne, The Bay Area’s Miss Paula, and Minnesota’s Vickie “Vickster” Gleason…

Christy with Disney historian and author J.B. Kaufman….

PR gal Kelly Kitchens, Susan Godfrey, and Minnesota’s Vickie Gleason…

Everybody had to have their photo op with Sheryl Birkner…

Classic Movie Hub’s AnnMarie Gatti and cousin Doreen…

Theresa Brown, Sam Mahin, and Ana Eire…

Mark Wickersham, Kelly Kitchens Wickersham and Lawrence Kaplowitz…

TCM’s Dennis Millay and jet-setting fangirl Jackie Brady….

Authors Sloan De Forest, Must See Sci-Fi, and Jeremy Arnold, The Essentials- 52 Must See Movies. Warner’s new book about Christmas-themed films comes out soon …

Director Alexa Foreman and Dan from Florida…

Jocelyn Dunphy and good friend Lenore K…

Jasmine, Alan and Chris…

Diana Panda and yours truly…

Two Laura’s, one Mike, and one Jasmine…

Aurora Bugallo and Kaci Kielmar bookend a happy couple…

Larry and Monika Henreid dining in style…

Larry’s Brigade, almost all pals from The TCM Message Boards, The Silver Screen Oasis, and the first fest in 2010…

Beautiful Diane Baker….

Journeys in Classic Film’s Kristen Lopez and Christy….

Selfie with Karen Burroughs Hannsberry

Jeff Lundenberger, Christy, and Jeff Tambor of Larry Edmunds Bookshop …

Kelly Brady and Miss Paula….

With the ever kinetic Jack Fields…

Wendy Mahaffey and Heather Dagorne ready for next year…

Well, the party’s over for 2018. Pretty soon we’ll be partying like it’s 2019!

Living With Grace: Life Lessons From America’s Princess

Good Graces: The Legacy of Grace Kelly

Motion picture archivist, Hollywood historian, and writer Mary Mallory’s newest book, Living with Grace: Life Lessons From America’s Princess, published June 30 by Lyons Press, is the latest volume about a national fashion icon, and a real princess who grew up near the Eastern Atlantic shores in toney East Falls, Pennsylvania. With American Meghan Markle’s new title as Duchess of Sussex confirming that royal titles are not quite the forbidden territory they once seemed to be, Mallory’s new book may provide even more insight in how to prepare for a royal life even if the reader has no regal ambitions.

Evolving the tale of Grace Kelly’s rise to stardom and stylishness finds Mallory’s narrative revealing the more important aspects of Kelly’s personal and professional trajectory while including glossy images accompanied by timely quotes offset in pink type like:

“She was the least self-conscious actress I ever met,” Celeste Holm

Discussing Kelly’s style while including relevant images from all facets of her professional life illuminates how her persona transformed through her years as a young actress and model, to her more definitive, well-developed sense of what ensemble complemented the characters she played. Comments from former fiancé and couturier Oleg Cassini, and cinematic fashion designers Edith Head and Helen Rose reveal their admiration for her style and distinctive good taste. Those who would dismiss Kelly as a two-dimensional Disney princess exclude her life legacies as a dedicated actress, wife and mother who always tried to focus on kindness, professionalism, and civility.

Kelly’s acting colleagues, like director George Seaton or actor William Holden from The Country Girl, Clark Gable from Mogambo, James Stewart from Rear Window or friends Rita Gam and Judy Balaban Quine are just a sampling of the highlighted comments or quotes found nestled among the narrative. The photographs reminding readers or enchanting new fans continue to reveal how Kelly’s unobtrusive style-setting demeanor and lack of pretension helped her become a popular actress and a perpetually respected princess. Mallory also reveals Kelly’s playfulness and sense of humor off and on famous sound stages and proscenium arches.

The comments by Grace herself, some of which are not readily found anywhere else in published articles or books, breathe fresh sighs of tribute to the legacy of such a lovely actress, mother, wife, and princess.

I heartily recommend such a lovely book to look at, read, and enjoy. I’ll be ordering several as gifts for friends and family, and others might want to do the same.

Previous books:

Hollywood Celebrates The Holidays: 1920-1970

Hollywood At Play: The Lives of The Stars Between Takes

Living With Grace: Life Lessons From America’s Princess : Amazon Page

Amazon Author Page: Mary Mallory

Christina Putnam

Author:

THELMA RITTER: HOLLYWOOD’S FAVORITE NEW YORKER, University of Mississippi Press, 2019

Hank & Jim by Scott Eyman is…… Sleek & Slim*


Hank & Jim is an enthralling double biography by Scott Eyman, author of John Wayne: The Life and Legend, and co-author with actor Robert Wagner on three books, the latest which is I Loved Her In The Movies. Eyman has crafted an entertaining history of unlikely friends who were brought together by the theatre and who further cemented their camaraderie while exploring their expertise as film actors. While Stewart was laid back in his approach to acting and life, Fonda fought to avoid being laid bare and revealing his innermost emotions.


Agent turned producer Leland Hayward, Life photographer John Swope (husband of Fonda protégé Dorothy McGuire), and director Josh Logan all became close friends of Hank & Jim during their salad days in the University Players, “a bunch of stagestruck kids from the Ivy League and Seven Sisters.” Stewart’s and Fonda’s eventual gravitation to Hollywood led them to careers they never envisioned and their existences before World War II in California, like their pre-war films, had galvanized an established profession for both of them. When Stewart and Fonda returned home after the war, each had been deeply affected personally and professionally. Eyman successfully chronicles their twin journeys through the vagaries of Hollywood and the studio system, their personal lives, and professional successes and failures with an even-handed approach to fleshing out the demons and delights of both actor’s experiences.


Exploring the details of such a high profile closeness of two popular figures while meshing details and interviews reveals the author’s adept planning and execution of such an in-depth study. Eyman’s outline for his double biography might have taken a page from the latest October Psychology Today article entitled, “7 Traits of True Friendship” as he explores all aspects of successful friendship and applies the strictures to Fonda and Stewart. Empathy, selflessness, trustworthiness, interest-sharing, differing perspectives, humorousness, and being a team player illuminate all aspects of Hank &  Jim. They worked on hobbies together, they both loved gardening and talking about gardening, they socialized together, and they both had penchants for elaborate practical jokes. Even though Stewart was a Republican, and Fonda a liberal Democrat, the two loners both agreed to disagree and not explore politics in polite or formal conversation.

Actress Margaret Sullavan…

One of the most interesting aspects of Hank &  Jim is the specter of actress Margaret Sullavan who married Fonda, then Hayward, but also captured the hearts of Stewart and Swope. Her allure seems to light up passages of the book like her spirit must have engaged the men who adored her.


The Thursday Night Beer Club…

With comments from Kelly Stewart Harcourt, Jane Fonda, Brooke Hayward, Peter Fonda, Mark Swope, Burgess Meredith and other insiders, the lively times and loving bond between Hank & Jim make it worth a couple of lazy afternoons. Enjoying a lovely sunset after reading the last page of any good book would be something Hank and Jim would relish.

*Hank & Jim: Sleek & Slim- The writing is smooth and inviting, but the stories are so fascinating, readers will just want more. Plus, they sound perfect for their nicknames, like comments Barbara Stanwyck might have made…

Resources for more reading…

The Retro Set-
More about the Fonda/Stewart buddyship : http://theretroset.com/5-ways-the-jimmy-stewart-henry-fonda-bromance-will-ruin-your-life/

Psychology Today-7 Traits of True Friendship: http://theretroset.com/5-ways-the-jimmy-stewart-henry-fonda-bromance-will-ruin-your-life/

“Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda’s friendship”: A valuable lesson for a divided nation:  http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/07/01/jimmy-stewart-and-henry-fondas-friendship-valuable-lesson-for-divided-nation.html

Leonard Maltin reviews Hank & Jim: http://leonardmaltin.com/close-up-on-henry-fonda-and-james-stewart/

Where to purchase this book: https://www.amazon.com/Hank-Jim-Fifty-Year-Friendship-Stewart/dp/1501102176

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

The new documentary, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, had its Texas premiere at the Dallas Docfest, held this weekend from Thursday, October 5, to Sunday, October 8, at the Studio Movie Grill. Director Alexandra Dean attended the screening and participated in a Q & A before the film on Friday evening at 7 p.m.


Bart Weiss, artistic director of VideoFest 30, and DocFest, Publicist Kelly Kitchens Wickersham, and an eager festival fan…

The 16 inspiring features included in this year’s Docfest, according to artistic director Bart Weiss, “has characters that –through strength, fortitude, and often humor-show by example a path to live during difficult times. While the issues and localities are dispersed all over the world, the persistence of each subject is matched by that of each filmmaker to document and shed light on and shape each subject.“ Weiss’s comments certainly exemplify the lengthy process by which director Alexandra Dean shaped her film, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.

Several years of research and preparation has made the Lamarr narrative reverberate with sympathy, humor, and determination. Lamarr was often labeled the world’s most beautiful woman, but she also was a secret inventor whose idea of “frequency hopping’ provided a way to develop and revolutionize mobile communications all over the world. Her work directly led to the creation of secure communications for wireless phones, Bluetooth, GPS and Wifi technology, but in several ways, her beauty often derailed the results of her efforts.

Dean deftly and doggedly pursued interviews with Lamarr’s son and daughter, and grandchildren, as well as garnering the final onscreen interview that popular Turner Classic Movies Host Robert Osborne gave in order to honor his close friend, Hedy Lamarr. During the fascinating Q & A after the film, Dean revealed how much effort went in to revealing, explaining, and highlighting Lamarr’s detailed invention. Working with graphic artists to create visual renderings of Lamarr’s work took collaborators through several versions of the final visual interpretations seen during the film, but make the description of her inventive process easy for the unscientific audience member to understand. Dean’s determined manner and focused approach forced her to modify and restructure the narrative of her documentary several times until the final product became a more complete rendering of the true character and amazing accomplishments of an actress who was also a genius.


Director Alexandra Dean visits with a fan after the 7 p.m. screening….

Lamarr’s father, her muse and inspiration throughout her life, imbued her with an interest in invention and engineering, and as Lamarr admits during one of her taped interviews, chemistry was her favorite subject in high school.

Dean enjoys documentary filmmaking because she was trained as an investigative journalist, and she loves the treasure hunt and finding the wonderful pieces of archives that no one has seen before. Sometimes they shock even you. The beauty of history is really when you find that piece of primary research that no one has ever seen before. What we were so lucky with during the making of Bombshell is that we found these tapes that no one had ever heard before. That is what her story is based on. Hedy Lamarr is telling her story in her own words that the public had never heard before. That’s what fuels the work for me-trying to do something that no one has ever done before because nobody has found it.

Dean was happy to be in Dallas, Texas, for the very first time….


First stop for Director Alexandra Dean and adorable husband Chris, who live in New York City, was a BBQ feast with Publicist Kelly Wickersham, husband Mark, and yours truly at Pappas’ restaurant near the Studio Movie Grill prior to the screening of Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story… Chris works for the BBC and one of his pet projects is the Brit Box…

(All photos by Christy)

 

 

 

Hedy Lamarr in Houston: http://blog.chron.com/bayoucityhistory/2012/02/when-hedy-lamarr-called-houston-home/
BritBox: https://www.britbox.com
Reframed Pictures: http://www.reframedpictures.com
Bombshell Review-The Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/bombshell-hedy-lamarr-story-997292

Who Makes Me Laugh?

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WHO MAKES ME LAUGH?

The TCM Film Festival 2017 Red Carpet

Working the TCM Film Festival Red Carpet on April 6, 2017, afforded me the opportunity to ask celebrities, writers, actors, producers and TCM staff a question that follows the theme of the festival, Make ‘Em Laugh: Comedy in the Movies. I wanted to know who makes them laugh. Here’s what they said:

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TCM’s Kellie O’Neal: “Charlie Chaplan!”

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The Czar of Noir, the CEO of The Film Noir Foundation, and host of TCM’s Noir Alley on Sunday mornings, Eddie Muller: “My wife! That’s why I married her.”

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Diane Baker greets Martin Landau during the Red Carpet Rush on Thursday, April 6. Landau participated in a special interview during the festival.

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Actress and Educator Diane Baker, a close friend of the late TCM Host Robert Osborne: “The Golden Girls because it’s timeless, Betty White and her deadpan delivery, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Judy Dench in As Time Goes By.

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Actor Chris Tucker and the legendary Quincy Jones visit with credentialed media on the Red Carpet. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images for TCM)

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Martha Rogers pointed to the man standing to her left.

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“My husband, Dick Cavett, makes me laugh. Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night and says something hysterically funny!”

(Photo by Getty News for TCM)

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TCM’s Mark Wynns, who made the final film introduction on Sunday evening for Lady in the Dark at the Egyptian: “My three-year-old son!”

 

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Stathis Giallelis, who attended a screening of Elia Kazan’s America, America!: 

“Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, and my family!”

(Photo by Getty News for TCM)

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TCM Producer Anne Wilson: “The people I work with!”


Sara Karloff: “Mel Brooks!”

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Keir Dullea: “Danny Kaye! He was hysterical.” Dullea attended a screening of David and Lisa. (Photo courtersy of Michelle Conte)

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TCM’s Charlie Tabesh: “Elaine May. I tried to get her to come to the festival. Mel Brooks, Jim Abrahams, David and Jerry Zucker…”

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Director Sean Cameron: “Steve Martin!”

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Cameron was the emcee for the evening and introduced special guests to the fan gallery.

Wyatt McCrea: “My uncle, Jody McCrea! He could make my grandfather (legendary actor Joel McCrea) fall on the floor laughing!” McCrea attended a screening of The Palm Beach Story.

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Actors Rusty Goffe, Julie Dawn Cole, and Paris Themmen attend the 50th anniversary screening of In the Heat of the Night and were in attendance for the poolside screening of Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.

Goffe:  “Mel Brooks!”

Cole: : “Mel Brooks!

Themmen: “Christopher Guest”

(Photo courstesy of Getty Images for TCM)

 

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TCM’s Pola Changnon: “My husband, Dustin Hoffman, and Jack Lemmon!”

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TCM’s host of Trailblazing Women, Illeana Douglas: “Jerry Lewis, Carl Reiner, and Albert Brooks, who is truly a genius!”

 

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Beau Bridges greets Lee Grant on the Red Carpet…

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images for TCM)

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Historian, writer and popular #TCMFF presenter Cari Beauchamp (with son Jake): “Sue Lloyd!” Beauchamp introduced 5 films, two of which were added as TBAs. Beauchamp wrote Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood and My First Time in Hollywood.

 

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TCM’s General Manager Jennifer Dorian, here greeting a fan: “My girlfriends!”

Actress, Thalians officer and friend of Debbie Reynolds, Ruta Lee chats and giggles during her interview on The Red Carpet. Lee once claimed Reynolds was one of the funniest ladies she’d ever met, and was in attendance at a screening of Singin’ In The Rain with Todd Fisher.

 

Historian, author, and host of Treasures From the Disney Vault on TCM, Leonard Maltin:

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“My wife and I have made each other laugh for 42 years! ”

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images for TCM)

Todd Fisher, sister of Carrie Fisher, and son of legendary triple-threat Debbie Reynolds was happy to talk to credentialed media on the #TCMFF Red Carpet. When told this reporter was a native Texan, Fisher replied “You know, my mother was from Texas, and she enjoyed acknowledging it. My mother was very funny. But I have to say that the funniest person I ever knew was my sister, Carrie.”

Fisher appeared at the TCM Film Festival for screenings of “Singin’In The Rain”and “Postcards From The Edge,” and participated in memorializing his mother and sister. During the pre-interview for the screening of “Postcards From The Edge” with Richard Dreyfuss, Dreyfuss broke down in tears, was unable to speak for a few moments, and admitted it was the first time he had “broken down”since Carrie Fisher’s death, even though he had been close to her.

The TCM Film Festival 2017 was dedicated to the memory of TCM Host Robert Osborne.

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Memorials for Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds were also part of the festival events.

What I Won’t Be Seeing At The TCM Classic Film Festival 2017…

Since this is my eighth TCM Film Festival, I’ve come to expect certain things. I always love the excitement and the Wednesday get-togethers with dear friends the night before the festival begins. That won’t change.  Seeing familiar faces, opening the flood gates on my  cinephiliac stream-of-consciousness to dear friends I’ve known since April of 2010, and friends I’ve known even before the first festival. We chatted on the TCM Message Boards and The Slver Screen Oasis. That won’t change, either.


I know I won’t be able to see In The Heat of the Night with Lee Grant, Norman Jewison, Quincy Jones, Walter Mirisch, and Sidney Poitier in attendance, and I would have enjoyed seeing this ground-breaking film. Since I am credentialed media with many of my fellow writers, bloggers, photographers, and journalists from the Fourth Estate, I am only able to attend events that Classic pass holders have access to.  I might be visiting with TCM Film Festival Special Guests on the Red Carpet, or writing about the historic Hand and Footprint ceremony, the first time a father and a son (Carl and Rob Reiner!) will be honored in the forecourt of the TCM Chinese Theatre. Incidentally, the famous theatre was once owned by that flaming-haired actress Rhonda Fleming’s husband, Ted Mann.

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Fleming will be featured in a 3D presentation of Paramount’s Those Redheads From Seattle with Agnes Moorehead, and Teresa Brewer.  I’ll probably be there at the Friday night screening at the Chinese Multiplex 6. My other choice? Laura. Nitrate. ‘Nuff said.


I won’t be seeing anything but The Incident Saturday night. Martin Sheen made his screen debut in director Larry Peerce’s UK-banned drama of terrorized passenger on a subway ride from hell. Both Peerce and Bruce Goldstein will be in attendance. Sheen has been dropped from or hasn’t been added to the Special Guest list, so I probably won’t be seeing him there, but he had been previously announced in an email from TCM. (I checked again right before posting this article.) There just might be a special guest or two in the audience. 

UPDATE: Martin Sheen is listed on the official TCM Schedule as in attendance for the film, but still hasn’t been added to the Special Guest list.

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Rarely seen performances by Ruby Dee, Brock Peters, Jack Gilford, Martin Sheen, Beau Bridges, Ed McMahon, Donna Mills, and Thelma Ritter make The Incident a TCM Film Festival rarity.

What I won’t be seeing is Black Narcissus in nitrate. This conflict on my personal radar last screened at the festival with Thelma Schoonmaker. This season, its the nitrate version. Not sure who will be introducing this film on Friday at 9:30 in The Egyptian. But Black Narcissus is the film where Stewart Granger first spotted Jean Simmons and decided to seek her out.

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Kathleen Byron is witchy-spooky in this visual feast where Deborah Kerr first dons the nun’s habit with sincerity.

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I also won’t be seeing The Art of Subtitling, The Awful Truth, David and Lisa, or  The Great Dictator, and not because I don’t want to. I am seriously agonizing over this emotional slot in my “fest sked.” I find I am nervously vacillating and dithering over that Saturday afternoon nachtmahr:  The Last Picture Show, Rear Window, or the Michael Douglas interview.

All the other films I won’t see sort of pale in comparison to the tough choices. Laura in nitrate seems a must. So does Dr. Strangelove, Stalag 17, and The Jerk because I have a family member in attendance for these screenings. Festival presenters, besides the popular Ben Mankiewicz and Illeana Douglas, like author and historian Jeremy Arnold (Some Like It Hot) and author, historian, and documentarian Cari Beauchamp (Red-Headed Woman, The Palm Beach Story, Beat The Devil, David and Lisa, So This Is Paris) make the pre-screening intros fascinating and worth our undivided attention. Australian Alicia Malone is someone I have not seen present at the festival yet, but I predict  Dana Delany will be a popular guest for her intro to Love Crazy. There seem to be more historians, preservationists, and esteemed authors in attendance than ever before. Pass holders are fortunate. Fabulous celebrities and special guests make the screenings an exciting event every hour of the long-awaited-for schedule.

The most emotionally wrenching aspect of this TCM Film Festival is that we will not see TCM Host Robert Osborne. But pass holders will be able to “group-grieve”and attend a special memorial tribute to the man that gave his passion to his viewers and classic film lovers through his affiliation with Turner Classic Movies. Memorial tributes to Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds have also been planned.

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It is indeed serendipitous that Debbie Reynolds, who advised Robert Osborne to choose a cable channel hosting position with TCM, and Osborne, who ultimately steered TCM to its 20th Anniversary in 2014, left their fans in the same year.

What will I be seeing? The tribute to Robert Osborne on Thursday.

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Let’s just pretend Debbie and Robert are waiting in the Green Room, preparing their opening lines, and checking their makeup.

Tribute to Robert Osborne: Thursday, 12:30 p.m., Chinese Multiplex House 1

Tribute screening to Debbie Reynolds with Todd Fisher in attendance: Singin’In The Rain, Sunday, 4:30, Chinese Theatre IMAX

Tribute screening to Carrie Fisher: Postcards from the Edge, Sunday, 2 p.m., Chinese Multiplex House 1

TCM Film Festival pass holders will be toasting and raising a glass or two to Robert, Debbie, and Carrie all over town. Join them in remembrance at Musso & Franks, or the Pig N’Whistle, or wherever you happen to be with friends during our annual time to  celebrate the classics. They would want us to “Sing In The Sunshine.”

 

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