Roundtable Discussion with Writer, Critic, and Historian Leonard Maltin

The Leonard Maltin Roundtable Discussion included journalists Bob Brauer from ABC Radio, Debra Levine from Artsmeme, Kami Spangenburg from Classic Couple, Carla Renata from The Curvy Film Critic, Manny Pacheco from Forgotten Hollywood, Jan Price from “The Jan Price Show” on iHeart Media, and Christy Putnam from Christy’s Inkwells.

Media writers gathered April 23rd in The Writer’s Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt to visit with film critic, writer, and historian Leonard Maltin before the evening of his Robert Osborne Award. Turner Classic Movies proudly pays tribute to its late host, Robert Osborne, with this award presented annually at the TCM Classic Film Festival to an individual whose work has helped preserve the cultural heritage of classic film for future generations. Leonard Maltin is definitely one of those individuals who has helped discuss, revere and preserve the cultural heritage of classic film.

Leonard Maltin sits at the head of the table as he takes questions from journalists…

TCM’s publicity release about Maltin reveals his singular devotion and experitise to classic film:

Widely respected among his peers and revered in popular culture for his career as a film critic and historian, Leonard Maltin served as the movie reviewer for Entertainment Tonight for thirty years and is perhaps best known for his indispensable book, Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, and its companion volume, Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide. First published in 1969 as TV Movies and updated multiple times under various titles, this comprehensive collection of thousands of capsule movie reviews has been a go-to source for cast listings, plot summaries, and Maltin’s own trustworthy star ratings, appearing long before the likes of film aggregation sites like IMDb. Maltin is known for his wealth of knowledge on Disney history and has served as TCM’s resident host of Treasures from the Disney Vault. He has contributed to various publications over his career, including Variety and TV Guide, and currently hosts The Maltin Minute for DirecTV and the Maltin on Movies podcast with his daughter, Jessie Maltin. He also teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, sits on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation, and is a voting member of the National Film Registry. Maltin has been awarded numerous honors from film festivals and societies for his work preserving the history of film, including the Telluride Film Festival, the California Independent Film Festival, the National Board of Review, and the American Society of Cinematographers. 

Maltin, humble and seemingly amazed at his own background of expertise, answered questions about his illustrious career.

Question: How did it all begin?

Maltin: I’m a child of the first TV generation, so every single day of my life I watched Laurel and Hardy and The Little Rascals. There were a finite number of those shorts, so eventually I watched them a second and third time…and an umpteenth time. I never got tired of them. In fact, quite the opposite. I wanted to learn more about them. It piqued my curiosity.

The restoration of Laurel and Hardy and The Little Rascals has been amazing, and it’s so long overdue. We are so lucky they were still able to rescue them.

Question: Since I spent a great deal of my formative years in Mexico, I was first acquainted with Laurel and Hardy as El Gordo and El Flaco, the name of the duo in Spanish-language presentations. Can you speak to their international fame?

Maltin: It is a fact. They were popular longer than many others. Their popularity extended into the television era here. It made them so widely visible again here. Theatrically, they never went away, in a sense, in several parts of the world.

Question: Can your latest book, Starstruck, be a love story?

Of me and my wife of 47 years. That is for sure. When we met, we talked about getting married the next day. An an unconditional love with my daughter, and now my granddaughter who lives under the same roof. We get to watch her everyday and that is a light into our lives.

Writer Debra Levine and Jessie Maltin, Leonard’s daughter.

And my love of movies which is unabated.

Question: Can you pick a favorite film choreographer?

Maltin: How do I pick my favorite? Is it Busby Berkely? In the Laserdisc era, Warner Home Video put out the Busby Berkely disc, and now that’s morphed into a Blu-ray where the quality is even better. I find such joy and fascination in what he did and what he accomplished. I don’t think I would have liked working for him, but the end result at first, is unmistakable. Talk about having a signature.

Other choreographers Maltin admitted that he admired include Stanely Donen, Gene Kelly, Jack Cole, and Michael Kidd. “I hosted a tribute to Mary Poppins at the Academy, maybe 20 years ago.”

(Several of the attendees who participated in the making of Mary Poppins, 11 or 12 by Maltin’s recollection, were present on stage or in the audience, including co-choreographer Didi Wood.)

And Maltin asked Wood the following question during the Academy event….

“It just occurred to me, Didi, was the chimney sweep sequence influenced at all by the barnraising in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? She said, ‘We stole everything from Michael Kidd.’ They were his assistants. She didn’t dispute it, she confirmed it.”

Question: What are your thoughts on the future of classic films?

Maltin: I think the future is good. Largely because of TCM and other institutions and devotees like you all who are writing about it and blogging about it, and having conversations about it. I don’t know if it’s a growth sector of our economy, but there are just enough people who are passionate about it to keep it alive and well.

Journalist Manny Pacheco asked Maltin about his relationship with Robert Osborne:

Maltin: Robert became the best ambassador to classic Hollywood anyone could possibly want or dream of. We were friendly, we were not close friends, and I absolutely admired him and what he pulled off. He was lucky enough to land this gig. He was the right guy. It was easy for viewers to embrace him as they did, and he had a great deal to do with launching TCM and expanding the audience.

As Maltin was a guest programmer one evening, Osborne told Maltin during a break that “I have no training for this.” Osborne, at times, still didn’t feel completely at ease reading those scripts. “But he was not a machine or a plastic corporate creation.” Maltin felt that Osborne was “the right guy. His look, his bearing, his manner, he was so at ease and so comfortable, and so dignified.”

Personally, Maltin revealed that he “loved the fact that Osborne lived in a building on 47th St. that bore his name.”

Question: What is Leonard Maltin’s favorite genre?

Maltin: Comedy, but in the classic era. I was weaned on Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and Buster Keaton.

Question: Any advice for future critics?

Maltin: It’s never been easier to do it. Self-publishing and now you can reach an audience. If you’re good, the news starts to spread. Reaching out and writing to people who are established helps…

Question: Do you have any advice to the current TCM Hosts?

Maltin: They’re all doing a fine job. I wouldn’t presume to give them advice. They don’t need any coaching from me. That’s why this festival is so great. They get to interact with their viewers. They are surrogates and guides through classic films and Hollywood. Very few channels, if any, have that.

Maltin added that the hosts “each bring something of themselves to their comments” on TCM.

Journalist Jan Price asked Maltin what it meant to receive the Robert Osborne Award from actor and director Warrren Beatty….

Maltin: It means the world. There are not many who reached that plateau. There are stars, legends, and then there is Warren Beatty. I was a teenager when Bonnie and Clyde came out. …It made a deep and lasting impression on me, and I followed him ever since.

Question: What does legacy mean to you?

Maltin: I don’t think about legacy. I think about what I am doing next week.

Leonard Maltin’s latest book is Starstruck: My Unlikely Road to Hollywood.

One April 23rd, Leonard Maltin received the Robert Osborne Award, presented to him by Actor and Director Warren Beatty at the American Legion Post #43 before a standing-room only crowd for a screening of Counselor at Law, a film hand-picked by Maltin for the occasion.

Girls on Film a Cause For Celebration…

Reflections on a Life in Cinema

The fans at #TCMFF in Hollywood celebrated Alicia Malone’s newest book, Girls On Film: Lessons from a Life of Watching Women in Movies.

Jeff Mantor, owner of Larry Edmunds Bookshop, the iconic, go-to venue for classic film-related books and memorabilia, completely SOLD OUT of Malone’s newest book during the #TCMFF….
Malone all decked out in blue sequins on the #TCMFF Red Carpet…
Malone greets fans at the closing night poolside party at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel….
Singers and spouses Connie Smith and Marty Stuart with Alicia Malone on the #TCMFF Red Carpet. Stuart introduced High Noon with Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly…
Fan Paula Forselles makes a point with Malone during the closing night poolside bash…

Malone’s latest book reveals her journey as a young film lover to a film writer and explores her innermost longings to share the delight of classic cinema the cinematic world at large. Her job as one of the hosts of Turner Classic Movies has allowed Malone to speak with authority about films she loves.

The 206-page text of her personal experiences reveals her first film at three-years old- The Never Ending Journey, The air-conditioned comfort of the theater in Canberra, Australia, began her interest in film and her obsession with horses. Her shyness and her ability to interpret her emotions reveals the deep-seated need for self-expression that has helped Malone move to the forefront of her profession. Malone’s teenage friend, the film that frightened her the most, how she organized her determination to become a host at TCM, and her latest inspirational project reveal the woman behind the hosting duties.

Her interpretation of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes highlights how Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw avoid competing with each other and support one another throughout all their adventures in the film. The Bad and The Beautiful, The Enchanted Cottage, many foreign films, and Imitation of Life are discussed with care and devotion. Malone also discusses working on press junkets and some of her brushes with well-known celebrities.

If you enjoy Alicia Malone’s films comments on TCM, or her other books, reading about the personal journey she embarked upon at an early age will be worth your time and money.

You can order a signed copy of Girls on Film from Larry Edmunds Bookshop.

#TCMFF Festival Friends 2022

Theresa and Joe…
Christy and Pam…
Sam and Eva….
With Wendy….
Pam and Karen….
Theresa and Karin….
Theresa and Christy ….
Paula and Alicia Malone…
Leonard Maltin and Christy….
Ángela and Kim….
Paula, Isabella, and Jeremy….
Theresa and Christy
Dan, Eileen, Shawn, and Carrie…
Disney legend Floyd Norman in Club TCM….
Sheryl and Glenn…
Monika and Larry…
Larry’s Brigade….
Theresa, Chris, and Christy….
Cora Sue With a fan….
West Coast Bloggers at Miceli’s….
Julia, Ed, and Alan…
Ruth with a fan….
Ed, the button man!
Monika and Karin….
TCM’s Charlie Tabesh with Ten-Timers at poolside….
Ted Donaldson with a fan at the pre-fest Hollywood Heritage party….
Jack Priest with family….
Paula, Sheryl, Sam, and Theresa….
Stephen and Laura…
Jack and Monika…
Ed, Kim and Joel with an enthusiastic fan…
Trudy and Michele…
Glenn, Jon, Lynn, and Larry….
With author Preston Neal Jones….
The end!


TCM: The Essentials Volume 2, 52 More Must-See Movies and Why They Matter by Jeremy Arnold and Foreword by Ben Mankiewicz

Films from Volume I included a foreword by TCM Host Robert Osborne and highlighted the following selections:

The pleasure of knowing that TCM’s and Robert Osborne’s personal selections for classic films essential to the aficionados of national and international cinema circles would begin to be chronicled in book form, a physical media of which I am indeed fond, delighted me as well as many other friends of TCM.

Jeremy Arnold, an author awarded the honor of chronicling the first edition, also has taken the helm for the second edition, which includes a forward by Ben Mankiewicz, now a focal point of hosting responsibilities on the network since the death of TCM’s original host, Robert Osborne.

Mankiewicz also moonlights (or daylights) on CBS Sunday Morning with interviews of industry professionals like Mel Brooks, Elliot Gould, and most recently director of Mank, David Fincher, and star Amanda Seyfried.

Cohosts of TCM also include Noir Alley kingpin Eddie Muller, Writer Alicia Malone, Red Carpet Veteran Dave Karger, and Professor Jacqueline Stewart.

Stirred by my initial glance at the contents, I was pleased to discover more of my favorites appeared in Volume II than I recalled from Volume I. An added list of all films appearing on TCM’s Essentials programs is also included, which had not been added to Volume I, certainly a plus for the serious TCM fan who has been relatively faithful to the series.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, a personal favorite of mine, and one that fans often claim for a top ten list, is highlighted with one of Robert Osborne’s quotes that seems unusually poignant considering how Tierney was one of Osborne’s delights. He even had the portrait of Tierney as Laura in his personal memorabilia collection:

“I’m a great, great, Gene Tierney fan; she can do no wrong. She had played a successful business woman in Laura and [was] strong in Leave Her to Heaven, and here she was, the number one dramatic sar at Twentieth CenturyFox, cast against type as a very gentle, very kind [and]compassionate woman….”

I was indeed happy that the low-budget, high-quality of Ride The High Country with Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott was featured in this book and garnered the recognition it deserves as the coda to two high-profile careers in the Western genre. The quote from Mariette Hartley is also a nice summary of her experiences with the two old pros. Is it a genre that actually deserves its own “Western Essentials” volume, Running Press?

Author Jeremy Arnold with Wyatt McCrea at the TCM Film Festival in 2018….

As for the addition of Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), I would have much rather have seen Auntie Mame, Stalag 17, Rebecca, The Blue Dahlia, Gilda, Meet John Doe, The African Queen, Gigi, The Bad and The Beautiful, or A Letter to Three Wives make Volume II. I’ve always been kind of “Meh” about Hannah and Her Sisters. A man disrespecting personal or emotional boundaries unsettles me and just sits a little to close to Allen’s own issues, personal or professional, even though I’ve enjoyed many of his other films.

But I must be grateful for A Face In The Crowd‘s inclusion with Andy Griffith’s stunningly attention-grabbing performance. TCM Remembers even though the Academy left Griffith out of their Oscar’s In Memoriam telecast sequence after his death. Night Of The Hunter‘s inclusion should also delight cinephiles and critics who enjoy Charles Laughton’s only directorial offering. The addition of William Wyler’s Dodsworth is also a highlight, a nod and a wave to Robert Osborne’s personal favorite. Another reason to cherish this edition is a photo of Thelma Ritter with Doris Day from Pillow Talk.

Former Essential Hosts Molly Haskell, Sally Field, Alec Baldwin, Rose McGowan, William Friedkin, Sydney Pollack, Carrie Fisher, Drew Barrymore, and current Essential Host Brad Bird have relevant comments sprinkled throughout the entries, as well as Robert Osborne’s archived mentions. The What To Look For feature is also included with all the entries with this edition.

I couldn’t have been so discerning about what I enjoyed and did appreciate with Volume II unless author Jeremy Arnold and the editors had added the full Essentials films list. I appreciate that inclusion in this volume as a complete reference list is a nicely added tool for readers.

If you have always been a fan of TCM’s The Essentials, Volume II should be added to your personal film collection bookshelf.

Today’s TCM Roundtable Discussion with General Manager Pola Changnon, Vice President of Programming Charlie Tabesh, and Host Ben Mankiewicz

Today’s TCM Roundtable Discussion with General Manager Pola Changnon, Vice President of Programming Charlie Tabesh, and Host Ben Mankiewicz

The logo for this year’s #TCMFF 2020….

In lieu of the traditional Meet TCM or our annual credentialed media informative sessions this year, TCM administrators have invited journalists to participate in a roundtable discussion with Pola Changnon, Charlie Tabesh, and Ben Mankiewicz.

Questions posed were asked by journalists in our audio conference call. As I am unsure if I have permission to post the names of the journalists, I will highlight or summarize their questions and the responses from administrators. My notes include only a portion of today’s comments, questions, and responses.

Question #1: The current emergency has affected many AMC has already hired counsel to discuss bankruptcy. Does TCM have any strategic ideas that they are working on to get people to go back into the movie theatres? Have you talked to Fathom or any other organizations you’ve worked with?

Pola Changnon: Thank you for that questions about the theaters. Obviously that is of paramount interest to us as well. The film festival reflects our interest in making sure people have an interest in seeing films in theaters with a community of people who love them and enjoy them. It’s concerning. As fans are concerned, we are absolutely in conversation with our Fathom partners. When people start going back to the theaters, how can we contribute to that by including programming for families, for example. We are absolutely looking at some of that because we know that while this is an incredibly difficult time for folks, we know that it is not going to be forever.

Question #2: How did this idea of the Special Home Edition come about? Does it involved any special introductions you are putting into it or are you taking older programming and programming it like you would normally program for TCM?  

Pola Changnon: It was about a month ago that we were all looking with concern with the situations evolving about health concerns and hot that might impact our festival dates. This time a month ago, it was clear that we were going to have to cancel the festival. We didn’t feel comfortable thinking about how we would even postpone it. You can just imagine how difficult it is to check availability of venues and rearrange the talent for the festival. Fortunately, many of the key folks were together in L.A. at the time, which isn’t always the case. We started the day off with an acknowledgement that we were going to have to cancel the festival. By the end of the day, Charlie felt confident that he could organize the festival on the network. We certainly wanted to still recognize that a lot of people, pass holders and staff alike, look forward to it all year long. At the end of the way, we had already begun to formulate how to program the festival on the network. We wanted it to be special enough to stand up to people’s expectations. Charlie came up with something so robust that it was beyond my wildest expectations.

Pola Changnon, TCM General Manager, and Charlie Tabesh, TCM Senior VP of Programming on the #TCMFF RED CARPET 2019…

Charlie Tabesh: It is true. One of the considerations was how do we make it different than what’s normally on TCM. We wanted that to be special, which meant including a lot of material that we wouldn’t normally include on TCM day to day. The first idea was to play a lot of the movies that we had previously scheduled for the festival. The problem was that you don’t have the guests, the tribute pieces, the traditional segments of the actual festival that were done over the years. We could make it special by Ben doing his intros talking about previous guests, or when we were there with certain stars or filmmakers. With the question about production, there is a lot of production that has gone into the creation of the Special Home Edition, but we had been limited about how we could do that by the circumstances. Our team has done an amazing job of working remotely, using Zoom, and also pulling together a lot of material that has been created over the years and reformatting it in a way around the screening of the films to really make it a film festival that you could do virtually. It’s all come together beautifully.

Ben Mankiewicz talking with actress Meg Ryan on the #TCMFF Red Carpet 2019

Ben Mankiewicz, Shirley Jones, and TCM’s Mark Wynns…
Ben Mankiewicz with fans…

Ben Mankiewicz: We’ve filmed some segments in a way that I’ve never shot some things before. An unbelievably scaled-down crew and they didn’t come within 10 feet of me. We always write fresh intros, and these were all fresh intros related to the festival. This programming will look different because I won’t be on my set. People look forward to this all year, and that includes us. We look forward to it because of this incredibly warming connection that we offer to our fans. When Pola and Charlie and others made the decision that we couldn’t have the festival this year, they asked me to write something to say on the air. And I wrote it and filmed it one the air the next day, and in writing it and in delivering it, got very emotional. That first take I almost couldn’t get through it without crying. I didn’t expect that. But we wanted to let people know that there would be a festival next year. TCM is like all of us. We are going to get through this together.

#TCMFF Festival Fun through the years…
#TCMFF Festival Fun through the years….

A Ten-Timer Remembers the #TCMFF 2019

My trusty Super Shuttle driver from LAX was right on time on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Juggling my Ricardo’s of Beverly Hills trunk stuffed with ensembles and my roly-poly media bag, Miguel gave them the heave-ho onto the luggage rack without even a sigh. Unfortunately, the Super Shuttles are no longer viable transportation from LAX in 2020 as other, more popular services have managed to shutter the service.

I was on my way to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, home of exciting lobby meetups, media hounds, celebrities, bloggers, hangers-on, and classic film fans from all over the world. The excitement of meeting all my favorite valets and bell captains like Mark and Will made me realize it was another homecoming after 9 years of smooth arrivals and departures courtesy of the staff who made it all possible.

The first, most anticipated event for fans attending a 10th edition of the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival would be breakfast at Mel’s Diner on Thursday morning!

The Hole in the Wall gang would gather together for a group reunion.

TCM staff Charlie Tabesh, Scott McGee, Mark Wynns and Jennifer Dorian were surprise guests at the event organized by Connie Crump and Jay….

Purchasing passes, airfare, hotel rooms, signed books from author events, munchies, meals and liquid refreshments were all part of the price of fun with classic film-loving friends. How many films did we see in 10 years? How many celebrities did we see, talk to, or share a margarita with through the years? All ten years worth of topics were on the table.

Another Mel’s Diner meetup is in the works again. See you in April!

Check out the Ten-Timers TCM Festival group on Facebook and see what Constance Crump has planned!

Cinematic Cities: The Big Apple On The Big Screen

Say “Noo Yawk City” to someone from Texas, and it might elicit a shudder. Images of chili with beans, a dearth of longnecks, biscuits and gravy without grits, hot dogs with sauerkraut, and a grimace instead of a friendly smile might just make a visitor turn around and head for the bus station.

But for cinema devotees, classic film buffs, movie lovers, and plain ole’ fans of classic films, or cinephiles, as the ‘auteur’ crowd refers, a collection of cafes, cantinas and film locations is a treasure trove of tidbits that tantalize.

Christian Blauvelt’s new book for TCM’s Running Press, highlights haunts of the rich and famous like The Chelsea Hotel, scenes of notoriety and a place of solace. Central Park, Katz’s Delicatessen, The Statue of Liberty, the brownstone where Moonstruck was filmed and many more well-known film locations are spotlighted in this in-depth study of how New York City is silently a character in hundreds of well-known films from the drawing board of Hitchcock to Andy Warhol’s factory productions.

And it has maps for the intrepid, seasoned traveler….

Lower Manhattan, Midtown Manhattan, Uptown Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn are revealed as some of the most recognizable places from America’s collective movie memory. Stylish watering holes like Tavern On The Green and The Russian Tea Room serve the fanciest liquid refreshments and the tastiest delicacies as well as being featured on the silver screen. The setting of Times Square, also included in the book, is the perfect New Year’s Eve haunt to watch annual numbers move forward with or without a magnum of champagne.

No matter where you hail from, even the most seasoned aficionados will find a filmiliar fact or two to fascinate.

These sailors made it fashionable!

Cinematic Cities: New York is a detailed account of a popular place that would be a welcome addition to to any film lover’s library. And there are plenty of smiles to go around…

Find The Big Apple On The Big Screen here.

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!

#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.