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!

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On The Set Of Turner Classic Movies With Ben Mankiewicz…

I was lucky enough to spend December 6th at the Turner Studios in Atlanta watching Ben Mankiewicz film some of his segments for our favorite cable channel, Turner Classic Movies, which will be twenty years old in 2014, and it is still commercial free.

Where else can classic film fans view their favorite films ad-free and with in-depth commentary by Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz?

As I was beginning research for an upcoming project, I wanted to consult with an industry professional, a historian, and a documentarian…

Senior Researcher Alexa Foreman hard at work…

My good friend, Alexa Foreman, Senior Researcher at TCM, took me on a short tour of the offices of TCM personnel concerned with the responsibilities of the day-to-day operations, and I met the lovely Holly Harper, a sweet lady who just happens to be Programming Director for TCM Canada. Harper also happily admits to reading the “Sue Sue” TCM Film Festival columns on the TCM Message Boards from time to time, some of which are archived on this blog, with more scheduled for updating by 2014. (The “Sue Sue” TCM Festival columns have a combined readership of over 300,000 views on three different blogs, one of which is The Silver Screen Oasis, host of a popular Guest Author Series highlighting authors concerned with classic film subjects.) Harper reads the TCM Message Boards every day and appreciates TCM viewers and their comments, and is enthusiastic about her dedication to TCM. I also was able to say hello to Tim Reilly, the director of my Fan Perspective Video filmed in 2010 on the roof of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, and watch the elusive but adorable Sean Cameron as he directed Ben Mankiewicz’s segments, as well meeting many other hard-working and dedicated staffers.
I was most curious about how each introduction and final comments were written, reviewed, and filmed, and it is obvious that much detail and detective work accompanies scripts prepared for Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz, and Mr. Osborne still reviews all the scripts.


Ms. Foreman, as “The Keeper of the Flame” of accuracy and detail, reviews content, checks facts, and monitors a shoot while it is being filmed from her office outside of the studio. Foreman also reviews the video feed from the studio to modify any changes Ben Mankiewicz or Robert Osborne might make to a segment.

In order to research each script, Foreman has access to a huge library of film-related books, compilations, filmographies, encyclopedias, and biographies of actors, actresses, directors, technicians, photographers, and screenwriters, a roomful of digital files and interviews, and various other electronic sources in order to develop scripts for Osborne and Mankiewicz.


One of the many hallways leading to the studio where Ben Mankiewicz films his segments contains highlights of Turner Studios through the years…


When I arrived on the set before Ben had entered, I was immediately offered a sumptuous breakfast prepared by a local Atlanta caterer who had steam tables filled with hot biscuits, sausage, bacon, cheese grits, and eggs. Also prepared for the staff on set included coffee, tea, and sodas, fresh fruit, granola bars, and other yummy snacks. Since the action on the set is fast-paced and allows for a short lunch break and a ten-minute turnaround between sequences, TCM ensures all the breakfast and lunch needs of crew members to keep everyone happy!

Pat Segers, in charge of makeup and hairstyling on the set, is another sweet lady who has been with TCM since the beginning of operations, and has been privy to many of Robert Osborne’s Private Screenings as well as many of Osborne’s own wraparounds as she was in charge of his makeup and professional appearance for so many years.
Segers shared that she met Betty Hutton, Robert Mitchum, Ann Miller, Jane Russell, and many other Private Screenings subjects, and marveled at how Osborne has been able to elicit such candid comments from many of Hollywood’s stars of classic films. Segers claimed Betty Hutton was quite nervous on the set, but Osborne’s manner helped to calm her for the cameras, and Hutton clutched her rosary for much of the filming. Ann Miller was very “polished” both in her appearance and her manner, and Robert Mitchum was laughing and joking with the crew, but was very ill at the time of his taping. Segers has her own personal styling business, and reveals that she “airbrushes” on all the foundation before her subjects are ready for their moment on the screen
When Ben arrived on the set, he smiled, and we started chatting about the last festival. He was happy to see I was there to chronicle his day in front of the camera.

Ben being prepped by a staffer for the next segment…

The first few moments before filming a segment, Ben reviews the scripts, and plans how he will pace his descriptions of each movie, sometimes repeating a name or phrase that he might be unsure of as he laughs and jokes with crew members in between preparation time and shooting the script. Ben also told me that he checks all his “scripts in the wraparounds” and receives copies several days prior to the shoot, editing and/or reviewing “every single one of them,” and often adding some of his personalized comments. On the day of filming, he reads through them again in order to make additional changes if necessary. With such detailed preproduction for the Mankiewicz and Osborne programs, Turner Classic Movies continues to be a cable channel whose personnel are all focused on accuracy and professionalism.

Ben wanted me to share our photo with everyone…

Ben also wanted me to share photos of some of his favorite friends…


The Atlanta set is decorated with a memento of Ben’s favorite dog, Rookie. Rookie’s leash and other pet related items kept  Ben wistful talking about Rookie, and he was deeply impressed to know that his fans cared so much about his beloved furry friend. Since there had been such concern during the last festival about the death of Rookie, he wanted everyone to see his current pals–Petey, Lewey, and Bob, and he said that Bob is actually a girl!

More in Part 2 …

Many thanks to Ben Mankiewicz, Alexa Foreman, Sean Cameron, and the crew of Turner Classic Movies for a fabulous day in Atlanta!

Pat Segers has her own make-up and styling business and can be contacted at pat@patsegers.com.

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