‘Try to say Robert Osborne without smiling’:Celebrating 20 years of Osborne, TCM

“I love my husband first, and then Robert Osborne second,” said Eva Marie Saint during a surprise guest appearance.

Friday afternoon during the second day of the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival turned into a sort of surprise party of TCM’s primetime host Robert Osborne.

Osborne sat before an audience, prepared to start a question and answer session called “Ask Robert.”

The questions began: What movies do you think should have been nominated for an Academy Award but weren’t? Will TCM ever film a special on Leslie Howard? How often are you in Atlanta?

Alex Trebek surprising Robert Osborne during the Ask Robert Event at The Montalban Theatre on Friday at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival In Hollywood, California. 4/11/14  PH: Mark Hill

Alex Trebek surprising Robert Osborne during the Ask Robert Event at The Montalban Theatre on Friday at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival In Hollywood, California. 4/11/14
PH: Mark Hill

After half a dozen questions, Osborne’s microphone supposedly malfunctioned. Then entered “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek with a microphone to remedy the issue.

“This isn’t your retirement party, Robert,” Trebek said. “We are here to celebrate 20 years of you and TCM.”

Following Trebek, celebrity guests and family members appeared in a “This is Your Life”-like fashion, sharing memories with a genuinely surprised Osborne.

“We’ve been keeping this a secret for three months!” said actress and Osborne’s close friend Diane Baker.

Eva Marie Saint, Diane Baker, Alec Bladwin, Bill Cosby (on video), Cher (on video), Robert Wagner, Jill St. John, Ben Mankwicz, Michael Feinstein and Osborne’s cousins and nieces –coming from as far as Connecticut– honored the film historian.

Jill St. John and Robert Wagner celebrating the 20th Anniversary of TCM with Robert Osborne during the Ask Robert Event at The Montalban Theatre on Friday at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival In Hollywood, California. 4/11/14  PH: Mark Hill

Jill St. John and Robert Wagner celebrating the 20th Anniversary of TCM with Robert Osborne during the Ask Robert Event at The Montalban Theatre on Friday at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival In Hollywood, California. 4/11/14
PH: Mark Hill

In the last 20 years, Osborne has recorded roughly 30,000 film introductions for Turner Classic Movies.

A blooper reel was shown of Osborne doing his introductions and family photos of Osborne when he was a child and at more recent family reunions was shown.

Michael Feinstein celebrating the 20th Anniversary of TCM with Robert Osborne during the Ask Robert Event at The Montalban Theatre on Friday at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival In Hollywood, California. 4/11/14  PH: Mark Hill

Michael Feinstein celebrating the 20th Anniversary of TCM with Robert Osborne during the Ask Robert Event at The Montalban Theatre on Friday at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival In Hollywood, California. 4/11/14
PH: Mark Hill

Pianist and singer Michael Feinstein performed “The More I See You” sung by Dick Haymes in “The Diamond Horseshoe” (1945), which Osborne said in an e-mail was his favorite song.

“This is totally unexpected,” Osborne said, obviously overcome with happiness. “My God, what a treat!”

Even when the celebration was for him, Osborne began to share career highlights and features about each guest.

“This isn’t about me, it’s about you!” Saint playfully scolded him.

During the celebration, Osborne said every time he does an introduction to a film, he is talking to three people: his elderly aunt who loves movies, a young friend who wanted to learn about movies and a friend who knew everything there is about movies.

“I wanted to say something that would interest all three of those people,” Osborne said.

At the end of the 90 minute celebration, sparkling cider was passed out in the audience, and everyone toasted to Osborne.

“The job is yours as long as you want it,” said TCM officials as they toasted to 20 years of Turner Classic Movies and Robert Osborne.

Celebrities including Jill St. John, Alec Baldwin, Alex Trebek and Robert Wagner, toast to 20 years of TCM and Robert Osborne. (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)

Celebrities including Jill St. John, Alec Baldwin, Alex Trebek and Robert Wagner, toast to 20 years of TCM and Robert Osborne. (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)

What did they have to say?

Eva Marie Saint surprising Robert Osborne during the Ask Robert Event at The Montalban Theatre on Friday at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival In Hollywood, California. 4/11/14  PH: Mark Hill

Eva Marie Saint surprising Robert Osborne during the Ask Robert Event at The Montalban Theatre on Friday at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival In Hollywood, California. 4/11/14
PH: Mark Hill

“Try to say Robert Osborne without smiling. I love Robert. I love my husband and then I love Robert Osborne . He is the best interviewer I have ever had. Of all my leading men (Cary Grant, Paul Newman), Robert is my favorite.”
-Eva Marie Saint, actress

Diane Baker with Robert Osborne during the Ask Robert Event at The Montalban Theatre on Friday at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival In Hollywood, California. 4/11/14  PH: Mark Hill

Diane Baker with Robert Osborne during the Ask Robert Event at The Montalban Theatre on Friday at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival In Hollywood, California. 4/11/14
PH: Mark Hill

“Every time I have made a transition in my life, from starting as an actress to going on to be a professor, you have been there to guide me. When I was making the move to teaching, I told you I wanted to give back to the young people. Isn’t that what you are doing on TCM?”
-Diane Baker, actress

“Robert Osborne is a handsome, honest human being with a great voice. I don’t believe he has ever had a false moment.”
Bill Cosby, in a video message, who was a supporter of TCM when it first started

The Osborne Family celebrating the 20th Anniversary of TCM with Robert Osborne during the Ask Robert Event at The Montalban Theatre on Friday at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival In Hollywood, California. 4/11/14  PH: Mark Hill

The Osborne Family celebrating the 20th Anniversary of TCM with Robert Osborne during the Ask Robert Event at The Montalban Theatre on Friday at the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival In Hollywood, California. 4/11/14
PH: Mark Hill

“What you see is what you get. Robert is really very funny. He still goes to his high school reunions. When he talks to you, he talks to you like you are the only person in the world he wants to talk to.”
-Osborne’s cousin

“This is the longest relationship with a man I’ve ever had.”
-Cher, in a video message

“Robert and I have many of the same tasks, but we work at different times. I don’t get to see Robert often and I don’t know if he knows how important he is to me.”
– Ben Mankiewicz, TCM host

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‘Movies are a necessity to our lives’ – TCM Film Festival round-up

“What are you most excited about,” several people asked when I arrived in Hollywood at the Turner Classic Film Festival last Wednesday.

I fumbled for words like Ralphie trying to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas as I thought of the best answer.

My mind turned to seeing 93-year-old actress Maureen O’Hara introduce the film “How Green is My Valley” or to watching rare films like Alan Ladd in “The Great Gatsby” on the big screen.

Robert Osborne interview Maureen O'Hara before "How Green is My Valley." (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)

Robert Osborne interview Maureen O’Hara before “How Green is My Valley.” (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)

Suddenly it hit me: I was happy to be around people who appreciated classic films as much as I do- if not more. People with whom you can discuss classic film topics such as character actor Donald Meek or Robert Walker and Jennifer Jones divorce.

This year’s festival was the second time I attended. I had the privilege to receive media credentials, covering the festival for my website Comet Over Hollywood and the Shelby Star newspaper.

The festival started with a question and answer portion with Turner Classic Movie’s primetime host Robert Osborne, host Ben Mankiewicz, and TCM programers Charles Tabesh and Genevieve McGillicuddy.

“Movies are a necessity to our lives,” Osborne said.

My second go at the festival was different than my first time. My first time at TCMFF, I devoured as many movies as possible. For example, last year, I watched 18 films, and this year I only saw roughly 12.

I think this year I had a richer adventure. I watched films but experienced unique events not found anywhere near me.

Where else can you see an actor like Jerry Lewis immortalized during a hand print ceremony outside of TCL (Graumann’s) Chinese Theater or wait in line for two hours to see a rare appearance made by Maureen O’Hara.

But my favorite event was “Ask Robert,” which started under the pretense of a question and answer portion for Robert Osborne.

After four questions from the audience, Osborne’s lavalier microphone supposedly stopped working. Jeopardy’s host Alex Trebek appeared to remedy the issue.

The event turned more into “This is Your Life” celebration for Osborne to celebrate 20 years of Turner Classic Movies. Celebrities such as Eva Marie Saint, Diane Baker, Alec Baldwin, Bill Cosby (on video), Cher (on video) Robert Wagner, Jill St. John, and pianist Michael Feinstein shared stories about Osborne.

The crowd and guests toasted to Robert Osborne and 20 years of TCM. (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)

The crowd and guests toasted to Robert Osborne and 20 years of TCM. (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)

What you see is what you get,” said Osborne’s cousin. “When he talks to you, he makes you feel like you are the only person in the world that he wants to talk to.”

I also had the privilege to hear musician Quincy Jones and actor Alan Arkin reflect on their careers, as well as former child actress Margaret O’Brien pay tribute to the late Mickey Rooney.

“He always had his ‘Mickey’ face,” O’Brien said.

Maureen O’Hara received a standing ovation and she weakly waved her hand to tell everyone to sit down.

“Don’t be fooled into thinking I do magic things,” said the 93-year-old Irish actress.

The Turner Classic Film Festival is four days filled with film watching and walking down the strangest place in America- Hollywood Boulevard. You may don’t eat much, you may sleep four hours a night and it’s wonderful.

Posing with Robert Osborne's star on the Walk of Fame in front of the Montalban Theater. (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)

Posing with Robert Osborne’s star on the Walk of Fame in front of the Montalban Theater. (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)

Watch Comet Over Hollywood during the next few days for more detailed posts on different festival events including Jerry Lewis’s hand print ceremony, Maureen O’Hara’s appearance and Margaret O’Brien’s tribute to Mickey Rooney.

Which movies did I watch?
*American Graffiti (1973)
*East of Eden (1955)
*Paper Moon (1973)
*The Italian Job (1968)
*Eraserhead (1977)
*How Green Was My Valley (1941)
*Her Sister’s Secret (1946)
*National Velvet (1944)
*Gone with the Wind (1939)
*The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968)
*The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Which special guests did I see? 
*Candy Clark- American Graffiti
*Paul Le Mat- American Graffiti
*Bo Hopkins- American Graffiti (who is also from Greenville, SC)
*Eva Marie Saint- Ask Robert
*Alex Trebek- Ask Robert
*Diane Baker- Ask Robert
*Alec Baldwin- Ask Robert
*Jill St. John- Ask Robert
*Robert Wagner- Ask Robert
*Michael Feinstein- Ask Robert
*Quincy Jones- Italian Job
*Maureen O’Hara- How Green is my Valley
*Here Sister’s Secret- Arianne Ulmer Cipes, daughter of Edgar Ulmer
*The Heart is a Lonely Hunter- Alan Arkin
*Jerry Lewis during his hand print ceremony
*Quentin Tarantino during his hand print ceremony

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page, follow on Twitter at@HollywoodComet or e-mail at cometoverhollywood@gmail.com

 

TCM Film Festival Day 1: Press Day

Robert Osborne had no idea he would touch so many lives through movies.

“People have said TCM has helped them get through divorce, unemployment or illness,” TCM’s primetime host said Friday. “I never thought I would be a nurse.”

Osborne, TCM host Ben Mankiewicz and TCM programers Charles Tabesh and Genevieve McGillicuddy opened the floor to questions during the film festival’s press day.

Robert Osborne at press day during #TCMFF

Robert Osborne at press day during #TCMFF

“Movies are a necessity to our lives,” Osborne said.

Osborne told about how he got his start in Hollywood with Lucille Ball and lived with character actress Jane Darwell when he first moved to California.

“When I asked Lucy who her favorite leading man was, she said she didn’t care about those. She was more interested in the character actors,” Osborne said. ”

Osborne was originally interested in acting, but it was Ball who encouraged him to write a book with all of his film knowledge. Nostalgia wasn’t big at the time, and she felt he should utilize it.

He also said Ball wasn’t funny in real life like we see on the “I Love Lucy Show” or in her films.

“Lucy was a great lady. But she wasn’t funny,” he said. “She didn’t think funny or do funny things.”

When he met Ball, she was going through her divorce with Desi Arnaz.

“She loved him, but it just wasn’t working,” he said. “Desi was really the genius behind I Love Lucy but never got the recognition. I guess that’s why he would step out with other women.”

When Osborne was starting out as an actor, he got to be friends with Diane Baker and Robert Wagner who were also starting out at the time.

Young contract players were encouraged to watch big stars film their movies. He was able to watch Orson Welles in “Compulsion,” Gary Cooper in “Ten North Frederick” and Marlon Brando in “The Young Lions.”

‘Festival means something to people’

“This festival means something to people in their hearts and souls,” Mankewicz said. “TCM got them through, and I take that incredibly seriously.”

No other channel has a loyalty like TCM, Mankewicz said.

“I don’t feel like fans are as connected to HBO or ESPN,” he said. “Our fans care about TCM and feel like they are a part of the network.”

The festival is a way for channel and fans to connect and give back, Mankewicz said.

“I don’t even think we make much money on the festival,” he said. “It does raise the profile for TCM but it’s more to connect with our fans.”

TCM’s audience is much younger than most people think. Sixty-six percent of TCM’s viewers are 18 to 49, said Mankewicz.

“I thought this would be more of a nostalgia thing, but it’s very young people,” Osborne said. “You may see some older married couples in their 60’s, but it’s mainly younger people.”

As viewers get older though, the TCM won’t start showing newer movies.

“We aren’t going to start showing movies from 2004,” Mankewicz said. “We are never going to stop showing the movies that we watching right now.”

Ben Mankewicz at Press Day

Ben Mankewicz at Press Day

Questions from the media:

Q for Robert: Who have you wanted to come to the festival?

A: We really wanted Olivia de Havilland to be here. She is 97 and sharp as anything but the trip from Paris is too much for her. She visited her niece in Malibu and it took her a year to recover. She really wanted to be here this year. We have a Private Screenings set up with her in November in Paris and we were there, but she got pneumonia and we had to cancel. We rescheduled and were going to do it in New York but she had another flair up with pneumonia.

Q for Robert: What are your favorite movies?

A: “A Place in the Sun,” “Razor’s Edge,” “Sunset Blvd.” and “This is Spinal Tap.”

Q for Robert: Where do you get your style?

A: “Its confession time: I have no style, it’s all picked out for me.

Q for Robert: Will there ever be a character actor as the Star of the Month? 

A: We have been trying to do that more character actors, but they really need to have one or two films where they are one of the main characters.

Q to programers: What star would you like to see at the festival?

A: Doris Day is at the top of our list.

**More to come from Friday’s adventures! Don’t forget to follow me at @HollywoodComet, @StarJPickens or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cometoverhollywood

 

 

The Comet goes to the TCM Film Festival

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Today, the Comet really will be over Hollywood.

Today I’m flying out from North Carolina to Los Angeles, CA for the fifth annual Turner Classic Movies Film Festival.

After attending the festival for my first time last year, I knew I wasn’t going to miss it when it rolled around the next spring.

The main difference this year is I am going to the film festival with press credentials.

I’ll be flexing my reporting muscles I use on a daily basis as a reporter at the Shelby Star in Shelby, NC and covering the different events and films I attend.

It will be a perfect mix of the two things I love: reporting and classic films. Folks at work even call me Torchy Blane.

Classic films have been a large part of my life so it’s a pleasure to share film experiences with others equally as passionate.

How can you follow me? 
Twitter: @HollywoodComet or @StarJPickens
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cometoverhollywood
Instagram: @HollywoodComet
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfaDOeIsKQhOJcPXUaHg98g
Or here! CometOverHollywood.com

Are you heading to the festival? Comment below and let us know what you are most excited about at this year’s Turner Classic Movies Film Festival.

Comet Over Hollywood owner Jessica Pickens with TCM host Robert Osborne at TCMFF 2013.

Comet Over Hollywood owner Jessica Pickens with TCM host Robert Osborne at TCMFF 2013.

Take a look at last year’s festival: https://cometoverhollywood.com/category/turner-classic-movie-film-festival-2/

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page for the latest updates or follow on Twitter at @HollywoodComet.

Turner Classic Movies Film Festival: the Disney World of classic movies

It’s like Disney World for classic film fans.

Rushing from place to place and waiting in lines for entertainment.

Robert Osborne introducing "Desert Song" (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)

Robert Osborne introducing “Desert Song” (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)

Turner Classics Movie’s Robert Osborne could be considered the “Walt Disney” of the whole event.

Yes for classic film fans, the Turner Classic Film Festival (TCMFF) may be considered the “happiest place on Earth,” where thousands of people spend four days doing nothing but watching classic films and enjoying each other’s company.

Since this was my first year attending TCMFF, I can’t compare it to past years but several have said it was the best year ever, and I would believe it. After three years of wanting to go to TCMFF, I was not disappointed. I had a ball.
There were several times- riding on the plane, sitting in a movie theater, walking down Hollywood Blvd.- that I thought “Am I really here?”

I visited Hollywood once before in 2006 on a family vacation and was left rather dismayed by the disregard of history and confused by the odd people dressed like Marilyn Monroe and Shrek outside of Graumann’s Chinese Theater (now TCL Chinese).

But even those people desperate for attention in their costumes and passing out their CDs didn’t cheapen TCMFF.

Typical me. Photo bombing a TCM picture outside the Egyptian (there I am on the left in the green)

Typical me. Photo bombing a TCM picture outside the Egyptian (there I am on the left in the green)

In fact I felt like I excitedly drifted along on a cloud of old Hollywood splendor; only thinking about which movie I would watch next.

And after years of being a classic film fan I was finally with people who understood what I was talking about. I could toss around names like Van Johnson, Edward Everett Horton or mention the slang “pre-code” and every one knew exactly what I meant.

It’s an uncanny feeling to be sitting in an audience waiting to watch “Libeled Lady” and have the audience applaud when stars Jean Harlow and William Powell enter on screen.

I haven’t seen many classic films on the big screen and it’s a special experience. Not only did I realize how much I liked some films, but I noticed more. Facial expressions and shifting of eyes that you may miss on the small screen.

Though I blogged each night on my phone, I wanted to do one last review of the festival.

Films viewed during the festival:

France Nuyen, Ben Mankiewiczi and Mitzi Gaynor poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel

France Nuyen, Ben Mankiewicz and Mitzi Gaynor poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)

Thursday, April 25:
-South Pacific (1958)
Starring Mitzi Gaynor, Rossano Brazzi, John Kerr, Juanita Hall and France Nuyen
With guests Mitzi Gaynor and France Nuyen
The film was shown poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel and hula dancers performed before the film.

For more on Thursday: https://cometoverhollywood.com/2013/04/26/turner-classic-film-festival-mitzi-gaynor-and-south-pacific/

Friday, April 26:
-Libeled Lady (1936)
Starring Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy
“Screwball comedy is a lost art,” said TCM’s Scott McGee before the film.
The whole audience also cheered as McGee said he was a huge fan of William Powell’s.

Kate MacMurray introducing "Suddenly It's Spring"

Kate MacMurray introducing “Suddenly It’s Spring” (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)

-Suddenly, It’s Spring (1947)*
Starring Paulette Goddard, Fred MacMurray, MacDonald Carey. Introduced by MacMurray’s daughter Kate.
MacMurray’s daughter shared wonderful stories about her father including: MacMurray, a saxophonist and also once a singer for a jazz band, played the saxophone for the My Three Sons TV show theme song.
-Notorious (1946) starring Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. Introduced by Rose McGowan
It (1927) starring Clara Bow
This was my first silent film with a live orchestra accompaniment.
“Clara was a great natural talent of movies,” said Bow biographer David Stenn.
-Hondo (1954) starring John Wayne and Geraldine Page Introduced by Leonard Maltin.
This was my FIRST EVER 3D film.
For more on Friday: https://cometoverhollywood.com/2013/04/27/turner-classic-film-festival-macmurray-harlow-hitchcock-bow-and-wayne/

Saturday, April 27:
-Bugs Bunny Cartoons for his 75th birthday
Very clever of TCM to start a Saturday with cartoons. Leonard Maltin introduced the cartoons saying how Warner Brother’s cartoons were the first to have the characters talk at the screen.

(Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)


-Alfred Hitchcock’s A Lady Vanishes (1936) Introduced by 98-year-old actor Norman Lloyd.
Lloyd gave up a tennis game to speak before the film and said A Lady Vanishes and 39 Steps were the last two English films Hitchcock made and were both perfection.
“I tell film students, don’t go to film school. Just watch 39 Steps,” Lloyd said.

-Desert Song (1943)* starring Dennis Morgan, Irene Manning, Bruce Cabot. Introduced by Robert Osborne
A film that had not been shown over 50 years due to copyright, this was my 500th musical that I’ve seen.
It seems fitting that my 500th musical would end with me meeting Robert Osborne afterwards.

Robert Osborne and Ann Blyth introducing Mildred Pierce (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)

Robert Osborne and Ann Blyth introducing Mildred Pierce (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica Pickens)

-Mildred Pierce (1945) starring Joan Crawford, Ann Blyth, Zachary Scott, Jack Carson, Eve Arden
Introduced by Robert Osborne and Ann Blyth
“I have nothing but wonderful memories of Joan,” Blyth said.
-Island of Lost Souls (1932) starring Charles Laughton, Lelia Hyams, Richard Arlen
I love that TCM also ended nights with a horror film at midnight.
For more on Saturday: https://cometoverhollywood.com/2013/04/28/i-have-nothing-but-wonderful-memories-of-joan-mildred-pierce-and-ann-blyth/

Sunday, April 28
-Come September (1961) starring Rock Hudson, Gina Lollabrigida, Bobby Daren, Sandra Dee
Introduced by Vanity Fair correspondent Matt Tyrnauer
-I Am Suzanne (1933)* starring Lilian Harvey and Gene Raymond. Introduced by MoMa archivist Katie Trainor
Though this film was very odd (the plot revolved around marionette puppets), it was worth seeing. Trainor said the film had not been seen in 80 years. This was also my 501st musical
-It Happened One Night (1934) starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.
The General (1926) and One Week (1920) starring Buster Keaton. Introduced by Robert Osborne
A special screening because it was the second to last film to be shown in Graumann’s before being remodeled to IMAX. The crowd booed when Osborne announced this.
For more on Sunday: https://cometoverhollywood.com/2013/04/29/and-so-it-ends-review-of-the-last-day-of-the-tcm-film-festival/

Along with the films it was a pleasure to meet so many fellow bloggers and Twitter pals in person. Especially since I have talked to many of you for three years. There were screams of excitement and embracing as we kindred classic film souls finally met in person.

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With knees shaking, I met my favorite person in the whole world, Robert Osborne

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With another favorite, Ben Mankiewicz

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Sad to be returning home, I ran into TCM’s Scott McGee who was on my flight home!

My favorite film of the festival: “Suddenly, It’s Spring” (1947). I had never seen it and it was wonderful. MacMurray’s daughter also gave one of my favorite talks during the festival

My favorite day of the Festival was Friday since it held so many firsts for me.
Now, as I sit on my couch back in North Carolina, I can only count the days until next year.

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page for the latest updates or follow on Twitter at @HollywoodComet.

And so it ends: Review of the last day of the TCM Film Festival

As I sit waiting for my flight to Atlanta, GA from Los Angeles, CA, here is a recap of the last day (Sunday, April 28) of the TCM Film Festival. Tomorrow I’ll write a review of the overall experience.

Come September (1961) starring Rock Hudson, Sandra Dee, Bobby Darin and Gina Lollobrigida. I started the last day of the festival with the frothy, fun romantic comedy set in Italy. Though other great films such as Gilda, Badlands and Yankee Doodle Dandy were also showing, I was in the mood for the familiar and colorful film after a late night. According Vanity Fair correspondent Matt Tyrnauer this wealthy “white telephone” aristocrat film was filmed during a time that Italian films had more socialist themes so this film was slightly behind its time.

I Am Suzanne (1933) starring Lilian Harvey and Gene Raymond.
This is one of those movies that I sat there through the majority of the movie thinking, “What the heck?”
It was an odd film but worth seeing.
I considered going to see Ann Blyth talk before Kismet (1955). However, though I love Blyth, I don’t like Kismet so I chose a film I had never seen before.
“I Am Suzanne” was introduced by Museum of Modern Art film archivist Katie Trainor, she said the film had not been seen in 80 years.
The oddness of the film is due to the fact that the plot revolves around puppets. Marionette puppets.
Raymond is a puppeteer and Harvey is a (very bad) dancer. Raymond is so entranced by Harvey that he wants to model a puppet of her. Harvey’s issue is that though Raymond loves her, she feels he loves the puppet version more than her. The film ends with a 10 minute puppet and dance performance. I plan on doing a full post on this film so stay tuned.

It Happened One Night (1934) starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. I considered going to see a more serious movie during this film block but decided “Hey, it’s the last day. I’m going to have fun.” It’s terrific watching a 1930s comedy and hearing an audience erupt in laughter. You notice the subtle comedic glances and moments more on the big screen.

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The General (1926)- This was the big finale of the night shown in Graumann’s Chinese (or now called TCL Chinese). The crowded screening started with the 1920 Keaton short “One Week” and both films were accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra. I had seen both the General and One Week before, but it’s an amazing experience to watch it on the big screen with live music.
But even more special, it’s the second to last film shown in Graumann’s before the historic theater will be remodeled to IMAX. The crowd boo-ed as Robert Osborne said that but told everyone to take in the architecture before it’s gone. So above is a photo of the ceiling of the theater

Overall, it was a wonderful trip and I hope to return next year. I hope you have enjoyed my updates as well.

“I have nothing but wonderful memories of Joan”-Mildred Pierce and Ann Blyth

A packed house at the Egyptian Theater rose to their feet, cheering like Freddie Mercury was entering the building.
But the applause was for a petite, doll-like and lovely actress: Ann Blyth.
Blyth introduced Mildred Pierce (1945), a film that she plays Joan Crawford’s spoiled daughter, Veda.
Robert Osborne interviewed her, pointing out that it was lucky Blyth wasn’t typecasted as bad girls after this film. In fact, her roles were usually sweet after this.
He also pointed out that she tried to dispel negative Joan Crawford rumors.
“I have nothing but wonderful memories of Joan,” Blyth said.
Blyth also told about attractive men she worked with such as Tyrone Power who had beautiful brown eyes.
When she went on to MGM to be in musicals she said “It was a heavenly experience and I had the opportunity to sing beautiful music.”
She quit acting because she didn’t like the direction films were going in but later found that was a mistake because she had been considered for “The Three Faces of Eve.”
She also said she still sees friends such as Jane Powell, Jane Withers and Joan Leslie at least three times a year.
The best part of Mildred Pierce was when the whole audience cheered when Joan Crawford slapped Ann Blyth.

Saturday morning I saw:
-Bugs Bunny Cartoons for his 75th birthday: Leonard Maltin introduced the cartoons saying how Warner Brothers cartoons were the first to have the characters talk at the screen. I’ll admit I had a bit of a moment while watching, thinking about my childhood. Classical music and old actors were also introduced to me by classic cartoons.

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-A Lady Vanishes (1938): Introduced by Leonard Maltin and 98 year old Saboteur actor, Norman Lloyd. He gave up a tennis game to speak. He said A Lady Vanishes and 39 Steps were the last two English films Hitchcock made and were both perfection.
“I tell film students, don’t go to film school. Just watch 39 Steps,” said Lloyd.

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Desert Song (1943) starring Dennis Morgan. Robert Osborne introduced the film so I sat in the front like a nerd so I could get a close picture. Osborne said this movie hadn’t been seen in 50 years because of copyright problems. As a musical fan and Dennis Morgan lover, I have always wanted to see this movie. I have also seen the 1953 remake with Kathryn Grayson and Gordon MacRea so I was comparing the two as I watched it. The 9143 version was colorful and beautiful, but I enjoyed the leading lady and plot better in the 1953 version. Osborne stayed and watched the film as well because he said this was the film he was most looking forward to. After the film I waited outside and got a photo with him.

-Island of Lost Souls (1932) starring Lelia Hyams, Richard Arlen and Charles Laughton. I went to the midnight showing of this film. I’d seen it before last summer but it was awesome to watch this freaky film so late at night. I think several of the viewers fell asleep. Running around and watching movies all day is very tiring!

Apologies in advanced for any typos. I’m using WordPress on my phone which is slightly cumbersome.

Now its the last day and I’m waiting to go in to Come September. Follow me @HollywoodComet or @StarJPickens.

Turner Classic Film Festival: MacMurray, Harlow, Hitchcock, Bow and Wayne

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Friday (April 26) is the first full day of the Turner Classic Film Festival and it has been amazing.
Above is a photo of Kate MacMurray, daughter of Fred MacMurray and June Haver introducing “Suddenly It’s Spring” (1947).
The next photo is the ceiling of the Egyptian Theater where I saw “Notorious” (1946) and “It” (1927).
Today’s films that I saw:
-Libeled Lady (1936) starring Jean Harlow, William Powell, Spencer Tracy and Myrna Loy. I’ve seen it several times and can say its a favorite comedy of mine.
TCM’s Scott McGee introduced the film and said, “Screwball comedy is a lost art” which I would agree with.
Libeled Lady was advertised the first “all-star cast” since Dinner at Eight, McGee said.
It’s really amazing to sit in a theater where people applaud when Harlow comes on screen and die with laughter during Powell’s trout fishing scene.
-Suddenly It’s Spring (1947) starring Paulette Goddard and Fred MacMurray.
I LOVED this one. A really fun comedy about a couple who decides to get a divorce in 1941 but both serve during WW2. When they return, Goddard, who’s career as a WAC is giving marriage advice, isn’t so sure about the divorce but MacMurray already has a new bride picked out.
MacMurray’s daughter Kate spoke before the movie and told wonderful stories such as:
-John Wayne set up her parents June Haver and Fred MacMurray at a costume party. MacMurray’s previous wife had passed away as did Haver’s boyfriend.
“Mother was dressed as a saloon girl, maybe that’s what did it,” MacMurray said.
-MacMurray, a saxophonist and also once a singer for a jazz band, played the saxophone for the My Three Sons TV show theme song.
-After making The Apartment-where he plays a cad-the MacMurray family was at DisneyLand. A woman approached him and hit him with her purse because she had taken her family to see the movie. “That wasn’t a Disney movie,” she told him. MacMurray felt uncomfortable playing his roles in Billy Wilder films “The Apartment” and “Double Indemnity” since they weren’t his customary nice guy, comedic roles.
-Carole Lombard got him a raise at Paramount
-Haver met MacMurray before the costume party while making a film. Haver said he was so sweet and would bring his lunch, usually a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

-Notorious (1946) starring Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. Rose McGowan spoke before the film and said it was a favorite of her’s. Hitchcock’s creative shots looked excellent on the big screen, but I must confess I dozed off. Not because I was bored but the 3 hour time change and lack of food (there’s literally no time to eat) made me tired.

-It (1927) starring Clara Bow. This was the first time I had seen a silent film with a live orchestra accompanying and it was AMAZING. Biographer David Stenn who wrote “Clara Bow: Running Wild” spoke before the film and called her a “great natural talent of movies.”
It is a really fun silent film, which coined Bow as the “It” girl. But as a dachshund owner, my favorite line is “I feel so low I could walk underneath a dachshund on stilts.”

-Hondo (1954): starring John Wayne and Geraldine Page. This was the first 3D movie I’ve EVER seen. It was amazing. I’ve always said She Wore a Yellow Ribbon was my favorite Wayne film but seeing Hondo for a second time may have changed my mind. The film is a perfect example of Wayne’s ruggedness and western appeal as he fights off the Apaches. In short, John Wayne is my ideal man.

That’s all for tonight! I opted to skip out on the midnight showing of Plan 9 from Outer Space to gear up for tomorrow’s films.
For updates during the day: check me out on Twitter @HollywoodComet or @StarJPickens. If you don’t have a twitter account, you should still be able to find me even by googling my name and Twitter.
Apologies in advanced for any typos. I’m using WordPress on my phone which is slightly cumbersome.

Turner Classic Film Festival: Mitzi Gaynor and South Pacific

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Last night (Thursday, April 25) I saw my first film at the Turner Classic Film Festival: South Pacific.
The film was shown poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel and introduced by Ben Mankiewicz with France Nuyen and Mitzi Gaynor as special guests.
Nuyen told about how she got her role in the film and was a French model. She went on set with high fashion makeup and was told to wash it off for the film. She cried because she thought she would be ugly.
Gaynor was hilarious. Her feistiness and off color stories could be compared to a Debbie Reynolds interview.
Gaynor got the role of Nellie Forbush in South Pacific over actresses such as Susan Hayward, Elizabeth Taylor, June Allyson, Doris Day and several others.
While Mankiewicz was interviewing Gaynor, she demanded he bring out his new baby for everyone to see. By the end, she had taken over the interview.
Hilariously Gaynor told of how she complimented her costar Rossano Brazzi on his good looks and Brazzi said, “I know.”
During the screening of South Pacific, people clapped after each song.
The ambiance of the film by the pool was beautiful.
This is just a brief post to keep y’all updated during TCMFF.

This morning I saw Jean Harlow in Libeled Lady (1936) and am now waiting to see Suddenly It’s Spring (1947) with Fred MacMurray and Paulette Goddard introduced by MacMurray’s daughter, Kate MacMurray.

More about Friday’s events in the next post.

The Comet goes to Hollywood

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In roughly a week, I will be leaving my familiar North Carolina, small town surroundings for a solo adventure.
I’ll be attending my first Turner Classic Film Festival (TCMFF) in Los Angeles, CA, which will involve flying alone for the first time.
Attending this festival has been something I’ve wanted to do since the festival started. But in 2010 and 2011, I was still in college and the event hit around exams.
In 2012, I was working at my first reporter job out of college-a three day a week newspaper in a small town. I was making an equally small sum of money, prohibiting me from saving enough to ever think of going to the festival.
At this same time last year I was going through a difficult personal time but not being at the festival hurt more.
As I cried real tears, watching photos of fans with Robert Osborne being posted, I vowed I would be in California in 2013. And now I’m going.
But that may be where the road to TCMFF begins but not my classic film passion.
As a small child, I thought every kid watched “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy” with their parents.
In middle school, I only listened to bands like the Monkees and Herman’s Hermits. I couldn’t understand why only one of my classmates had seen “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
In high school, I accepted I was different, if not weird. As I attempted to learn steps to the mambo in “West Side Story,” or chose to stay home and watch “The Lost Weekend” or “A Date with Judy” than go party with friends, I realized I was a classic film fan.
My teenage classmates considered it uncool-not that I cared-but once I got to college, it was embraced. I would hesitantly tell people, “I love old movies” and they would exclaim how cool it was.
By sophomore year of college, I started Comet Over Hollywood and was amazed to find how many other fans there were out there who were like me. They also loved the shots during the canteen dance in “Since You; Went Away” or appreciated the child acting of Virginia Weidler-most importantly they knew what I was talking about.
They were like me, a classic movie fan.
Now, working at a daily newspaper, I have the opportunity to spread even more film love with a weekly column. Since, I’ve receieved e-mails from readers telling me how they met spouses due to film love or thank me for helping them relive memories of seeing “A Summer Place.”
And next week from April 25 to April 29, I can connect with even more fans in person.
As for the movies I’m going to see? I honestly I haven’t made a rough game plan of what movies I’ll be attending-not only does newspaper reporting keep me busy, but I hope for my trip to be rather spontaneous.
However, I do know I’m interested in the screenings of “Libeled Lady,” “South Pacific” (Mitzi Gaynor is a favorite of mine), “It” and either of the Ann Blyth films (she’s also a favorite of mine)- but honestly those are the only films I remember seeing after a first glance at the film schedule. I know there are more.
And of course, I hope to see my hero and favorite person on the planet-Robert Osborne-even if it’s from 100 feet away.
So film fans and dear readers, I look forward to seeing you soon if you are attending. And if you are, please say hello.
I’ll be the blond who will still be saying y’all, even in Hollywood.
Love,
Jessica P.
The Hollywood Comet
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