Remembering Robert Osborne, a Friend to all Classic Film Fans

It was Thursday, April 25, 2013, and I had just flown into Los Angeles from North Carolina for my first Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival.

My first glimpse of Robert Osborne in person in 2013 (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica P)

I was excited, tired and scared. It was my first solo plane trip, and I had unwisely flown into the festival the day it started, rather than the day before. I was momentarily homeless until my friend, Lindsay — who I was staying with — got out of class at UCLA. I stashed my suitcase in the hotel room of another friend, Jill, and went with her to the Roosevelt Hotel to get my film festival pass and for a press announcement.

I’m sitting at a small table, nervously saying hello to friends who I knew only from the internet before the film festival. And then film historian and Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne walks out on stage. Everyone else around me is calm and collected but I’m about to burst. I didn’t know if I should cry, laugh or faint. I had only been in Los Angeles for two hours and there was my hero standing 15 feet away from me!

Robert Osborne introducing “Desert Song” in 2013 (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica P)

That Saturday during the festival, I was first in line for a rare screening of The Desert Song (1943), a Dennis Morgan and Irene Manning musical that isn’t often seen because of copyright issues. A volunteer confided that she heard Robert would be introducing the film. I excitedly sat in the front row so I could get a good picture.

Robert discussed the film and said that he had never seen The Desert Song and would be joining the audience to watch. While the Technicolor Warner Bros. film danced on the screen, I could barely focus; knowing Robert was somewhere behind me in the crowd.

After the film ended, I waited outside to see if I could get a picture and fulfil my dream of meeting Mr. Osborne. Another fan held Robert in conversation and it looked like I may not get my chance. When the fan left, I meekly approached him and asked for a photo.

“Yes, but we will have hurry because I have to meet Ann Blyth before Mildred Pierce,” he said.

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Comet Walking Around Hollywood: Turner Classic Film Festival 2015

tcmff2Comet Over Hollywood is covering the Turner Classic Film Festival for my third year this week. The festival runs from Thursday, March 26, through Sunday, March 30.

I arrived in Los Angeles, CA, by way of North Carolina on Tuesday for the sixth annual Turner Classic Movies Film Festival.

Once again, I will be covering various events, film screenings and interviews throughout the festival.

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

What am I most excited about this year?
-New-to-me Lizabeth Scott film “Too Late for Tears” (1949)
-New-to-me Robert Cummings film “Reign of Terror” (1949) with actor Norman Lloyd in attendance.
-“Young Mr. Lincoln” (1939) on 35mm with son of Henry Fonda, actor Peter Fonda discussing the film
-New-to-me “Don’t Bet on Women” (1931), starring Jeannette MacDonald in her only non-singing role.
-James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969) with George Lazenby in attendance.
-New-to-me hilariously terrible looking “Boom” (1968) starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
-New-to-me rare Walt Disney film “So Dear to My Heart” (1948)
-“The Loved One” (1965) on the big screen with Robert Morse in attendance.

How can you follow me? 
Twitter: @HollywoodComet
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cometoverhollywood
Instagram: @HollywoodComet
Or here! CometOverHollywood.com

Though Robert Osborne can not attend the festival this year, he will be in our hearts and thoughts. #GetWellBob I'm pictured here with Mr. Osborne in 2013.

Though Robert Osborne can not attend the festival this year, he will be in our hearts and thoughts. #GetWellBob
I’m pictured here with Mr. Osborne in 2013.

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.

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

 

‘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

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.

“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.

The day we’ve all been waiting for: Robert Osborne’s return

This is for the  Welcome Back, Bob! Blogathon celebrating Robert’s return to Turner Classic Movies on Dec. 1. Hosted by Carley (@MissCarley) from The Kitty Packard Pictorial and Will McKinley (@willmckinley).

Robert Osborne returns to TCM Dec.1

Silence always sweeps over my household whenever the prime time introduction begins on Turner Classic Movies. My family likes Robert Osborne, but they also know they might get in trouble if they talk during his words of wisdom.

Even non-classic movie fan friends know about my love for Robert. My senior year of college, I walked into Winthrop’s student newspaper office on my birthday. The desktop background of my computer had been changed to a photo of Robert Osborne saying Happy Birthday to me.

Robert Osborne birthday desk top background, thanks to my friend Devang Joshi

One of my favorite Robert Osborne moments was when he was interviewed by one of TCM’s programmers during Oscar month 2009. He told about how he went to journalism school, went to Hollywood, became friends with Lucille Ball and how that catapulted his career of film history. Ball told him to combine his journalism skills and film knowledge and write a book.  This was inspiring to me as a sophomore journalism student who also loves film.  A distant and most likely unattainable dream is to follow in his footsteps and do the same thing.

Though I haven’t had the good fortune to meet Mr. Osborne like so many other fans, his introductions are so personal, informative and sweet that you feel like you are his best friend. It’s like he’s sharing his knowledge with you and only you.  On New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 2009, he even wore a tuxedo and toasted a glass of champagne to the camera.

It was pretty Earth-shattering for me, as well as for all other Turner Classic Movie fans, when he announced his extended vacation. I was very upset, but honestly not very surprised. He looked tired and not quite himself. Mr. Osborne certainly deserved a rest-particularly after reading today that he hadn’t had a vacation in 17 years!

This is the closest I've ever gotten to Mr. Osborne

Jane Powell is one of my favorite actresses and I enjoyed hearing from Leonard Maltin, but none of the guest hosts came close to the personal panache Robert offers. Fortunately, I have so many movies recorded off of TCM-some dating to 2009-that I was still able to get my Robert Osborne fix during his absence.

One of my life goals is to meet Mr. Osborne but for now I’m happy enough with his return. Unfortunately, on a reporter’s salary and living on my own for the first time, I can’t afford cable and won’t be able to watch his first prime time introductions after five months on Thursday, Dec. 1, but my mother promised to record it for me.

Welcome back, Robert Osborne and thank you for all you have taught us film fans.

With much love and admiration,

Jessica Noelle Pickens

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page .

A great man was born today

Happy birthday Robert Osborne! I'm not sure why we aren't best friends yet

I am not one to do a lot of birthday tribute blogs, but today is  someone’s birthday who is very close to my heart. May 3 is the day of the great Robert Osborne’s birth. Today he is turning 79.

Robert Osborne is a very special person in our household. My family knows that no one should talk as he speaks words of movie wisdom. They also know if he ever came to speak anywhere in the southeast I would be the first in line for a ticket. (I was going to go see him when he was supposed to come to Atlanta in April for a film festival, but it was canceled for lack of interest.)

There are lots of actors that I love and would have loved to meet: Van Johnson, June Allyson and would still like to meet Esther Williams and Doris Day, but they don’t seem as accessible as Robert Osborne.  Robert seems like he is a regular, friendly guy that you could go out to lunch with and just chew the fat.

I’d like to share with you this video of a very young Robert Osborne on the “Beverly Hillbillies” when he was trying out his acting skills. Wasn’t he handsome?

One of my dreams is to meet Robert Osborne.  I’m not sure who will replace Robert whenever he leaves Turner Classic Movies, but they will have a hard time filling his shoes. He IS Turner Classic Movies.

Happy birthday to the man that makes Turner Classic Movies and has helped classic film nostalgia grow in importance.

Me and Robert...the bobble head. I got this for my birthday this year

**Stay tuned this summer for a more in-depth Robert Osborne post**

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Evolution of a classic film fanatic

It started with a girl named Maria and a boy named Tony who thought something was coming. That’s what I usually tell people when they ask how I became a classic movie fan: it happened on a fateful March evening in 2003 when I saw “West Side Story” (1961). I became obsessed, end of story.

But my “West Side Story” obsession (which is a whole other blog post) isn’t even close to where my classic film education began. Let’s travel back in time to 1988, the year I was born. Or maybe 1991, I would have been a bit more coherent to films at age three.

My parents introduced my two older sisters and me to classic film at an early age. Some of these movies were Disney movies like “Lady and the Tramp” or “Swiss Family Robinson” or family friendly movies like “White Christmas” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

Tom Drake and Judy Garland in “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944)

I  distinctly remember watching “Meet Me in St Louis” when I was five or six and thinking that Judy Garland looked pretty or laughing at Julie Newmar’s name “Dorcas” in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”

Basically classics have always been in my life, but as a child I never realized that they were old and thought all of these wonderful movies were brand new.

My real interest in movies started when I was in third grade and I saw the cartoon version of “Anastasia” on a rainy November day in 1997. No this isn’t a classic movie, but it started a long line of movie obsessions to come.  I mean, I even thought I was somehow the lost princess Anastasia Romanov. I was hooked.

Fast-forward to middle school. I became interested in shows on TVLand, The Monkees and 1960s pop culture. I was interested in anything old, and naturally gravitated towards movies, which is probably where it all began.

But the real gateway drug to the classic film addiction was “West Side Story” (1961). On an evening in March 2003, my dad said, “You like musicals and old movies; you should see ‘West Side Story.’” He later said he created a monster and wasn’t joking at all.

Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood in “West Side Story” (1961), the film I was obssessed with for two years.

From “West Side Story,” I snowballed into a musical love and I went out of my way to tape them off the television. I started a new musical list that is  still growing at 390 titles.

I then found actors I liked, like Doris Day and Jane Powell, and wanted to see their movies and the interest just grew and grew and grew. Now, I’m not obsessed with one particular actor or movie, it’s more that I’m crazy about the whole classic film shebang.

As a rule I only watch movies from the beginning of film to the mid-1960s. Pre-code movies are great because their vulgarity is done in a tongue-and-check way that sometimes can go by unnoticed if you aren’t paying attention. Once you get into the 1960s and beyond, the plots run thin in an attempt to be artistic, nudity isn’t rare and morals go out the window. Also actors from the Golden Era were fading away and the studio system was crumbling.

I guess if I had to make an analogue with how it all started, “West Side Story” would have been that first beer that led me into old movie alcoholism. It didn’t matter what I watched as long as it fulfilled my movie viewing needs. I think my viewing is a bit more mature than that now. Sure I still watch a few clunkers, or watch a stinker movie for the sake of fulfilling a classic actor list (like “Night of the Demon” for Dana Andrews) but it is just all part of the experience.

What kind of movie fan am I now?

•I make monthly lists from Now Playing to tape; usually 30 to 40 movies a month. We use A LOT of VHS tapes.

•I only buy books, paper dolls, posters or anything of that nature that is movie related. I often search Ebay for classic film memorabilia, and as much as I would enjoy Lana Turner’s evening bag from “Imitation of Life”, as a 21-year-old college student, that really isn’t in my budget.

•I don’t have any real obsession now. I have my favorite movies, actors and actresses but no one that I hyperventilate over when I think about them. I guess the only movie that would come close to that is “Since You Went Away” or the actor Van Johnson.

•I want to meet Robert Osborne one day. He is my hero and I think we would

Robert Osborne: My hero

be best friends. Robert, if you just happen to be reading this, let’s meet in Atlanta and have lunch, okay? I’m just in South Carolina so it’s not that far.

•I’ve come to realize that the Hollywood I dreamed about in middle school and early high school is non-existent now. I used to dream about going to Hollywood and thinking it would be like it was during the Golden Era: clean, historically preserved and bowing down to Hollywood greats like Joan Crawford. My family took a family vacation there in 2006 and I’ve realized there is nothing for me there. Hollywood is not interested in preserving history, and even though the Hollywood Bowl was cool, it’s not like Kathryn Grayson will be singing a concert there ever again.

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