As the anniversary week winds down at Turner Classic Movies and the Fan Programmer event comes to an end this evening with some great co-hosts introducing some great movies, I wanted to take a moment and thank TCM for the opportunity to be a Fan Programmer.
It was definitely the chance of a life-time and though I may never know what tipped it in my favor, I'll always cherish the opportunity you gave me.
I had the time of my life talking to Robert O. (though I seem to be cursed when it comes to giving interviews with TCM.) I participated two years ago in their brand marketing interviews. The morning I was set to do my interview, we got word that my dad had passed away. Jon had to go into work and tie up some loose ends before we could head towards Las Vegas. He talked me into doing the interview, reminding me that it was something I was looking forward to doing and that my dad had been excited for me to do it. So, I went ahead and went to the interview. By the time it was over, Jon was done at work.
On the morning of my interview with Robert O, Jon was sick with a bad case of food poisoning. He accompanied me to the studio but within the hour had to return to the hotel. So, I soldiered on though I was very worried about him.
I'm hoping if I ever get the chance again to work with TCM, the third time will break the curse!
Seriously, though, it was a terrific time and I am grateful for the opportunity.
TCM is the big tent of film for me. Too often, people want TCM to adhere to a strict time-line for showing classic films. That time-line varies with people but it is usually argued that 1959 should be the cut-off date.
What these folks forget is that the studio system soldiered on until the early 1970s and while the system was undergoing some major changes and death shudders, some wonderful, classic movies were made. I cannot imagine TCM without "To Kill a Mockingbird", "The Apartment", "My Fair Lady" and many, many more.
Luckily for all of us, TCM understands that no one era is important, all of film history is important. To TCM, all films are classic regardless of the year they were released, regardless of their studio pedigree or lack thereof. TCM programs the glossy studio films alongside the grade z horror and sci-fi films. They more than any other movie channel understand the power of film.
Film has the power to make us laugh, make us cry, move us in ways we never imagined we could be, we fall in love at the movies and we fall in love with the movies. Film has the power to show us eras of our past that are not always pleasant to watch. TCM has a yearly series "Race and Hollywood" that looks at stereotypical movie images of different cultures. In the past, they have shown a spotlight on "Black Images on Film" as well as "Gay Images" and "Asian Images". All next month, "Race and Hollywood" will spotlight "Latino Images on Film". The films in the "Race and Hollywood" series as well as on any given day throughout the year, remind us of how far we have come as a society and a culture and how far we still have to go.
I love TCM for being the Big Tent of film and not trying to pigeon hole themselves or us the viewers into just giving us the glossy studio films. TCM Imports, Silent Sundays, TCM Underground (cult favorites) and "The Essentials" are all there to remind us that all films matter.
I would like to give a special shout-out to Charles Tabash, the VP of Programming at TCM. Charlie's job is not an easy one. He and his staff are responsible for programming the movies on the channel. It is not an easy job. For proof of that, visit the TCM Message boards where at least once month, his sanity, his intelligence and his ability to do his job is called into questions by posters who have no idea how difficult it can be to program for a channel that airs movies (without repeats in the day) 24/7. I'm one of those who believes he and his staff do a terrific job.
Another shout-out goes to Genieve McGillicuddy, the VP of Brand Marketing, who keeps the TCM brand out there not only in the zeitgeist but in the minds of the public as well. She has some great ideas coming to fruition over the next year and I wish her only the best.
Scott McGee is the producer/editor behind those wonderful yearly TCM Remembers interstitials that honor those who have passed away. His are always much more inclusive and more moving than the ones done for the Academy Awards. In addition, this year Scott put together the magical and moving "15 Years in 90 seconds" montage promo that looks back at 15 years of TCM programming. From the scenes chosen to the music, it is a delight to watch and for any fan of TCM good luck holding back the sniffles.
Tom Brown is the VP of Orginal Programming and is in charge of the documentaries that air as well as Private Screenings with Robert O. Tom is a great guy, very funny and works hard to bring some of the classic and modern stars to TCM via the documentaries, some of the interstitials and Private Screenings.
Lastly, the man himself. TCM made the right choice 15 years ago when the asked the film historian and writer, Robert Osborne to be the face and voice of TCM. He's incredibly distinguished, well-read and a walking encyclopedia of film knowledge. His personable and affable persona makes him a natural host. In all the 15 years he has been with the channel, they have never repeated a single intro. He flies to Atlanta once a month to shoot all the wrap-arounds. He's still going strong and I hope he continues to be the face of TCM for years to come.
Well, that just about wraps my TCM adventure. Beginning later this weekend, we will go back to concentrating on Las Vegas history and preservation. We've got lots coming up and May is Historic Preservation Month so stay tuned.
Thanks for letting me share my behind the scenes adventure with you and keep watching TCM!
Happy Anniversary, TCM! And here's to many, many more!