Yes, that's really me and Robert Osborne on the "Guest Programmer" set at TCM Studios in Atlanta!
I still can't believe that this really happened.
Late last summer I got a phone call from the talent coordinator at TCM. She was wondering if I would be interested in joining 14 other loyal fans of the channel as a Fan Programmer. My first thought was, "Do they have the right person?". She assured me they did.
When I recovered from that shock, she said that TCM was inviting 15 of us (and we could each bring a guest) to Atlanta for three days to introduce one of our favorite films with Robert Osborne.
Atlanta, TCM, Robert Osborne. I was pretty sure I was dreaming but it was a hot afternoon in August and I realized that it wasn't a dream.
I proudly said, "You bet, what do I have to do?" Darcy replied that there was nothing to do, they would take care of all the details. All I had to do was put together a short list of ten films that meant something to me and that I would like to talk about with Robert Osborne.
Why ten when I would only be introducing one? Well, the list would go to the TCM Programming Staff, headed by Charles Tabesh, and they would put work their magic and let me know which film would be available.
Ten films that mean something to me? Yeah, that's going to be easy to do. LOL! I've been a film buff for over forty years and a film geek for almost as long. Choosing ten films would not be easy.
The good news- I already knew a couple of the others who had been chosen for this moment. I spend a lot of time on the TCM message boards where I have been a member for over five years now. People from all over the country and all over the world come to the TCM message boards to talk about their love of films. Over the years, I've actually met a couple of them and become friends with them. Two of them, Kyle Kersten and Peter Bosch, live in the City of Angels and we have been getting together for drinks occasionally the last couple of years. It was reassuring to know that I would actually know some folks in Atlanta.
I called my husband, Jon, and told him about it and then asked "How would you like to go to Atlanta in early November?" He, of course, said "Sure."
For the next week, I contemplated my list of ten films. As I said earlier, I love films. I've been an avid film buff since I was a kid. My earliest film memory is of "To Kill a Mockingbird" which my bio-dad took me to see at the old Guild theater when I was five.
I also love westerns and gangster films and silent films and, well you get the picture. So picking ten films was going to be difficult.
Here's my original list for the Programming Staff:
Atticus Finch is a man who loves his family. He is a widower raising his two children alone. He is also a man of principal. During the course of a year and a half , his principles will clash with that he loves most, his children and put them in danger. But, in doing so, he reminds us all of the better angels of our nature, when he agrees to take on the defense of Tom Robinson, a young black man, against the charge of rape by Mayella Ewell, a young white woman.
His children believe that the boogey man is Boo Radley, the son of the local successful family who stabbed his father with a pair of scissors. Boo was found guilty and spent his confinement in the basement of the courthouse before returning home and becoming the local boogeyman.
Samuel Jackson is right. There is no way to keep a dry eye when watching Atticus leave the courtroom after the verdict has been delivered. Tom Robinson has been found guilty by a jury of white men.
But the power of the movie is not in that scene but in the scene that follows much later. Jem and Scout have been attacked returning home from their school pagent.
Because she is in a ham outfit, Scout is unable to see the fight that ensues. All she knows is that Jem has been attacked and left for dead.
She learns, along with the audience, that it was Boo who saved her and Jem from being killed by Mr. Ewell. In the most moving scene in the film, she discovers their saviour hiding behind the bedroom door, Boo Radley.
She ultimately walks him home reminding us all that appearances are not always what they seem.
Never has the backlot at Universal felt so universal.
John Ford liked the idea of myth. Beginning with *The Iron Horse” he started dealing with the myth of the American West. “Fort Apache” deals with the myth told and believed and ends before the consequences. York tells the reporters not so much what they want to hear but for the men who died for Thursday’s values.
“Liberty Valance” brings that myth full circle and explores the aftermath of the myth on the men and women who participated in.
Tom Donaphin goes out that night because Hallie begs him to save Rance Stoddard.
The public believes that Rance killed Liberty Valance. Neither man disputes what happened.
In the aftermath, Tom becomes a shell of the man he was, the enforcer of the town, able to control the violent out-bursts of Valance so that those who live within the confines of the town were safe.
Rance becomes the man who shot Liberty Valance and gets all the glory. Even after confronted with the truth, he hides behind the myth and rides not only to the capital but to Washington, the Court of St. James and back. He garners the love of Hallie but it is built on a lie and one she comes to realize. Rance gains all the prestige of they myth of being the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’. He becomes a blowhard politician more concerned with his career than his original values of looking out for the little guy. In the end, loses the one thing that mattered most, Hallie.
Tom was willing to kill for her to keep Ranse safe and somewhere, shortly afterward her marriage to Ranse, she realized the sacrifice that Donaphin had made and regretted, to a degree, that sacrifice the rest of her life.
In attending the funeral of his rival and his friend, Ranse is reminded of the sacrifice that was made and starts to come to grips with the truth behind “When fact becomes legend, print the legend”. The question is, is it too late to safe his marriage.
3. Ocean’s 11 (the original): It's the Las Vegas Strip the way we remember it being
4. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon: For my dad
5. The Searchers: Because John Wayne proves, again, what a good actor he was.
6. The Godfather: At it's heart, a story of family
7. Chinatown: Because everyone thinks they know the story of how water came to Los Angeles
8. The Iron Mask: Because no one enjoyed making movies more than Doug Fairbanks, Sr.
9. Cinema Paradiso: The ending montage is the best cinematic valentine ever.
10. L.A. Confidential: Because everyone thinks they know Los Angeles in the 1950s.
I explained in my original note to Charlie Tabesh that I doubted I could get through talking about "Mockingbird" without crying. He wrote back that "crying on television could be considered entertainment." I replied that watching a fifty-one year old woman with mascara running down her face was probably not what he was hoping for!
I ultimately found out that I would be introducing "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" which was just fine with me. One slight problem, my favorite scene. Would I cry when Robert Osborne asked about it?
Tomorrow: How I came to be a Fan Programmer and the trip to Atlanta.
The party for us on the set of "The Essentials"
See LasVegasLynn talk about "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" on Wednesday evening, April 15th at 9:00 pm (PST) on Turner Classic Movies.
Feel free to ask any questions you might have by posting comments and I will try to answer them as best I can!