TopBilled

TCM and Other Sources for Classic Film

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Huge news. Coming in just over an hour.  Check back around 12 p.m. Pacific Time.  

I got it. I got it!.....Bing Crosby's horse hasn't come in YET!!! :lol: 

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ALICE B. TOKLAS had a plum spot in primetime last night on TCM. For those who read the threads in the Essentials area, there has already been considerable discussion about whether this film, selected by Drew Barrymore, was in fact a true essential.

 

And now comes news that this film did not even crack the top ten of most-searched titles on the database yesterday, suggesting it did not really appeal to most viewers. BLOW UP, a second installment of Essentials, with a much later time slot, easily hit number one.

 

But, are you ready for this latest development?  Sit down and fasten your seatbelts.  The film that aired against ALICE B. TOKLAS, which was CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (with commercials) on ME-TV, did come in at number ten on the list.

 

So what does that tell us?  That people are not watching something they don't consider a true essential and that they going off to see what the competition has to offer...?  Is ME-TV cutting in on TCM’s action?

 

We will attempt to answer all these questions and more on the next episode of News.

 

This has been Less Classics Nessman. And now back to Dr. Johnny Apollo Fever on KTCM.

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ALICE B. TOKLAS had a plum spot in primetime last night on TCM. For those who read the threads in the Essentials area, there has already been considerable discussion about whether this film, selected by Drew Barrymore, was in fact a true essential.

 

And now comes news that this film did not even crack the top ten of most-searched titles on the database yesterday, suggesting it did not really appeal to most viewers. BLOW UP, a second installment of Essentials, with a much later time slot, easily hit number one.

 

But, are you ready for this latest development?  Sit down and fasten your seatbelts.  The film that aired against ALICE B. TOKLAS, which was CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (with commercials) on ME-TV, did come in at number ten on the list.

 

So what does that tell us?  That people are not watching something they don't consider a true essential and that they going off to see what the competition has to offer...?  Is ME-TV cutting in on TCM’s action?

 

We will attempt to answer all these questions and more on the next episode of News.

 

This has been Less Classics Nessman. And now back to Dr. Johnny Apollo Fever on KTCM.

"And that's the way it should be!" -Maj. Wild Bill Donovan (George Brent) The Fighting 69th

 

When tcm programmers decide to put the kibosh on this half uh keestered european french-slanted eclectic kick of theirs and once again put on the stuff that we wanna see and not WHAT THEY WANNA SEE then maybe they will get a different outcome. WE'RE THE VIEWING AUDIENCE. Maybe tcm should start reminding themselves of that.

 

 

 

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When tcm programmers decide to put the kibosh on this half..uh..keestered  european french-slanted eclectic kick they've been on and once again put on the stuff that we wanna see and not WHAT THEY WANNA SEE them maybe they will get a different outcome. WE'RE THE VIEWING AUDIENCE. Maybe tcm should start reminding themselves of that.

 

Another (huge) problem, and yes I am going to say this (here comes my controversial statement of the day)-- is that they are not only showing stuff they want to see (definitely) but more importantly they have an agenda, showing stuff they want others to see. The whole Essentials format is predicated upon showing films they think everyone should see.  It seems a bit pretentious and probably out of touch with most viewer tastes.

 

I think it is very revealing that a horror film (interrupted by commercials) outranked the so-called Essential film they put into their prime time slot last night.

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Another (huge) problem, and yes I am going to say this (here comes my controversial statement of the day)-- is that they are not only showing stuff they want to see (definitely) but more importantly they have an agenda, showing stuff they want others to see. The whole Essentials format is predicated upon showing films they think everyone should see.  It seems a bit pretentious and probably out of touch with most viewer tastes.

 

I think it is very revealing that a horror film (interrupted by commercials) outranked the so-called Essential film they put into their prime time slot last night.

I'll be more than happy to watch 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY has many times as tcm programmers get an itch to show it...so long as they will present it smileboxed...just once! That's not askin' a lot.  :) p.s. and viewers were willing to tolerate the comedics of Svengoolie too. :)  

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I'll be more than happy to watch 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY has many times as tcm programmers get an itch to show it...so long as they will present it smileboxed...just once! That's not askin' a lot.  :) p.s. and viewers were willing to tolerate the comedics of Svengoolie too. :)  

So glad you mentioned Svengoolie!  I've been wanting to discuss him here.

 

Without a doubt, he is more popular and more engaging than ANY of the guest hosts TCM has brought on for the Friday Night Spotlight series. And it's a no-brainer that he is more knowledgeable than Drew Barrymore on Saturday nights.

 

Svengoolie is easily taking viewers away from TCM.

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I hate to play devil's advocate here, but Me-TV is something that doesn't cost an arm and a leg to get on television, and it doesn't come extra with a cable package. How can Me-TV take away TCM's audience when they supply for two totally different markets? Certainly I can see how TCM would feel intimidated by a little competition, and Me-TV is little(as much as I watch it when I am somewhere that doesn't do cable tv), competition is healthy for our economy that way. If there was a monopoly for every one thing, it wouldn't be entirely capitalist, would it? 

 

Sorry to frame it in an economic standpoint here, but that's just how I see it. 

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Yeah! What TopBilled said. A commercial and Svengoolie-interrupted Curse of the Werewolf beats out Essentials. :)  I'm crushed   :(  What is tcm's next brilliant move? A positively engrossing thirteen week documentary on the making of Georges Melies' Trip to the Moon?   :P

 

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Well, I don't find Peter Sellers remotely funny so I would not seek out any movie he was in.

That would be the reason for me not watching I LOVE YOU, ALICE B.TOKLAS when it aired on TCM.

 

The only movie with Sellers in it that I actually enjoyed was MIRDER BY DEATH.

I found it interesting in Robert Osborne's comments either before or after TCM's airing of MURDER BY DEATH that Sellers did not like MURDER BY DEATH because he thought it was not funny.

 

As for TCM viewers not being interested in European films, I think the interest in an "artsy" film from a Italian director (BLOW-UP) on TCM's search database indicates otherwise 

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As for TCM viewers not being interested in European films, I think the interest in an "artsy" film from a Italian director (BLOW-UP) on TCM's search database indicates otherwise 

But Holden, I think there is a limit to how many art or European films should be scheduled in one evening. And as you said, Peter Sellers is not everyone's cup of tay, sorry to say.

 

THE MOUSE THAT ROARED would have worked much better as an Essential than ALICE B. What'shername.

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So glad you mentioned Svengoolie!  I've been wanting to discuss him here.

 

Without a doubt, he is more popular and more engaging than ANY of the guest hosts TCM has brought on for the Friday Night Spotlight series.

 

Svengoolie is not more popular than Cher ---who was the first Friday Night Spotlight host (or actually co-host with Robert Osborne).

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Svengoolie is not more popular than Cher ---who was the first Friday Night Spotlight host (or actually co-host with Robert Osborne).

I will agree with that.  I was thinking of Cher as more of a guest programmer. You're right, she did host the inaugural Friday Night Spotlight.

 

But-- Svengoolie has become a breakout star.  

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But Holden, I think there is a limit to how many art or European films should be scheduled in one evening.

 

Yes, but I was responding to a comment that TCM viewers were not interested in European films.

 

I think diversity in programming is a good thing . . . although I will admit that I very much enjoyed entire evenings devoted to Truffaut's films during the Spotlight on his movies.

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Even if there were a tcm viewing audience for artsy european offerings, tcm is pushing this eclectic binge they're on at the expense of more mainstream american films.

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Svengoolie has become a breakout star.  

 

Yes, it  amazes me that Svengoolie now has a national (international?) following.

The character used to be appear only on local TV stations here  in Chicago.

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If there is ever a Cannes Film Channel, tcm is really in trouble.  :lol:

Part of what is happening here, and I figured this would happen-- after the 20th anniversary when they brought the Fan Programmers on-- they have gone back to promoting their own agenda and getting away from what the viewers are wanting.  

 

In my view, the loyal TCM watchers want: 

 

1. more studio era Hollywood films (with film noir being the most popular genre)

2. a reformatting of Essentials and Essentials Jr., with less out of the box selections

3. less repeats and more TCM premieres of studio era Hollywood films (especially Paramount, Universal and Republic titles)

 

I don't see how they can NOT alienate some demographics with the more high-brow choices they have been selecting for Essentials. They are getting completely off track there, in my opinion. This is why people are turning the channel and watching Svengoolie.

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Even if there were a tcm viewing audience for artsy european offerings, tcm is pushing this eclectic binge they're on at the expense of more mainstream american films.

I am going to agree with that. I think you are right on the money with that statement. They are swinging too far left of center.

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Part of what is happening here, and I figured this would happen-- after the 20th anniversary when they brought the Fan Programmers on-- they have gone back to promoting their own agenda and getting away from what the viewers are wanting.  

 

In my view, the loyal TCM watchers want: 

 

1. more studio era Hollywood films (with film noir being the most popular genre)

2. a reformatting of Essentials and Essentials Jr., with less out of the box selections

3. less repeats and more TCM premieres of studio era Hollywood films (especially Paramount, Universal and Republic titles)

 

I don't see how they can NOT alienate some demographics with the more high-brow choices they have been selecting for Essentials. They are getting completely off track there, in my opinion. This is why people are turning the channel and watching Svengoolie.

 

TCM does have to keep and maintain an audience, otherwise it goes to pots. Especially recruiting younger generations, who are accepting of foreign film as they are of domestic film, having a diverse selection draws an audience. If you don't want change, fine, but TCM is a business, and albeit successful, it has to appeal to a broad audience. 

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Part of what is happening here, and I figured this would happen-- after the 20th anniversary when they brought the Fan Programmers on-- they have gone back to promoting their own agenda and getting away from what the viewers are wanting.  

 

In my view, the loyal TCM watchers want: 

 

1. more studio era Hollywood films (with film noir being the most popular genre)

2. a reformatting of Essentials and Essentials Jr., with less out of the box selections

3. less repeats and more TCM premieres of studio era Hollywood films (especially Paramount, Universal and Republic titles)

 

I don't see how they can NOT alienate some demographics with the more high-brow choices they have been selecting for Essentials. They are getting completely off track there, in my opinion. This is why people are turning the channel and watching Svengoolie.

I completely agree. 

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Even if there were a tcm viewing audience for artsy european offerings, tcm is pushing this eclectic binge they're on at the expense of more mainstream american films.

 

But if you look at ANY date on TCM's schedule (excluding those devoted to a specific star's spotlight) the majority of the movies shown are studio era American movies.

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I am loath for all sorts of reasons to wander into this discussion, but here goes:

 

TCM has got to stop bringing in these B-D list personalities to showcase films, be it guest programmers or the two Essentials. (I think the Friday Night Spotlight has been more hit than miss, but again there are certain instances where the "talent" presenting the films was, um, lacking coughcoughMathewBroderickcough.)

 

It doesn't bring any new viewers to the network and all it does is alienate their established fanbase.

 

I know that emboldened statement can't be proven and is mon opinion, but hey- it's free. They always pick something lame that we have all seen 10,000 times before (and frankly any one of us can think of a better counter to what is showing.) And Drew Barrymore and Bill Hader DO NOT have the kind of fanbase that is going to follow them and watch whatever they do. It is nothing more than ego on their part.

 

I also have to add that the less than stellar "star status" of some of the hosts (ie Greg Proops) gives a kind of Bargain Basement shellacking to the whole process...People who couldn't get a gig being one of the corners on Hollywood Squares showing up to re-package Gaslight for the nth-thousandth time is not doing anything for anyone except wasting some money and a deli tray on some has-beens.

 

All right. I've said it.

 

I'm slinking out now....

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Why is there an assumption that Turner Classic Movies is committed to focusing on American films?

 

First people complain that they don't show enough old movies; but even when they do ( as in the recent Rene Clair evening), it's still not acceptable if they're not American movies, dammit, and we all know that American must be the best. None of this gol-durned furin stuff, no sir.

 

I have been searching, but to no avail (has anyone ever done anything to avail?) to find the original TCM mission statement.

But I've a feeling that it does not specify a preponderance of American movies. Maybe it does - I forget just exactly what it says.

 

However, it does strike me that some here feel that Turner Classic Movies should be re-defined as Turner American Movies.

Or better yet, for them, "Turner American Movies made between 1930 and 1960, no silents and none of this foreign nonsense, and for that matter, no experimental or arty (we all know "arty" films were a  Communist plot) films, and let's have lots of men being men and apple pie and guns and happy endings and no furin stuff and no weird stuff and , well, American is best Channel."

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As for TCM viewers not being interested in European films, I think the interest in an "artsy" film from a Italian director (BLOW-UP) on TCM's search database indicates otherwise 

 

But Holden, I think there is a limit to how many art or European films should be scheduled in one evening. And as you said, Peter Sellers is not everyone's cup of tay, sorry to say.

 

THE MOUSE THAT ROARED would have worked much better as an Essential than ALICE B. What'shername.

 

I'm not a fan of Peter Sellers, and I'm not a fan of The Mouse That Roared or Alice B. Hoozis, but I'm also not a fan of having TCM's programming determined by who gets the loudest shoutouts on these message boards or the most searches on the Database.  There is no way of knowing what the motivation is behind those searches. For me I use it simply whenever I'm not familiar with a movie; if I already know and love a movie, there'd be no reason for me to do a search.  But others may only use it to confirm their pre-existing biases.

 

What I'm very comfortable with is letting TCM's programmers survey the wide variety of WORLDWIDE films that might be available, and using their knowledge and judgment to provide us with the BEST movies out there.  Not necessarily the most popular or the most "artsy" (whatever that's supposed to mean), but simply the best.

 

And as it's worked out,  I think they do a terrific job, especially if a viewer takes the time and trouble to study the schedule in order to watch or record movies that don't get repeated over and over.  I personally wish we'd get more foreign movies in prime time, but I understand the reasons that we don't, and plan accordingly to record them at midnight or 2:00 AM.  That's hardly a cause for complaint.

 

Some evenings they may show a run of foreign movies, some I'll like and some I won't.  I love Gabin and Kurosawa and don't care for Sellers or Jacques Tati.  We all have our own tastes that need not be defended.

 

But many more evenings we'll get a solid bloc or westerns, musicals, screwball comedies, noirs, or Mickey Rooney movies,  some of which we'll love and some of which we'll either not love or have seen a hundred times already.  That's part of the deal, too.  You can't please all of the people all of the time, and IMO it's not the mission of TCM even to attempt to do this.

 

The mission of TCM is to provide the widest variety of great movies from all eras and all countries, weighted towards the studio era of Hollywood, but not to the point of crowding out  first rate foreign movies just so we can see Yankee Doodle Dandy or Stagecoach six times a year instead of three.  And as Rey has pointed out time and time again with the numbers to back him up, there is no shortage of 30's through 50's Hollywood films on the TCM schedule, in spite of all the whining to the contrary from a handful of constant bellyachers here.

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