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Ben Mankiewietz


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I want everyone to know that the host on the weekend for TCM is one of the sweetest guys in showbiz. About a week ago I was in Hollywood sightseeing. I was relentlessly trying to find this resturant that I saw on tv that Mr. Ben M. ate in while he was interviewing the owner. I had just about given up. As I was coming out of a gift shop I thought to myself it would be nice to see that guy from TCM so that he could show me where this resturant is . At that moment I saw a familiar face. I took a second glance when I realized that it was Mr. Ben M. I was astonished. Imagine that I am looking for a resturant and the one person who I know could show me the way was right in front of me. Suprised is an understatment. I said to him hey your that guy from TCM. He said "yes I am." I told him how I was looking for the resturant with pictures of the stars on the walls and the red leather back seats. He was very nice and he gave me directions. He shook my hand then I walked away. I turned the corner and my daughter said you should of took a picture with him. I said he might be too busy. As I said that my brother noticed that he was walking behind me I turned and asked him would he mind taking a picture with me and he said "sure"! So I got a picture with him. That just made my day. Yes, we ended up at the resturant called Firmosa. I was in awe of all the portraits of the stars and my family and I were naming as many as we could. We had a delicious lunch and a wonderful day thanks to a very nice Mr. Ben M. Thank You! Devoted TCM fan, Cynthia

 

Message was edited by: CURCYN425

 

Message was edited by: CURCYN425

 

Message was edited by: CURCYN425

 

Message was edited by: CURCYN425

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Cynthia,

 

The Formosa Cafe is one of the great landmarks still standing in Hollywood. It is used as a location in one of my favorite films, LA Confidential.

 

It has a great deal of history having opened in 1939. It was adjacent to the Warners Hollywood lot (perhaps it was the Goldwyn lot in 1939, I'm not sure but CinesageJr probably knows for sure.)

 

Here's a couple of links:

 

http://www.formosacafe.com/

 

http://www.seeing-stars.com/Dine2/Formosa.shtml

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The 11-acre facility (small by Hollywood standards) was, indeed, Goldwyn Studios in 1939. And 1949, and '59, and '69, and '79. In 1980 it became Warner Hollywood. Warners sold it in 1999, and its current owners now call it, simply, "The Lot."

 

I met Ben and his then-fiancee, at a party three or four years ago and, yes, they're both very nice.

 

The name is, however, stilled spelled as it was in 1939, '49, '59, '69, '79, '89, and '99: Mankiewicz.

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Cinesage,

 

Thanks so much for the clarification. I know that in the silent days it was the UA lot and Doug Fairbanks, Sr filmed Robin Hood there. The Robin Hood set was the largest set built in its day.

 

I wasn't sure when it became the Warner Hollywood lot. I thought it had happened in the early 1970s before my arrival in Los Angeles but my memory is not what it used to be.

 

I love hearing your stories by the way.

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Cynthia, what a nice experience, and thanks for sharing it.

 

Have to admit Ben M. is not my cup of tea as a TCM host --- I feel like he often heads for the lowest common denominator in his commentaries --- but he certainly comes across on television as a generally nice guy.

 

It's good to find out he really is a nice guy.

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Thanks so much for the clarification. I know that in the silent days it was the UA lot and Doug Fairbanks, Sr filmed Robin Hood there. The Robin Hood set was the largest set built in its day.

 

ROBIN HOOD's interiors were shot at the future Goldwyn Studio; the mammoth castle exterior set was, I believe, built in the Los Feliz district of L.A., where Griffith's INTOLERANCE set had stood six years earlier, near the six-way interection of Sunset Blvd., Hollywood Blvd., Hillhurst Avenue, Virgil Avenue and Sunset Place.

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Ben is an awesome guy!

Not only is he a professional but his family is a huge part of the legacy that is classic film. His great Uncle and Grandfather are responsible for some of the most beloved films of the golden age, but Ben deserves to work at TCM because he is a classic film expert himself.

 

I met Ben when last Dec. he came to Seattle to film the pilot episode for the Movie Fans series that will begin playing on TCM in November I believe. I was so nervous when it came time for my interview with Ben but he made me feel so comfortable and we bonded on films the whole rest of the day. I posted a thread about this right after it happened in Dec of 2006.

 

He seriously was the nicest guy. I owe a lot to him for approving the project and so do the other people that have been chosen for the movie fans series.

 

I think people give Ben a bad rap cuz he has the best job. One that I know most of us classic film nuts would love to have. Most of us are or were jealous of him at some point. Give him a break. He really is an awesome dude. I wish I was actually friends with him. That would be awesome.

 

Ben Mankiewietz is a living, breathing monument to classic film. It runs through his veins. If you don't believe me goto www.imdb.com and search Joseph Mankiewietz and Herman Mankiewietz. The list of films is impressive.

 

cheers

kpr

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His Uncle is responsible for some of the most beloved films of the golden age, but Ben deserves to work at TCM because he is a classic film expert himself.

 

Ben's uncle is actually Don Mankiewicz, Oscar-nominated screenwriter of 1958's I WANT TO LIVE!

 

Joseph L. Mankiewicz was Ben's great-uncle.

 

Joe's brother, Herman, the author of the screenplay to CITIZEN KANE, was Ben's grandfather.

 

Ben's father is longtime Democratic political consultant Frank Mankiewicz.

 

Ben's cousins, once-removed, are screenwriters Tom and Chris Mankiewicz (Joe's sons).

 

The only one I'm not certain about is Dateline NBC's Josh Mankiewicz; he's either Ben's brother or his cousin. I'll have to ask Don.

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