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Is TCM a little too obligated to program for the holidays?


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This is not about one specific holiday, but about any of them, really.

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I just looked at the link for the channel's Independence Day offerings. First, these are films that seem to air every 4th of July without fail so there's no real novelty about them anymore.

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The article they wrote to drum up interest in this programming is short, to say the least. Coming in at around three paragraphs, it seems like they're going through the motions. Obligated, if you will, to throw some films on the schedule to commemorate a national holiday and then publicize them, because if they don't, TCM won't seem like an American business.

http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/1224900|0/Happy-Independence-Day-7-4.html

They also feel obligated to program a slate of St. Patrick's Day films every March 17th. Is this really necessary?

The main problem I have with this is that it prevents them from showing certain films at other times of the year. For instance, PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE always airs at Thanksgiving time and usually never airs the rest of the year. The only time I ever saw this film on a schedule outside of November was when Gene Tierney had a Summer Under the Stars day in August. So that particular year, it had two airings.

And then there's EASTER PARADE. Usually relegated to Easter Sunday, and it seldom turns up the other 364 days of the year. Why limit a great musical to a holiday broadcast and put it back on the shelf to collect dust? They don't limit NORTH BY NORTHWEST to President's Day because it has a sequence at Mount Rushmore with U.S. presidents on the side of a monument.

Anyway, you get the gist of my "argument"...right? That there's a little too much emphasis on holidays and the marketing of movies for specific holidays, instead of making these movies visible year round.

Rant over.

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3 hours ago, mr6666 said:

& if they try to change or remove any of 'the usual suspects',

they catch a lot of public negative backlash..... <_<

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Right. I think that's the issue in a nutshell. If they cut back and only showed half a day of Independence Day type films, people would complain. 

But why should a group of vocal people have sway over what others might want to watch instead?

Do these films make us more patriotic? Or is it just a bunch of posturing and rigamarole.

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One might presume there are new viewers every year seeing these films for the first time.

Also - As far as July 4th goes, if they only showed those films,(1776 being one) on that day it might make for a family tradition. But they'd have to be sure to only air them on that day lest they get played out.

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9 hours ago, yanceycravat said:

One might presume there are new viewers every year seeing these films for the first time.

Also - As far as July 4th goes, if they only showed those films,(1776 being one) on that day it might make for a family tradition. But they'd have to be sure to only air them on that day lest they get played out.

There might be new viewers any day of the year. So if those films were not limited/defined by the holiday, chances are more people might see them.

I think the issue I have is that these films are being used to market to a holiday. Instead of being showcased more freely. If you look at the original release dates, most studios did not release films by holiday.

CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT hit screens on August 11, 1945. EASTER PARADE hit screens on June 30, 1948. It's TCM that has relegated these films to specific holiday-based play dates.

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14 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Right. I think that's the issue in a nutshell. If they cut back and only showed half a day of Independence Day type films, people would complain. 

But why should a group of vocal people have sway over what others might want to watch instead?

We can look back on some very recent history around here, when TCM actually DID decide to shake things up a bit for the 75th anniversary of D-Day and show some 50 WWII films spread out over the space of two months instead of the usual 72-hour marathon of said films over Memorial Day weekend. And at least one poster came on here and was VERY upset about the change and said some unkind things about the network. Several of us tried to convince him (?) that he would actually be getting MORE WWII films this way, but he clearly wanted it the way it had always been. It will be interesting see how much such complaints reached the ears of TCM programmers. We'll have to see how they handle it next year. Was this just a one-year exception because of the anniversary? Will it go right back to the way it's always been next year?

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

I think the issue I have is that these films are being used to market to a holiday. Instead of being showcased more freely.

I agree that there's an over-tendency to highlight holiday-themed films only at the actual time of those holidays. I was thinking it would be fun to shake it up and do something like a Christmas in July night, in which of course they could show the actual film Christmas in July but could also show some of those chestnuts usually reserved for December: Meet Me in St. LouisScrooge, etc. 

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I love the Christmas movies in December but wish they had more variety.  Also, we enjoy the horror movies in October for Halloween.  I grew up watching The Quiet Man every St. Patrick's Day.  That said, the 4th of July movies TCM shows every year I don't really ever watch.  (Maybe I've seen them too many times.)  They could do a broader theme of quintessential American movies.  I know another channel has done a John Wayne theme.  Someone else mentioned Christmas in July.  I'm all for trying a new line up or maybe just showing 1776.

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7 minutes ago, Peebs said:

I love the Christmas movies in December but wish they had more variety.  Also, we enjoy the horror movies in October for Halloween.  I grew up watching The Quiet Man every St. Patrick's Day.  That said, the 4th of July movies TCM shows every year I don't really ever watch.  (Maybe I've seen them too many times.)  They could do a broader theme of quintessential American movies.  I know another channel has done a John Wayne theme.  Someone else mentioned Christmas in July.  I'm all for trying a new line up or maybe just showing 1776.

I don't like the idea of John Wayne being used as a synonym for America. His politics did not represent all Americans and to imply that he was more American than other stars, or his films are more American than anyone else, is something I don't condone.

But I do think TCM could add more variety with its Independence Day programming.

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1 hour ago, sewhite2000 said:

I agree that there's an over-tendency to highlight holiday-themed films only at the actual time of those holidays. I was thinking it would be fun to shake it up and do something like a Christmas in July night, in which of course they could show the actual film Christmas in July but could also show some of those chestnuts usually reserved for December: Meet Me in St. LouisScrooge, etc. 

That's a fantastic idea. They could also air IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE in July with such a theme. There's no reason why this film can't air "off season" on TCM.

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1 minute ago, TopBilled said:

I don't like the idea of John Wayne being used as a synonym for America. His politics did not represent all Americans and to imply that he was more American than other stars, or his films are more American than anyone else, is something I don't condone.

Sure, not endorsing John Wayne as the stand-in for all that's American just giving an example of what other channels have done.  TCM could do a James Stewart or Henry Fonda day or Gene Kelly.  

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7 minutes ago, Peebs said:

Sure, not endorsing John Wayne as the stand-in for all that's American just giving an example of what other channels have done.  TCM could do a James Stewart or Henry Fonda day or Gene Kelly.  

Thanks for clarifying. I enjoy some of John Wayne's movies. So I am not anti- anything he did as an actor. But I don't think any one person in Hollywood can represent the vast landscape that is America. 

A better theme for July 4th, in terms of TCM programming, would be to schedule movies where main characters become independent. We don't need James Cagney singing like a dandy yankee doodle.

The spirit of the holiday is about standing on your own, without help. And this can apply to a wide range of films.

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17 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

A better theme for July 4th, in terms of TCM programming, would be to schedule movies where main characters become independent. We don't need James Cagney singing like a dandy yankee doodle.

Now this is an idea I can get behind;   show characters that had to struggle to gain their independents on July 4th.

Best idea I have seen in a while;  E.g.  Olivia DeHavilland in To Each His Own.     

As for the Christmas in July.   Please NO.    Hallmark is already doing this and to me it makes zero sense.   I saw the ads on T.V. for this and the first thing my wife and I wondered about is what types of ratings they get for this.  Hey, if they get at least the same ratings as their typical July programming then I can see a point of this type of programming,  but if not,   the staff that can up with this idea should be taken to the woodshed.

 

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7 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Now this is an idea I can get behind;   show characters that had to struggle to gain their independents on July 4th.

Best idea I have seen in a while;  E.g.  Olivia DeHavilland in To Each His Own. 

Thanks. Olivia's role in TO EACH HIS OWN is a good example.

Another one that comes to mind is Ellen Burstyn's character in ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (1974). The whole movie is about a woman starting her life over and learning to stand on her own two feet. She becomes truly independent during the course of that story. She moves across country, finds a new job, finds a new man, she takes care of her son...but it's all on her terms. 

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9 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

   As for the Christmas in July.   Please NO.    Hallmark is already doing this and to me it makes zero sense.   I saw the ads on T.V. for this and the first thing my wife and I wondered about is what types of ratings they get for this.  Hey, if they get at least the same ratings as their typically July programming then I can see a point of this type of programming,  but if not,   the staff that can up with this idea should be taken to the woodshed.

From what I've read, Hallmark gets very good ratings with their annual Christmas in July garbage, so high that they considered creating a third channel that would be 24/7 Christmas programming all year long. They may even still be considering it.

It's unfathomable to me, but there's apparently that many people who want to watch that kind of stuff. 

 

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12 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Now this is an idea I can get behind;   show characters that had to struggle to gain their independents on July 4th.

Yeah or movies about national independence from other nations. Mikhail Romm's Lenin in 1918 is quite good.

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13 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

It's unfathomable to me, but there's apparently that many people who want to watch that kind of stuff. 

People seem to want to be in that "Christmas spirit" all year round now, don't they? I'm reminded of the Peanuts Easter special where the kids go to the mall, and the signs all read "only 213 shopping days until Christmas!" or something like that. That was obviously a hyperbolic joke, but in recent years, multiple radio stations in my area start playing 24-hour-a-day Christmas songs starting the day after Thanksgiving and continuing until maybe a day or two after New Year's! And if you add up all the (usually romance-oriented) Christmas movies aired by Hallmark and Lifetime and I don't know what the names of the other channels are, there must be something like 50 of them that air in December. Crazy.

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7 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

People seem to want to be in that "Christmas spirit" all year round now, don't they? 

Years ago I read that Jeanne Cooper, who starred in The Young and the Restless, kept a Christmas tree lit up in her dressing room year round. It was her favorite holiday. Costars would come to her dressing room, on particularly grueling days at the studio, sit around the tree and feel better.

It's a psychological thing.

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On 7/2/2019 at 12:21 PM, Peebs said:

 TCM could do a broader theme of quintessential American movies...

Asking other people for ideas for "American" movies, I got some different ideas:  Baseball movies.  (Field of Dreams, Pride of the Yankees, The Natural, A League of Their Own, Bull Durham, Eight Men Out, Angels in the Outfield, Damn Yankees, The Stratton Story.)  Space or Astronaut movies. (The Right Stuff, Apollo 13...).  Immigrant movies.  (Godfather series, America America, The Immigrant, Moscow on the Hudson...)

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You didn't mention Barry Levinson's very nice immigrant movie Avalon. The present situation regarding how our current president thinks it's okay to treat would-be immigrant children breaks my heart, but I don't want to make this thread political, so I will say no more.

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53 minutes ago, sewhite2000 said:

You didn't mention Barry Levinson's very nice immigrant movie Avalon...

Yep, that would work, too.  I'm sure we could add others.  Brooklyn and In America are a little too recent for TCM but would work for the theme.

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