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What was turner classic movies like back in the day

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I'm only 23 years old. For most of my life (the cognizant years) we didnt have tcm. My dad didnt want to payfor the extra cable cost preferring to use descramblers (never worked.....sometimes). As I grew over the years so did my appreciation of tcm. But alas I could only admire from afar being taunted by ads for great movies being shown that weekend,the 31 days of oscar, and I would be taunted by my sister who had TCM at college.


Well we finally got TCM and it was and is a godsend. Still I wonder, what did I miss all those years. What was tcm like. How did it look. What did they show, interviews, cartoons, specials. I see all those little clips inbetween films of stars talking about the films and I wonder if they were part of bigger interivews shown back in the day.



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TCM still shows original documentaries and *Private Screenings* where classic stars sit down with Robert O for an extended interview.


In the early years of TCM, they ran a number of documentaries on classic film stars that were originally produced for TNT. Back then, TNT ran classic movies and original documentaries. Once TCM came into being, TNT became a more mainstream channel featuring *Law and Order* and *Bones* reruns as well as original dramatic series.


The good news is that TCM still airs those docs so if you missed them, keep an eye out on the schedule as they often show up.


The clips of interviews that usually show up as part of the *Word of Mouth* promos are put together from interviews that are done by the Turner Archive Project. Before it became part of Time-Warner, the Turner Archive Project was undertaken and underwritten by Ted Turner to preserve the histories of those who worked in front and behind the cameras as well as other studio employees that were part of the studio era.


When Ted Turner sold his media empire, including TCM to Time-Warner in the mid to late 1990s, the Turner Archive Project as well as the Turner film library came under the care of Warner Brothers Home Video.


Hope that helps!

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I actually haven't seen TCM in years.


I watched it from 2000-2004. It was a great channel then. That was just around the time AMC had gone completely to crap.


I don't know what's become of TCM, but I know it used to be great... excellent old classics, not the worn out stuff either.

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First, it's great that you have TCM!!!! Welcome to the greatest station on the cable dial!!


I only had TCM since 2002, but I'd say a couple of the biggest changes between then and now are:


The interstitials. They used to make you feel like you were back in the 30's and 40's, now they are more hep. There was a certain feel to the station that made you feel that you were truly in a vintage era. Now, the films do that, but the in between stuff is much more modern in look and feel.


The films are still great, so that really hasn't changed. For better or worse, the station used to focus much more on the studio libraries that Turner had purchased---WB, RKO and MGM. I'd say that now the station has tried to expand and shows a lot more Columbia, Universal and Paramount than they did when I first got the channel. In some ways this is good, in some ways I miss a lot of the flix that we used to see.


Some things haven't changed at all though. I remember a month devoted to Chaplin. This month is devoted to Keaton. You only see those types of things on TCM. It rocks. It did then and still does!

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If your cinematic dream is a plethora of 1930s and 1940s nuggets, e.g. film noir and screwball comedies, both during the day and in primetime, and less post 1960 garbage, then the TCM of old was the place for you.


It was greatness, a gift from Ted via the fairly affordable cable conglomerates.


Now, you pay more to the greedy cable companies, Ted is gone, you get more post 1960 garbage than black and white movies you've never seen before, and if you like that kind of stuff, you sadly defend the no longer great TCM.


Welcome to the boards, [~aged-in-wood]

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What TCM was like back in the day...


They have always played films made within the last ten years - since month #1.


They've always scheduled things from 1970 on.


The amount of films post-60s hasn't changed in the last five, ten + years - proven countless times on this forum.


They've always aired world cinema - more daring and challenging choices showing up lately.


They've always aired silent films - they've actually seemed to increase in number over the last couple of years.


They've always aired rare, hard to find, or otherwise never to be seen films on TV.



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Go to the Internet Archive and look up tcm.turner.com. They have the old HTML schedules posted there back to 1998. Quite frankly, the content seems to be the same mix it has always been - older more obscure films during the day with the more mainstream choices at night. You will see some films playing back then that you never see now. I spotted "Lights of New York" and "Alias French Gertie" more than once. However, they were on in the wee hours.


The main change has been packaging and advertising. Since about 2006 TCM appears to have been shooting for a younger crowd. Take the old "One Reel Wonders" for example. They used to have a half hour show dedicated to shorts with Robert Osborne doing the intro. This format for shorts ran as recently as 2008. Now the shorts still play but they have this very unappealing art film kind of introduction. I include a few old daily schedules to give you a feel for what played years ago on TCM.


January 14, 1998


8:00 AM RIO RITA ( 1929 )

10:00 AM DIXIANA ( 1931 )

12:00 PM SILVER DOLLAR ( 1932 )




6:00 PM A PATCH OF BLUE ( 1965 )



12:15 AM KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY ( 1945 )


4:10 AM A LIFE OF HER OWN ( 1950 )




March 25, 1998

6:00 AM JULIE ( 1956 )

8:00 AM THE SHEEPMAN ( 1958 )



2:00 PM NEVER ON SUNDAY ( 1960 )


6:00 PM THAT MAN FROM RIO ( 1964 )

8:00 PM CITIZEN KANE ( 1941 )

10:30 PM WOMAN OF THE YEAR ( 1942 )


2:15 AM FATHER GOOSE ( 1964 )

4:15 AM THE HOSPITAL ( 1971 )





April 28, 1998

6:00AM Lady For a Day (1933)

8:00 AM Pocketful of Miracles (1961)

10:30 AM Viva Las Vegas (1964)

12:00 PM Once a Thief (1965)

2:00 PM The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

4:00 PM Made in Paris (1966)

6:00 PM Uncertain Glory (1944)

8:00 PM One Foot in Heaven (1941)

10:00 PM Our Blushing Brides (1930)

12:00 AM Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)

3:00 AM The Day of the Jackal (1973)

5:30 AM Mgm Parade Show # 33 (1955)





April 21, 2000




7:00 AM Rio Rita (1929)

9:00 AM Dixiana (1930)

11:00 AM Girl Crazy (1932)

12:30 PM Diplomaniacs (1933)

2:00 PM The Nitwits (1935)

3:30 PM MGM Parade Show # 17 (1955)

4:00 PM The Clock (1945)

6:00 PM See Here, Private Hargrove (1944)

8:00 PM I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968)

10:00 PM Two for the Seesaw (1962)

12:30 AM By Your Leave (1934)

2:00 AM Yojimbo (1961)

4:00 AM Three Strangers (1946)




May 10, 2000

6:00 AM Flying Down to Rio (1933)

7:30 AM MGM Parade Show # 19 (1955)

8:00 AM A Damsel in Distress (1937)

10:00 AM The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939)

12:00 PM Yolanda and the Thief (1945)

2:00 PMT he Barkleys of Broadway (1949)

4:00 PM Belle of New York (1952)

5:30 PM MGM Parade Show # 18 (1955)

6:00 PM The Band Wagon (1953)

8:00 PM Blackboard Jungle (1955)

10:00 PM The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954)

12:00 AM In Cold Blood (1967)

2:30 AM Bite the Bullet (1975)





August 15,2000

6:00 AM Rasputin and the Empress (1932)

8:15 AM Night Song (1947)

10:00 AM That Midnight Kiss (1949)

12:00 PM The Great Sinner (1949)

2:00 PM The Red Danube (1949)

4:00 PM Kind Lady (1951)

5:30 PM The Story of Three Loves (1953)

8:00 PM Conquest (1937)

10:00 PM Love and Death (1975)

11:30 PM Anthony Adverse (1936)

2:00 AM The Firefly (1937)

4:30 AM Absolute Quiet (1936)


Not to wax long-winded...although I'm too late for that...one thing about the "new TCM" that does appeal to me is that they are getting access to restored prints of classic films from Universal, Paramount, and Fox for the first time. Fox has its own classic movie channel for crying out loud and can't be bothered to show more than the same two dozen pre 1960 titles over and over. TCM is actually getting to be a better showcase of old Fox than Fox Movie Channel is or ever was.

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The mix of movies hasn't changed that much, though you'll never convince some folks around here of that. What has changed is the approach to showing the films (intros, etc.); they're designed to more appeal to younger audiences. Some of them are terrific (I love the Rube Goldberg-style movie intro), others less so (the book pop-up is boring, and do we need yet another "Bringing Up Baby" reference?).


Nevertheless, TCM is continuing the mission it began more than 17 1/2 years ago -- to serve as a de facto repertory house on TV, important since very few areas still have such theaters or programs -- and it handles that assignment beautifully.

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I can live with the pop-up book morning intro considering what it replaced, which was that awful promo showing people getting ready for work and sounded more like an intro to an episode of Roseanne than an intro for a classic film.

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TNT always had commercial breaks in their movies. If I remember correctly, though, Robert Osborne did some movie intros for films on TNT as well as TCM for the first year or two that TCM was on the air. He'd often use the intro/exit comments on TNT to do some promotion for TCM.

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I started watching Ted Turner's classic movies back in 1976, when he had only one channel called WTBS. That channel showed mostly old movies, and that's what made it an instant success in the early days of cable and satellite TV.


I watched each of his new channels come on the air, including TCM. It was the best because of more older movies and no commercials.


Even though TCM now shows a lot of newer movies from the 1960s on up, we are now seeing many more rare old films on TCM that have just recently been restored. I think this year has been one of the best years for TCM, because of so many new high quality prints of old films that were never available before. I've been able to work around the newer movies by recording a lot of the older movies in the middle of the night.


The commercials for movie stuff and DVDs don't bother me at all. They help make money for TCM and money means more old classic restored films shown for the first time in many decades.

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I used to have TNT and loved it in the early days of that channel! Pre-TCM, it was the only place where older movies were regularly screened. Yes, ad breaks, but back then, that's all I knew, as we never had AMC (when it was good). I was SO bummed when TNT morphed and they started TCM only because our cable subscriber didn't have TCM, they were very slow to add channels back then.


I used to longingly look at TCM's schedule, wishing I had it! I was SO pumped when we finally got it in '02!!



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Not to get too far off topic, but while I was on the Internet Archive I ran across an AMC schedule from September 1996 - back when AMC was truly classic and commercial free There's quite a bit of repetition and not that many 1930's titles at all, even this far back. Still there are a few titles I don't ever remember seeing on TCM. Check it out if you like.



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> {quote:title=casablancalover wrote:}{quote}LOL. I'have already posted to the old fogey thread, I'm not commenting to this one.



Yeah Charlotte, when ya THINK about it, this thread IS just another way of sayin'...


"Okay all you 'Old Timers'! What was it like around here in those 'Olden Days', huh?!"



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I understand that in the "Olden Days" tv sets had a hand crank on the side. You had to call the operator and ask for the channel you wanted to watch. Many people were on "party lines" so if one of your neighbors got on first you had to watch what he was watching. And if you had a "Big Screen" tv that meant a 15" screen. Ah yes, the good old days.

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When I was a kid we spent half the time adjusting the antenna (sp?) to get a good picture, and then when that didn't work we had to adjust the horizontal and vertical buttons... All that, with only 7 channels to choose from (in New York).

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I remember being on a party line, it was either 3 or 4 other housholds that shared the line with us. You could get your name on a waiting list for a private number but paid a premium price for it. It was impossible to buy a telephone back then, you had to lease it through your telephone company.

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> {quote:title=EugeniaH wrote:}{quote}When I was a kid we spent half the time adjusting the antenna (sp?) to get a good picture, and then when that didn't work we had to adjust the horizontal and vertical buttons... All that, with only 7 channels to choose from (in New York).

Well ya know Eugenia, instead of all that "adjusting", you COULD have just left all that to....






Btw, "only 7 channels" ya say?! Count yourself as lucky, 'cause back then only people in large cities such as NYC and L.A.(where I grew up) had THAT many channels to choose from, ya know. In fact, I remember when I was a kid and we'd visit our relatives in Indianapolis, and I remember being shocked that the kinfolk there only had 4 or 5 channels to choose from, as I recall.

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Well, that WAS years before this whole "obesity thing" swept the nation, remember?!!! :^0


Yeah, I was my Dad's "remote control", alright!


(...and I remember like it was yesterday when I'd flip the channel dial way too fast around, and Pop would yell at me and tell me that I was grounding down the metal contacts inside that sucker) :^0

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