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Thumbs Down to TCM for not giving W.C. his due!?


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This is something that qquite frankly, surprised-me?

Because TCM has been doing such a superlative job in it's "April Fools"-(*Chaplin, Keaton, Marx Bros., L & H & even A & C)

 

But, when it comes to what many of us rate as greatest movie comedian ever to be born in this country-(William Claude Dukenfield aka: W.C. Fields-(1879-1946)

I noted that you guys are only apparently set to air 2 pix of "The Great Man?"

& these 2 are usually aired anyway-(NOTE: I know TCM has legal rights to such all-timers as: "It's a Gift" (1934) (Paramount)/ "Man on the Flying Trapeze" (1935) (Par.)

& of course even M-G-M's epic "David Copperfield"

They even often air his then very controversial short from '32 "The Dentist"-He was once "Star of the Month")

 

All that is slated in 1940's wonderful "The Bank Dick" & the even greater 1941 "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break"-(his last starring role)Both are from his Universal years & the former was just aired?

Another forgotten is: 1939's "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man"-(W.C. vs. Charlie McCarthy)

 

Anyhow, big let-down from an otherwise SUPERB MONTH!

 

(TRIVIA: Who else knows that he was 1st considered-(during early stages by *Capra) to play Clarence in "It's a Wonderful Life"-(the role that in many a viewpoint, shoulda' won: Henry Travers an OSCAR!)

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With the due respect to you pal, I think it's a little harsh to write "thumbs down to TCM", beacause you feel they overlooked "W.C.Fields"...

 

....maybe Ben Turpin fans or Mabel Normand ones may feel the same...but TCM cannot please everybody, besides, a month has only 30 days and there are just too many films for such a short period of time. I'm sure that TCM will schedule a Festival honoring the great W.C. Fields in the near future...

 

....and I don't think that they have the rights to most of Fields' films (mostly Paramounts and Universals, which belong to Universal Pictures' Library); if they have aired them before, they must have obtained the films on lease-terms.

 

....so be patient Spencer1964 and don't lose hope, the W.C. Fields films will be scheduled in the comming months, most probably...and friend, I wish I could have (here in South America) the chance of getting at least one eighth of what TCM-USA schedules every month.

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Please note that some two or three years ago, W. C. Fields was in fact TCM's Star Of The Month! The channel even aired most of his surviving classic short comedies of the early 1930's! So William Claud Dukenfield II, has been justly honored by the station in the past.

 

Over all I feel the selections for the April Fool?s festival have been pretty outstanding. While it is true that TCM does not presently own the rights to the majority of Field?s films that could change at anytime. For instance, it appears that TCM has finally rested away the domestic broadcast rights to all of the independent Buster Keaton feature's and shorts of the 1920's from AMC! Although it should have happened much sooner than it did, this is still very good news! The Keaton films really do belong on TCM, with the great works of Chaplin and Lloyd!

 

An interesting footnote, The old AMC version of SHERLOCK JUNIOR was not the same as the Kino International one that TCM ran last week! That edition boasted an excellent Vince Giordano score, rather than the highly off color impressionist feel of the Club Foot Orchestra. The later is arguably among the worst silent film scores ever recorded!

 

Some of the other Keaton films that used to run on AMC had very different scores than the Kino DVD Box set as well, including the as of yet un-aired ?GO WEST? (1925) which has yet to debut on TCM. Don't miss it when it does, it has probably become my favorite Keaton feature! In any event, A very underrated film! The AMC score was among the best scores for any Keaton film I have ever heard! Unfortunately, the official DVD release falls quite a bit short of that standard.

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I will admit that momentarily, as I looked over the TCM schedule for April, that I was hoping for a few more Fields' films, but I can't say thumbs down to TCM, as they do show so many great films daily.

 

In spite of everything though, when it comes right down to it...I'd watch a W. C. Fields flick, no matter how small his part, how awful the film, or how late it is on. Though I have seen every one of his films, except for a small number of the more obscure 1920's silents, I have a special love for a few of the more oddball William Claude films, like "Man on the Flying Trapeze", "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch" [don't leave for a snack or you might miss him], "You're Telling Me", "Six of a Kind" and "Million Dollar Legs" [who can forget Jack Oakie singing the Klopstockian Love Song "Woof bloogle jig"?] but my own personal favorite film is "The Old Fashioned Way".

 

Fields shows in this film, in his persona of The Great McGonigle...why he was considered to be the premiere comic juggler of all time, and seeing him looking all clumsy-like, while he wrestles a bunch of cigar boxes into unbelieving configurations in the air, is just spectacular. This film is aided by the interplay of that Margaret Dumontlike character, Cleopatra Pepperday and the child who puts Fields' watch in the molasses at the dinner table, as played by Baby Leroy, to whom Fields gives the slight nudge with his foot later in the film, and it is a comedy masterpiece. Every time I think of Baby Leroy, I can only hear Fields' voice, saying I think that the baby's head looked like a "Rocky Ford cantaloupe". Where is Rocky Ford and can one visit it, as well as the Lesser Antilles, which Fields also seemed to like to mention.

 

Any Fields film is worth watching by me, for the slightest bit of comic genius, as executed by The Man. I have taped from tv the majority of Fields' films of the 1930's, with wives like Kathleen Howard, or even otherwise boring films like "Mississippi" but it is always nice to see any retrospective of his films on tv, so I will look forward in the future to TCM perhaps showing any ones they have acquired.

 

I was glad to see though, Myidolspencer from your post, that there still are appreciaters of the Fields oeuvre.

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