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What Robert Osborne Said--Revisited


slaytonf
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I once heard someone characterized James Thurber as a man who would have taken delight dropping a cat down in the middle of the Westminster Dog Show. I get the feeling I am doing something similar to that, but maybe people are all talked out about the subject. I haven't seen a thread about TCM's immanent demise or corruption in, what?, almost a week, now. Maybe people are just catching their breath for the next round. If so, then I'll take the opportunity to sneak in this little missive under the radar, so to speak. Now, statistics don't convince people, and the published mission statement of TCM doesn't convince people, so maybe the words of Robert Osborne on his very first first first introduction will. After all, he is the Voice of TCM, it's guiding spirit, it's venerated personification, if you will. If anyone can speak with authority about TCM, he can. So, from the recent Private Screening interview with that other person people are divided about:

 

Hi, welcome to Turner Classic Movies. I'm Robert Osborne, I'm gonna be your host, right here, as we present some of the best, the--finest films ever made, twenty-four hours a day. We're going to be drawing not only from the great film libraries of MGM and Warner Brothers, but also from other outstanding catalogs, so: Come join us, and see not only great films and stars from the past, but also films from recent years, featuring some of our newest and most watchable stars.

 

Emphasis mine.

 

Of course, after Mr. Osborne retires, then, ah, then. . . .

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"Of course, after Mr. Osborne retires, then, ah, then. . . ."

 

Personally, I wouldn't concern myself about that for a few reasons. First, despite Robert Osborne's advanced age, there's absolutely no indicator he'll be going anywhere in the near future.

 

Second, TCM has a life beyond Robert Osborne -- for example, the rotation of guest hosts on the 'Friday Night Spotlight' series (by the way, I think Sean Carroll, the host for this month's 'Science in the Movies' spotlight, has been doing a great job so far).

 

Thirdly, and contrary to others who have expressed some negative points of view about Ben Mankiewicz, I feel that TCM is in very good hands with Mr. Mankiewicz. Clearly he's being groomed to take on an expanded hosting role in the coming years, as he's presented three of the last five SOTM festivals (for Kim Novak in Sept. 2013, Vincent Price in Oct. 2013 and Joan Crawford in Jan. 2014). I've been particularly impressed this month by his knowledge of Joan Crawford's early career.

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Sorry slayton, but I'm PRETTY sure that wasn't ALL of Bob's quote that first day on the job.

 

Nope, IF I recall correctly, his very last sentence actually was:

 

"Come join us, and see not only great films and stars from the past, but also films from recent years, featuring some of our newest and most watchable stars, though get set to especially enjoy watching Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint hanging by their fingertips off George Washington's face on a regular basis."

 

(...ya see, THIS is what I've always liked about Bob...he's a man of his word) ;)

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OH! You mean little Rudy McGrudy?

 

Nah, he never got any residuals for that movie, BUT because he was SO good at foretelling the IMMEDIATE future, for a short time made a name for himself as a clairvoyant in Barstow California.

 

Word is he's now residing someplace near Fresno under an assumed name.

 

(...don't know why)

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> slaytonf wrote:

> I'm not sure if the repeat du jour wasn't a policy developed later.

 

It is my understanding that the schedule for TCM's very first day was:

 

*Gone with the Wind* (1939)

*Singin' in the Rain* (1952)

a documentary

*Gone with the Wind* (1939)

*Singin' in the Rain* (1952)

*It Happened One Night* (1934)

*The Petrified Forest* (1936)

*Cat People* (1942)

 

I feel that a new channel's fourth and fifth presentations being repeats of its first and second presentations establishes beyond doubt that they will repeat movies as they see fit. :)

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Yeah...well...don't go all gettin' the feelin' we've reached some kind'a consensus here, slayton my friend.

 

(...'cause I sure haven't seen good ol' FredCDobbs weigh in with anything in your thread here yet!!!)

 

LOL

 

***edit***

 

OOPS, I guess he DID down there, didn't he. That'll teach me be a such a smart-you-know-what, huh! ;)

 

And so slayton, I guess we HAVE reached that there "consensus" here after all, haven't we!

 

(...boy, then this here place will never be the same now that THAT issue has finally been resolved and that we'll never again see all those threads around here complainin' about "all these here newer flicks they're showin' "...yep, I think I'll miss all that somehow) ;)

 

Edited by: Dargo2 on Jan 20, 2014 6:02 PM

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With regards to 'repeats' I wonder if TCM showed more repeats, say, in their first 5 or 10 years than they have in, say, the last 5 years or so.

 

I assume more repeats in their early years since they would focus on the films Turner had the rights too (before ownership changed, restructure of Turner's companies). I also assume access to Fox or Universal films was just as limited in the 90s as it is now.

 

But I wonder if my assumptions are correct or as limp as a wet noodle.

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>But I wonder if my assumptions are correct or as limp as a wet noodle.

 

Well personally James, I'd say your assumptions might be somewhat valid.

 

(...and of course then making your metaphorical "noodle" here cooked more "al dente" than actually "limp"...and as you would know, being married to a nice Italian girl like you are) ;)

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>I also assume access to Fox or Universal films was just as limited in the 90s as it is now.

 

Fox seemed even more limited back in the early and mid-2000s and it was one of the big complaints of posters here especially in the mid-2000s.

 

The breakthrough seemed to come with Fox partnering with TCM to spotlight the massive Ford at Fox DVD box set in December 2007.

 

That month, TCM spotlighted once a week (if I'm remembering correctly), many of the films in the box set including the Will Rogers films and the early 1930s that Ford did for the studio, including *Up the River*.

 

After that, Fox seemed to be more willing to work with TCM and more films from Fox's library began to appear on the schedule compared to years past.

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Oh, Good grief, the first post in this thread is five years old! I should check these things more carefully. I just put a thanks emoji on it ...

The information is still relevant, though and should probably re-quoted whenever someone asks, "Why can't TCM only show old movies like the way they used to?"

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16 minutes ago, slaytonf said:

I think he was tapped to play in a higher gig.

Actually slayton, it's interesting that you used the term "a higher gig" here, as I assume you noticed a few other old names in your revived thread here and that aren't around anymore, and with one of 'em definitely confirmed as now being in that "higher gig", so to speak. I'm speaking of Fred here, of course.

(...still though, sure would be nice to know what became of DGF and mrroberts, wouldn't it)

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12 minutes ago, Hepburn Fan said:

Very interesting reading. So this was the forum not quite five years back. Some stuff looks familiar as if it were today. So James has been here a long time.

Yep, but this was back before he had his handle changed from "jamesjazzukulele" and to what it is now.

(...and before he'd come to realization that there'd be more money in playing the entire spectrum of Jazz on a six-stringed instrument than solely in playing Hawaiian music)

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