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Tyrone Power - Centennial birthday on May 5


KittyPackard
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I don't post very often, but felt compelled to after Tyrone Power's 100th birthday on Monday with nary a film to recognize his special day. "The Razor's Edge" was an "Essentials" which is great, but what about Ty's birthday?

 

I love TCM more than anything else on TV, but I just felt sad. Did anyone else notice the omission?

 

Thanks!

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I don't post very often, but felt compelled to after Tyrone Power's 100th birthday on Monday with nary a film to recognize his special day. "The Razor's Edge" was an "Essentials" which is great, but what about Ty's birthday?

 

I love TCM more than anything else on TV, but I just felt sad. Did anyone else notice the omission?

 

Thanks!

There was an article about it in the news section on the main TCM webpage.  I think there was a special screening somewhere in Ohio, where he was born.  In 2008, there was a celebration on the 50th anniversary of his death.  I think he is definitely overlooked by TCM, but if you watch the Fox Movie Channel, they still air his films frequently.  So he is not entirely forgotten by his long-time home studio.

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He was born in Cincinnati. There was a centennial birthday celebration and screening of "Blood and Sand" at the same theater where it made its world premiere in 1941. Ty's children attended and spoke about their father. I had the good fortune to be there. It was a very special evening.

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I don't post very often, but felt compelled to after Tyrone Power's 100th birthday on Monday with nary a film to recognize his special day. "The Razor's Edge" was an "Essentials" which is great, but what about Ty's birthday?

 

I love TCM more than anything else on TV, but I just felt sad. Did anyone else notice the omission?

 

Thanks!

 

Kitty,

 

The big problem with Tyrone Power and TCM is that the majority of his films were done at Fox. While Fox has gotten better over the last few years about working with TCM, they still tend to keep the films of their top stars like Power on limited access to TCM. His films are shown more often on Fox's own movie channel which probably contributes to why TCM has limited access to his films.

 

Since TCM has to lease the films they show, this can make it difficult to honor those top tier Fox stars.

 

Power is a favorite for many and the programming staff is very aware of that and continues to work hard to bring his films (and other Fox stars) to the channel.

 

The good news is that Fox is getting better about it so hopefully going forward, there will be more opportunities to honor Power and others in the Fox stable who were major money-makers for the studio.

 

Here's hoping........

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He was born in Cincinnati. There was a centennial birthday celebration and screening of "Blood and Sand" at the same theater where it made its world premiere in 1941. Ty's children attended and spoke about their father. I had the good fortune to be there. It was a very special evening.

Kitty, Lucky Duck. I LOVE the film BLOOD & SAND, it's a favorite of mine. My all time Heart trob is Tyrone Power. It maybe silly to mention but I always found it interesting that Ty's birthday May 5th, that was my Mother's birthday, and Ty's son's birthday is the same as mine, Jan 22. To me he's was the handsomest of all actors to grace the screen and a truly fine, fine actor.

Here's hoping TCM will be able to get more of Tyrone's films for us to enjoy :)

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He was born in Cincinnati. There was a centennial birthday celebration and screening of "Blood and Sand" at the same theater where it made its world premiere in 1941. Ty's children attended and spoke about their father. I had the good fortune to be there. It was a very special evening.

Thanks Kitty for sharing.  I feel your pain, not because I am a big Ty Power fan, but because we all have favorites that we wish could be honored on a 100th birthday month.  For example, I grew up watching Macdonald Carey on Days of Our Lives and thanks to Universal home video, I have been able to discover a lot of his great Paramount films.  I was disappointed last year when his 100th birthday went completely unnoticed by most.  Mac was not only a daytime TV legend, but he was a major movie star for 20 years!

 

In this case, you probably feel as if Ty's memory has not been sufficiently honored when on May 5th TCM chose to devote its entire morning lineup to films with abbreviations in the title and an evening of Shirley Jones films which are in frequent rotation on TCM already. There are some non-Fox films Ty did, and TCM could have at least aired one of them, or one of his lesser Fox titles.  In fact, one of his films is in the Turner Library-- MGM's MARIE ANTOINETTE.  That would have been a fitting short tribute to him on May 5th, if that film had been broadcast instead of THE FBI STORY, D.O.A. or THE V.I.P.S.

 

As Lynn said, the Channel has been able to lease more Fox titles in the past year, so at least some of Ty's films do show up regularly here, as well as on FMC.  Glad you had a good time at the special screening.  

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I appreciate everyone's feedback. I don't believe FMC showed any Tyrone films either on his birthday. As a long-time TCM fan, I know that every birthday cannot be recognized. But for 100 years...well I thought there might be one film!

 

I am a "lucky duck" to have been able to attend the celebration and to be able to talk to Ty's children. Very special indeed. Very cool about the birthday alignments, Lavender Blue.

 

I'm still thrilled with the Mary Boland day from last year's "Summer Under the Stars!"

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TCM really should have found a way to honor the centenial of one fo the great classic movie star idols of his era- I was shocked in another movie blog how few people seem to know his cinematic legacy- this man was Zorro!

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TCM really should have found a way to honor the centenial of one fo the great classic movie star idols of his era- I was shocked in another movie blog how few people seem to know his cinematic legacy- this man was Zorro!

I agree joe-- and I think the screening that the original poster attended should have featured THE MARK OF ZORRO, not BLOOD AND SAND.  

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He was born in Cincinnati. There was a centennial birthday celebration and screening of "Blood and Sand" at the same theater where it made its world premiere in 1941. Ty's children attended and spoke about their father. I had the good fortune to be there. It was a very special evening.

The point Kitty was making here was that BLOOD and SAND made it's "world premiere" at that theater in 1941. That's why they obviously selected it. ZORRO was not the film that premiered at that theater.Yes Ty was the ultimate ZORRO, and it's a GREAT, GREAT film, but screening BLOOD & SAND is the film that made sense at that theater.

Kitty, thanks for sharing your experience with us and saying that my mentioning the birthday's was cool :)

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Perhaps some of his other films had their world premiere in Cincinnati.  I still do not think BLOOD AND SAND is the best choice for trying to attract younger viewers and new fans of Ty Power films (my personal opinion). 

 

Maybe one of the problems is that Ty was occasionally cast as Spaniards, and today's politically correct casting makes him seem ethnically wrong for a lot of the parts that made him famous.

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If I was going to attract new fans I would have screened " The Mark of Zorro" with his dark good looks Power did look Latino enough to be convicining even to modern audience- and that great score is enought to make anyone fall in love with classic movies.

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Just a couple years ago, I paid respects to Mr. Power by visiting his resting place at Hollywood Forever Park. His is an impressive marker shaped similar to a backless bench; he is in good company - Marion Davies' tomb is just several feet away. Happy 100 Tyrone Power!

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During the past seven or so years TCM has managed to broadcast almost every significant film of Power's career, certainly from his Fox period. (The one exception to that being the handsome 1949 costume production, Prince of Foxes).

 

Unfortunately, in many of those cases, they may have been one time broadcasts only. Miss it and you're right out of luck.

 

There have been a handful of Power movies which have received many repeat broadcasts on the channel, Marie Antoinette, The Rains Came, Yank in the RAF, Black Swan, Razor's Edge, Captain from Castile and, lately, Mark of Zorro from his Fox period. A number of his '50s films have also had numerous broadcasts, in particular, Witness for the Prosecution and Long Gray Line.

 

For any real Power fans, of course, it's simply not enough. And that, of course, is the problem at TCM with any star of the studio system days that was not at MGM or Warners.

 

Power fans will probably disagree with me, but I think that few of Ty's films have stood the test of time particularly well. That may be one of the reasons why he isn't better known today.That doesn't mean that I can't still have an enjoyable time watching a number of them. The actor himself was on record, however, as not having a particularly high opinion about most of his films, and I think it was an accurate assessment of his own career.

 

For my money (and this is where we can all have fun disagreeing with one another), I think that Ty Power only ever appeared in THREE great films: The Mark of Zorro, Nightmare Alley and Witness for the Prosecution. Power is highly effective in all three very contrasting films. He brings a sensitivity and delightfully droll sense of humour to his swashbuckling as Zorro. He most skilfully portrays an ambitious, ruthless dark side as a charming hustler in Nightmare Alley, casting all the more effective because of his good looks, and his charming but ambiguous portrayal of the murder suspect in Witness is memorable (though it is still Charles Laughton's film, in my opinion). 

 

I would also like to pay special tribute to a great performance by Power, stark, grim, realistic, totally convincing, as the lifeboat commander in Abandon Ship, as a man forced to make some life and death decisions. This is a Power film and performance made towards the end of his career that is deserving of more recognition than it has received. I'll take a film like this any day over the often superficial escaptist fare that comprised much of his Fox career.

 

 

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ABANDON SHIP was the first Tyrone Power film I ever watched (don't know why it happened that way, but it just did).  So that is a particular favorite of mine.

 

I think THE BLACK SWAN is his most-played title on TCM.  The programmers have made it their go-to Power swashbuckler choice, more than the Zorro film.

 

A year ago I came across a copy of MISSISSIPPI GAMBLER, his only film at Universal (made in the 50s). It's not the greatest Ty Power picture, but it is definitely very entertaining.  I think he's having more fun doing a freelance assignment at Universal than in a lot of his Fox pictures from this period, which had become rather routine.  Plus he gets to work with Julie Adams in her prime.

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TopBilled, I understand that Tyrone Power made quite a fortune on "Mississippi Gambler."  He was able to get a percentage of the picture, which I think did very good business.  And I agree with you about being able to work with the wonderful Julie Adams, even though she played the other woman.  Lucky Piper Laurie got Tyrone.

 

Terrence.

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Another bit of trivia about "Mississippi Gambler."  Piper Laurie said in her autobiography that this movie was the only "A" picture she did at Universal.

imgres10.jpg

Yes, with Ty Power as the leading man, it couldn't be anything but an A picture.  While not an essential, MISSISSIPPI GAMBLER is a classic that TCM would be smart to broadcast.  It would make a lot of people happy-- a truly fun movie, with all three leads at the top of their game, excellent support from John McIntire, stunning set design and those costumes, plus some good action sequences mixed with romance.  It works on all levels as grand entertainment.

 

images5.jpg

I am surprised it hasn't been picked up not only for broadcast on TCM, but that it hasn't yet been chosen as a title for the TCM Universal vault series.  They could market this one a million ways to Sunday.

imgres-15.jpg

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TomJH, I guess I am a TP fan. I've only seen a little over half of his films, but by my count, at least 16, beyond those you mentioned, are very entertaining, and I don't find them dated. A couple of my favorites are Johnny Apollo and Prince of Foxes. I'll admit that most of his films are entertaining, but not momentous. I don't think that's a criticism. Many would consider Razor's Edge to go beyond mere entertainment.

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AMC used to show Mississippi Gambler often when it truly was a classic move station.  I like it very much for the scrumptious costumes Piper and Julie get to wear; Ty and Ron Randell didn't look so bad in theirs either.  

 

Did anybody notice the unbilled but unmistakable Dennis Weaver as Anne's brother?  Part of the fun of the late 40's-early 50's U-I films is watching Anthony/Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson and him go from bits to supporting and lead roles then stardom in movies and TV.  I guess you can throw Russell Johnson into the mix as well.  U-I doesn't seem to have been taken seriously at this time but they made some good little movies and kept a lot of folks working.  When TV finally caught fire they just went with it as well and kept the payrolls going.  

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Power fans will probably disagree with me, but I think that few of Ty's films have stood the test of time particularly well. That may be one of the reasons why he isn't better known today.That doesn't mean that I can't still have an enjoyable time watching a number of them. The actor himself was on record, however, as not having a particularly high opinion about most of his films, and I think it was an accurate assessment of his own career.

 

For my money (and this is where we can all have fun disagreeing with one another), I think that Ty Power only ever appeared in THREE great films: The Mark of Zorro, Nightmare Alley and Witness for the Prosecution. Power is highly effective in all three very contrasting films. He brings a sensitivity and delightfully droll sense of humour to his swashbuckling as Zorro. He most skilfully portrays an ambitious, ruthless dark side as a charming hustler in Nightmare Alley, casting all the more effective because of his good looks, and his charming but ambiguous portrayal of the murder suspect in Witness is memorable (though it is still Charles Laughton's film, in my opinion). 

 

I would also like to pay special tribute to a great performance by Power, stark, grim, realistic, totally convincing, as the lifeboat commander in Abandon Ship, as a man forced to make some life and death decisions. This is a Power film and performance made towards the end of his career that is deserving of more recognition than it has received. I'll take a film like this any day over the often superficial escaptist fare that comprised much of his Fox career.

 I'm not going to disagree on your choice of great films but I also want to acknowledge really wonderful performances in films that weren't necessarily great or important, such as This Above All, which to modern eyes is all overwrought patriotism and WWII propaganda but it includes a rare performance from Power that isn't as mannered as his other dramas at the time. In particular, the scene in the train where he is visibly shaken by Joan Fontaine's transformation when she changes clothes. 

 

And then there were the light, throwaway comedies. I personally think Power had brilliant comedic timing that was unfortunately overshadowed by his looks. Even in early films like Cafe MetropoleSecond Fiddle and Love is News, where he's still finding his footing, he's adorably funny. And later, he's wry and self-effacing in Luck of the Irish. People who knew him often talked about his sense of humor and his personal charm and I think it comes through in films like those, where it seems to be smothered in costume dramas and swashbucklers. What makes his performance in The Mark of Zorro so appealing isn't his heroic Zorro so much as his marvelously limp and ineffectual Don Diego. 

 

There's a certain melancholy "might have been" that goes along with being a Tyrone Power fan.

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Power's early cute comedies do reflect the playful side of his off screen personality, even if the films themselves are decidely light as entertainment.

 

That melancholy felt by Power fans would be shared by fans of any star who died so tragically young. There is a sense of frustrated waste regarding Power, I feel, because at the time of his death he was just starting to receive some critical accolades for his work a serious actor, something that would have warmed Power's actor's heart.

 

It's somewhat sadly ironic that Power's death occured on the set of Solomon and Sheba, the exact kind of splashy costume drama from which he had wanted to be free. Power was part producer of this production and I assume he agreed to make it for commercial reasons, rather than artistic. Unfortunately, because of insurance-related reasons, he avoided having a heart examination in spite of instances of feeling tired for fear, I suspect, of the possibility of jeopardizing the production if the word got out that he had heart issues. I have the feeling, too, that Power may have been in a bit of denial, and simply didn't want to know if he had health problems.

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Power fans will probably disagree with me, but I think that few of Ty's films have stood the test of time particularly well. That may be one of the reasons why he isn't better known today.

 

Well, I feel his career closely paralleled that of Errol Flynn in a number of ways.  Besides the obvious: extremely handsome matinee good looks, excellent in swashbucklers and costume adventure films, both dying at a relatively early age, Power and Flynn were at the mercy of the assignments given them by their respective studios, insofar as they had little choice or input.  They were judged more by their looks than their talent, to their lifelong regret.  Beyond that, Power was more successful in his modern day fare, especialy dramas, than was Flynn, whose studio rarely cast him in contemporary fare, at least after the first few years of stardom; when they did, it seldom was deemed successful.  As with Errol, most of Ty's films were enjoyable, no matter the genre.  There are many more classics or near-classics in his filmography than the three you list, imho. 

 

I think the reason he isn't better well known, is not that the films haven't stood the test of time, as that except for a handful of titles, they haven't been widely shown on the likes of TCM; his Fox films have aired in just the last few years for the most part, and for the most part, not at all on TCM.

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